Handling Bad Reviews


Writers are people (well, most of us are). However, even those with the greatest ability to shrug off negative comments find it difficult not to be hurt by criticism of our work. Naturally, the first reaction is likely anger before depression sets in and we begin to question our writing ability. Happens to all of us. But take heart! As Agatha Christie’s detective Poirot might advise: “Do not despair, mon ami, for there is always hope.”

In the case of a bad review, the hope lies in how it is handled. The first best advice is to ignore it, shrug it off. Do nothing and get back to writing. There’s just no pleasing everyone so don’t even try. Keep in mind a review is just an opinion. Nothing more.

18 thoughts on “Handling Bad Reviews

  1. Statistically, you are going to get a percentage of bad reviews, no matter what. As long as they don’t outweigh the good ones there’s no need to get too upset or worried about them.

  2. As a writer who’s also a college professor, I can see similarities between reader reviews and student evaluations. A negative review or evaluation can certainly sting, and it’s hard to shake the self-doubt that inevitably creeps in. I learned years ago “Don’t quit [or change] on a bad day.”

    Funny, isn’t it, how we can easily recall a negative comment–verbatim–but often can’t do the same with positive reviews? Something as simple as making a note of the positive comments –and reading them when we’re low–can help us regain our balance.

    And when all else fails, reach for the chocolate!

  3. Jack – sage advice for the seasoned author as well as the freshman writer. Nice to keep all things in perspective – the ying and yang of writing, reading, and being.

  4. Oh no! I guess you must have had one? They really hurt, even though we know we are bound to get one at some point if we write a book and put it out there. We are human after all. I recently got a 1 star review because the reviewer had trouble downloading… he hadn’t even read the book! That made me mad, even though it is quite funny and says more about him than my books lol! It stings, but it’ll pass. And thanks for your wise words and advice. 😊

  5. Definitely excellent advice, Jack. I’ll bear it in mind in future. I must have missed this post in Decmeber. I stopped posting in early January and I hadn’t been on my blog for over three weeks until yesterday – a long time for me. But I’ve decided that’s how it’s going to be for a while. I just popped on yesterday for a change from my writing. I hope you had a great Christmas and your book is coming along really well. At least mine’s moving nowadays (and the last few reviews have been good ones!)

    • Thank you, milliethom. Excellent news that you are back writing. I, too, took a long Christmas break but am back at the keyboard writing. I like the new mast on your website spotlighting your book series. Looks great.

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