It's a fact that all writers will have to deal with negative reviews at some point in their lives. It's also a fact that these reviews can hurt us writers more than the reviewer knows possible. So, here are my top five tips on dealing with the criticism that is sometimes so hard to swallow.
1. We're All Different
No two people are identical. We all have our own opinions and that is what makes life so beautiful. However, this also means that our work won't appeal to everyone and that's okay! Everyone has a different view on what makes a great book, which is why there are hundreds of incredible genres to lose yourself in. If your style of writing isn't to a person's taste, so be it!
2. Look at the Positives
When we are first presented with a one star review, that is generally all we can see. That lone star can often blind our vision to the point that we discount the many five star reviews we have already acquired. Don't beat yourself up about it. Even J.K. Rowling has her own share of negative reviews. A great tip I was given, is to read a good review for every bad review you receive. Doing this helps to put the bad review into perspective.
3. Read Between the Lines
As difficult as it might be to accept, a bad review might well be justified. Try to digest the review from an impartial person's perspective. If the review states that the storyline feels weak in parts, maybe consider reading over your manuscript to see if in fact that's true. Sometimes, negative reviews can help us to improve our writing for the better.
4. It's Not Personal
When the majority of reviewers leave reviews, both good and bad, they don't generally put much thought into how the author will react to their opinion. They are simply reviewing a product that they have purchased as they would any other and they have every right to do so. Coming to the realisation that a bad review is just a single person's opinion of your work as a 'product' is crucial for any writer.
5. Some People are Just Mean
Humans like to vent and some people go as far as making this a hobby. I once read a study that showed people are ten times as likely to write a review about something they disliked over something they have enjoyed. There are people out there who get a kick out of putting other people down. Twitter trolls are a perfect example of this in action. Reviews from such people are generally very easy to spot. They rip apart a book in an almost comical fashion. Unfortunately, when we put our work out into the world, we have to accept that there's a risk of this happening. Always remember that there's a huge difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism.
Negative reviews will always be the bugbear of writers the world over, but learning how to deal with them makes it so much more manageable. If you have any of your own tips on dealing with the dreaded one star, please share them in the comment section below!