Today I have a special guest, fellow Etopia Press author Wanda Ernstberger, talking a bit about reviews…
How to Handle Bad Reviews
Your novel, your baby, is out there being judged, and some reviewer has just torn it to shreds. A thousand reactions rage through your mind: eat an entire cheesecake, start a campfire with remaining review copies, use the reviewer’s picture for target practice. But, before you take your anger out on anyone (including yourself), just keep in mind:
A bad review doesn’t mean you suck: Let’s face it, not everyone is going to be a fan. If everyone liked the same thing, there’d only be one book in the whole world. A bad review only means your story isn’t to that person’s taste. So, don’t start a bonfire, send out those review copies. Garbage men deal with garbage, store clerks deal with the public, and writers deal with negative reviews. That’s just part of the industry, a crummy, un-fun part of the industry, but it’s there, and all the wishing (and cursing) won’t make it go away.
Since writing is a business, and you want to remain in the business, also consider this:
A bad review doesn’t mean the reviewer sucks: Before you send off an e-mail, “How could you not see the brilliance of my work, you poopie-head,” take a breath, calm down, and have a slice of cheesecake. Then, thank the reviewer for his/her time and move on. Even if the reviewer slams your work, take the high road and let cosmic justice deal with the twit. Remember, this is part of the profession, so always be professional.
One last note:
When Wuthering Heights was first released in 1847, this was what came across Emily Brontë’s desk:
“Wuthering Heights is a strange, inartistic story. There are evidences in every chapter of a sort of rugged power–an unconscious strength–which the possessor seems never to think of turning to the best advantage. The general effect is inexpressibly painful. We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity….” (Atlas, January 22, 1848)
I wonder what Heathcliff would have to say about that?
Wanda Ernstberger is a YA writer whose story, “The Next Shakespeare” is published by Etopia Press. She’s also had short stories published by the Spilling Ink Review, Aphelion, and The Aroostook Review. She loves to travel, cook, read, and watch anime. Stop by and visit her at http://wandaernstberger.wordpress.com/