Banishing Negative Book Reviews

Have you ever been stung by a bee? If you have, you know it’s painful from the moment the stinger pierces your skin. Ouch!

The sharpness of the pain can blot out the rest of the world. Eventually, you handle it and the pain lessens. So it is with a rejection letter or a bad review. They can sting at first, but it’s vital we take care of it before the pain takes over. In this post, I’m going to focus on overcoming the bad review.

For writers, books really are like our children. We give birth to the book, nourish and fuss over it, clean it up if the book seems messy, giving it all we’ve got. Sometimes, it keeps us up at night, makes us cry, brings us joy or drives us bonkers. We try to breathe life into our creations (on page, of course). It ain’t easy pouring pieces of our heart and soul into our writings. We expose our strengths and weaknesses, setting them loose in the world for all to see. If we writers are introverts, it makes the setting loose part all the more uneasy.

I’m very grateful for the lovely reviews I received from so many people I don’t know. VERY grateful. And I really don’t mind reviews that aren’t so great; my books aren’t going to appeal to everyone. Even so, when that not so lovely review contains barbs, it can sting. Sometimes, when we’re stung, we may stumble and fall and wallow awhile, before getting back up on our feet. Wallowing is no fun. Unless you’re a pig, of course.

There is no way to know what the book reviewer was thinking, feeling or expecting when reading our work. I’ve been known to open a book, dislike it instantly and put it away, only to come back to read it later and find I enjoyed it. When we send our human kids out into the world, they may not please everyone, but that’s not the goal, is it? The objective is to do our best at whatever task we undertake. That way our sense of accomplishment will not diminish, and what others say or think won’t matter. Also, it doesn’t hurt to read bad reviews given to great books to realize just how little bad reviews matter.

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