Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to handle bad reviews: You are NOT Samuel L. Jackson

Hi everyone! First off, I'd just like to say on behalf of Stef, Andrea, Heather, and myself that the response for new blog contributors was AMAZING!!! Thank you all so much for your applications! We had a seriously tough time choosing just two people!

Okay, so, you might be looking at my title up there and are slightly confused, but it makes sense. There's a story behind that title, so gather round while Auntie Leah spins her tale.

I had just gotten back from taking my two little ones to the doctor for ear aches and sore throats. I was tired and wanted a little bit of mind-numbing entertainment, so of course I turned to Youtube. The Graham Norton Show is one of my favorites. Hilarious stuff, that is. I began watching clips of the time Samuel L. Jackson was a guest. When Graham asked Samuel about his habit of going online and interacting with reviewers, Samuel admitted to reading his reviews (which everyone has heard is a bad idea). Not only does he read his reviews, he reads the comments (which is an even worse idea) and sometimes he'll even get in on the discussion. It was hilarious because this is Samuel L. Jackson we're talking about and of course he wouldn't be afraid to tell a critic where exactly he can shove his bad review.

This whole interview made me realize just how much I am NOT like Samuel L. Jackson. And, in my opinion, other authors shouldn't mimic him in this respect, either. You should however mimic his excellent ass-kicking ways and his coolness factor.

Now that story time is over, let me get to my point. Here's the thing, I know writing can be an act of the heart. It's personal, soul-wrenching work. But when you become published, I feel like (and many others have said this) your work isn't yours anymore. You've made the decision to put it out there, to ask people to pay money to read it, and because of that, they have the right to express their opinion about it no matter what their opinion is.

When you respond to bad reviews, you could potentially cast yourself in a bad light. Not only are you making yourself look bad, but you could be making the other people involved with your career look bad as well.

So, what are you supposed to do then? Well, the simple, smart answer is to not read reviews. And to those who can do that, I salute you. Unfortunately, I do not have that type of will power. So, if you're like me and just can't stop yourself, here are 5 easy steps towards handling a bad review:

1. Let out the emotion in the quiet of your own home. Yell at the computer screen if you have to, but DO NOT click on the "Reply" button and put your fingers to the keys!

2. Talk to someone close about it. Your family and friends will be there to listen to you rant and hopefully calm you down. If they advise you to go ahead and respond to the bad review/comment, DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM.
Side note: Never ask or allow a family member or friend to respond either.

3. Eat some chocolate. Have a glass of wine. Head over to IMDB and look at bad reviews for Oscar winning movies. And remember, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

4. Reread some of those glowing reviews. Then read them again and again.

5. DO put your fingers to the keys in order to work on your next fantastic manuscript!

And remember, you might not be Samuel L. Jackson, but
P.S. These methods also apply to rejections!!!

Please check back on Friday when we'll be announcing our new blog contributors!

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