Writers: Coping with negative reviews

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writers writerDealing with negative reviews

If you are a short story writer or a novelist or even a non-fiction writer, not everyone is going to appreciate your work. In fact, some folks might downright hate it. And a lot of them are very vocal, especially online. They might write reviews on Amazon, or they might write reviews for other Web sites having to do with books, publishing, writing, etc.

Some of the reviews are going to make you angry. Why couldn’t that idiot see the genius of what you were doing? Some reviews might make you sad. Why did that reviewer have to be a meany and hurt your feelings when they don’t even know you?

It happens. The best advice I can give is to get over it. Everyone has their opinions, and not all of them are going to match with yours.

If you’re overly touchy about your writing, don’t even bother reading the reviews. Just stay away from them. If you can hack it, then go ahead and read the reviews, take any positive criticism you can find, remember to put it to work in the future if you can, and move on.

That’s the best thing you can do. Sulking about reviews isn’t going to help get your next story or article written. Crying over reviews is only going to hurt and stilt your potential.

Something to keep in mind, however, is that if you have plenty of reviews, negative and possibly positive, which mention or focus upon a particular matter, then perhaps you should pay attention. Maybe it’s something you need to work on in your writing.

Just remember, human beings often have a capacity to focus on the negative. For every bad review you might receive, there were probably 20 people who liked your story or book just fine, but they didn’t comment. It might seem unfair, but it’s often how life works.

And remember, you can help out others by leaving positive reviews for books and stories you’ve read. What goes around comes around, the old saying goes, and maybe a little of that will come back to you.

One last thing: Always keep in mind that not everything you write is for everyone. For example, if you write in one particular genre, fans of another genre aren’t necessarily going to like your work (though they might). If you write with a particular political, social, intellectual or religious slant, you’re definitely not going to make everyone happy. None of that means you shouldn’t write. It means you just need to be aware of your audience and that you shouldn’t try to make everyone happy.

After all, you can’t make everyone happy, you can’t make everyone love your writing. So don’t focus on the negatives. Instead, focus on becoming a better writer.

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A former newspaper editor for two decades in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, Ty now earns his lunch money as a fiction writer, mostly in the fantasy and horror genres. He is vice president of Rogue Blades Foundation, a non-profit focused upon publishing heroic literature. In his free time he enjoys tabletop and video gaming, long swording, target shooting, reading, and bourbon. Find City of Rogues and other books and e-books by Ty Johnston at Amazon.

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