I’m going to say it.
All writers know this. Some pretend they love to get reviews, but what happens when they get a bad one? I’ll tell you what happens.
We glare at the screen, wishing we had laser vision to melt away the review. We get pissed and look up the reviewer to compare our review to other ones she’s written. Then we start screaming. We flip out for no less than 5 minutes, at which point we:
1. frantically email a friend asking for validation about our writing
2. have a crying breakdown
3. question everything we’ve ever written and just why the fuck are we writing, anyway, if someone thinks the million hours we spent writing is worth 2 stars?
4. Respond to the review with a snarky reply (which should never be done, BTW. Write it, but erase it immediately!)
5. Stare blankly at your current manuscript, frozen by the bad review
1 bad review equals about 100 good ones. Why? Because a bad review feels like a personal attack. This work is a child birthed by our brains. Everything we think and feel and all our perceptions of the universe are filtered through our brains. If this reader hates my work, she must hate me.
How to combat bad-review-itis:
1. Drink heavily. Preferably while seated in front of the review so you can rage at it. Obscene gestures optional, depending on hand-eye coordination after alcohol.
2. Get mad and pound out the best book you’ve ever written in your life. Take that, shitty review.
3. Walk away for a few hours. Give yourself 2 hours to grieve over this, then get over it. After all, it’s just words. Words are like smoke.
4. Don’t ever read reviews in the first place. Get a friend to go to your Goodreads page and fetch data for you. Don’t open those emails from review sites telling you that your book has a new review. This is also called Ostrich Syndrome, and I adopt this a lot.
In the end, remember it’s just a review. Your book is still written–more than most people will ever dream of doing. It’s still published. Again, most people will never publish. Take pride in your work. Rock on.
Here’s a clip of celebrities getting bashed on Twitter. I’m going to focus on reacting to bad reviews in a humorous manner from now on. But no, I won’t put down the whiskey!