It seems there’s an increasing number of posts from authors on several sites complaining about negative reviews. I think this is one of the harsh realities of life: not everybody will love your work. It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, a house painter, a chef…you’re going to have someone not appreciate your diagnosis, trimming, or meal. Heck, I’ve given up on reading a few books by great authors because that particluar story didn’t grab me, move me, or I just plain couldn’t get into it (maybe I was just having a bad day when I tried to read it).

Are people just saying negative things to say negative things? Sometimes. There is no shortage of people out there who are just miserable. Perhaps they intend to be miserable, or perhaps there just isn’t anything in this world outstanding enough to make them happy. Maybe they’re having a bad day.  Maybe your main character reminds that person of his/her ex who stole the house, car, and dog.

Think about this: I’m sure you know someone in your life who is happiest when they are complaining. I can list five people I know who are just downright mean and unhappy. I certainly don’t spend hours obsessing over why they are that way. It seems that some people just choose miserable, and I choose not to be around them.

So you can spend hours obsessing about why that person wrote something negative, or you can take it as constructive criticism and reframe it this way:  Is there something you can do to make the people that liked the book/story/article LOVE it?  Is there some value to the negative comment that can make you grow as a writer?  Do you need to edit, rewrite, or expand on something so the people who were positive it about feel even more so?  You’re not trying to pander to the critics, you’re trying to increase your power as a writer.  Your aim is to go from something good to something great.

If you honestly can’t find anything of value in the negative comment, then you need to dismiss it and move on.  You can’t change mean people into rays of sunshine.  You can’t dwell on venom and hate…you can only try to please those people who are willing to be pleased.  If they don’t like it, they don’t like it – if you’re happy with it, then that should be enough.

Keep writing and hang in there!


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