On Getting a Bad Review / by Ryan Hill


For writers, a good review is like an elixir. A validation of their talent. A sign that yes, a writer has talent, and now they have the glowing review to prove it. Sure, everything comes up aces when the good reviews are coming in, but what about those times when a writer gets a bad review?

Of course authors want everyone on the planet to love their book. To laud it as the next Harry Potter, or shout from the rooftops that the world has found the next John Green. That's human nature. Sadly, for whatever reason, if enough people read your book, bad reviews are absolutely going to follow. 

A bad review can wound an author's soul. Send them into a tailspin. Don't believe me? Click here. Every book an author writes is intensely personal. This isn't just a novel. It's their novel. It's a piece of their soul. As such, the work is sometimes thought of as the author's kid, or something along those lines. This makes a bad review all the more painful.

You can't please everyone. It's science. So what if someone doesn't like a book? Writers read books they don't like too. They may have a greater appreciation for the time it takes to create a published novel, but it won't change their opinion on whether or not it's any good. Also, once a writer sends their work out into the world, technically it isn't theirs anymore. A writer has no control over their work once it's in the hands of someone else. So why get upset when things don't turn out well? A bad review isn't an indictment of the writer as a person (or as a writer). And if a bad review comes across that way, then the reviewer is either jealous, looking for attention, is a massive tool, or all of the above. Just like when I get shot down by a beautiful woman at a bar, a writer shouldn't take rejection by a reader to heart. Sometimes, it's just not in the cards. For whatever reason, it wasn't meant to be.

Instead, a writer needs to focus on the positive. Yes, a writer got a bad review, but think about all of the success it took to get the book into the hands of a negative reviewer. If a writer gets a negative review, it typically means that writer is good enough at writing to be PUBLISHED. That's a big effin' deal. Looking at it like that, a writer shouldn't care about a negative review. I don't. With two published novels under my belt, I'm secure enough in my abilities as a writer that a couple of bad reviews aren't going to burst my bubble. Point in fact, I'd like to see them do better (because they can't).

So let go, move forward, and keep writing!