Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Responding to a Negative Review

post by Michelle Griep
I write historical romance. Keyword there. Romance. Which implies love. Which means, in Christian fiction, boy likes girl, girl likes boy, you'll encounter hand-holding and long, deep gazes, and yes, gasp, even kissing. But judging by a recent review I received, you'd think I'd just penned a sequel to Fifty Shades. Sheesh.

Here's a little piece of advice . . . if romance makes you squirm, maybe you shouldn't read it.

But I only thought that in my head. I did not say it out loud and I certainly did not attack the reviewer by slapping up a defense shield or firing back. Bad reviews happen. It's part of the writing game because this is art, and art is subjective. There are a few hard and fast rules, though, as to an appropriate way a writer should respond to a scathing review . . .

#1. Roll over and play dead.
This is the do-nothing response, as in, well, don't do anything. Don't comment. Don't fight back. Just let the reader own his opinion and you own yours.

#2. Re-read your positive reviews.
Sure, someone might hate your work, but haters gotta hate. That doesn't mean you have to wallow in their words. Instead, camp out in the glowing reviews from those who love your art.

#3. Consider the criticism.
There could be some valuable gems of wisdom beneath all the negativity. After you've had a good cry, mine into that review, looking for a vein of gold takeaway value.

#4. Write.
No, don't write a response. Simply turn to your current manuscript and write harder, better, dig deep into your writerly storehouse and produce better than ever material.

#5. Count it all joy.
Clearly your writing struck a chord in a reader. So, yeah, it was a negative chord, but hey . . . you created a response. In this world of apathy, that's quite a feat.

Negative reviews are inevitable. How you respond, however, is not carved in stone. Before you knee-jerk react, consider trying one or all five of these responses first.

2 comments:

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Yeah, I had a funny one recently, too. My characters are married and have been for over 25 years. The review said I made some references to sex. Yeah. I did.

"Claire gave her husband a come hither look and he withered."

That's too racy for a married couple?

chappydebbie said...

Great advice....it's hard for me, as a reader, to read bad reviews of books that I love. VERY hard to hold back and not comment. The most I do is respond with "Sorry you did't enjoy this book, I hope you will give this author another chance." Sometimes I HAVE to say something.

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