Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Being without internet is like having my arm chopped off.

Well, not really. But you know what I mean. I have only been without it for two days, where losing an arm is more permanent and painful. I actually got a ton of writing done. But zero blogging and communicating... ah!

So here is my better late than never IWSG post. I kind of feel inspired to write more about internet dependency, but I will save it for when I have more time (so, never?)


Hey Fellow Writers!
I am not going to complain today. I always complain. I should be happy, right? My first book comes out in a month! But, it doesn't make me worry less. I'm a terrible worrier. I still have jitters about it. What if no one reads it? What if everyone hates it? And I'm really afraid of reviewers –not for myself and my book sales, but because some people listen to them as fact. I tell myself it can't be helped and come what may. But still, I worry!

And that is what I am going to talk about today. Bad Reviews and how to embrace them as part of the process.

Bad Reviews are inevitable. With all things in life, we have to take the good with the bad. I tell my boys, "Bad things make the good things more valuable." If there was no bad, we would have no appreciation for the good. We appreciate being well a lot more when we are sick. We appreciate what we have, when we lose it. And we appreciate our parents, when we have kids, our youth when we're old, etc. The moral of this story is: make the most of what you have NOW!

Part of appreciating something is finding the good that comes from a bad thing. As writers, we know every awesome ending comes after our hero suffers or loses something big. So what about bad reviews? Well, let's see some positives:
  • We should assume they read the book, which, in my own experience, means it held their attention enough to read the whole thing.
  • They also felt strongly enough about the book to say something publicly
  • Some folks read a bad review and it makes them curious enough to see for themselves – creates a buzz. No bad publicity? Well…
  • We can take these reviews and build on them. Use criticisms to improve our next book, or not.
  • And remember, some of these people could be bitter writers who haven't been and probably never will be published – and we are! Nyah!

Taking bad reviews with a grain of salt and a dab of humor is necessary. It's just one person's opinion. Personally, I feel some reviewers write bad reviews for a hobby. Some have nothing good to say about anything. And some might have had a poor childhood, so sad.

But seriously, do not let anyone who writes a really mean, cutting review affect you. He is a bully. Trying to illicit a response from you. It is up to us to choose how we respond. And that is my advice to you, and myself. Choose not to respond poorly to a bad review. Learn from it, shrug it off, and move on. Easy for me to say since I haven't gotten one yet.

Now I ask you all. What do you do when you get a bad review?

As always, thanks for listening!

39 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I learned from mine and worked hard to make the next two books better. And can't respond to them either. I recently read a two-star of one of my books where the reviewer admitted to only reading half the book. Not fair, but hey!

Julie Flanders said...

I'm sorry you've been without your Internet. I'd be going crazy for sure.

I admit to avoiding reviews for now because I don't want to read the bad ones. I don't have a thick enough skin yet! I had to laugh at your comment about the sad childhood LOL.

klahanie said...

Hi Tara,

I've never had a bad review. I so wish for a bad review. I guess I've never had a bad review is because nobody knows what the heck I'm writing about. Besides, if I actually got a bad review, I'd pretend that Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star wrote it.

Internet Service 'Unproviders'!

IWSG aka "I Was Seeking Gary" :)

Julie Luek said...

I don't give every book I read a great review. Some books I can't even finish-- they just don't hold my interest. However, I also realize reading and what we get out of a book is so subjective. Everyone who writes knows that to have made it to publication is a huge leap that someone loved your book! Nuff said.

I was without internet for part of today.. good grief. It was awful.

Dana said...

I wondered where you were. Glad you're back. :)

mshatch said...

ugh, so sorry you've been without the internet. Sounds like a nightmare, and I mean that!

I hope when I get a bad review I will be accepting. After all, it's likely that there will be folks who won't like what I write.

Fida Islaih said...

Thanks for sharing the advice and everything!

M.J. Fifield said...

Well, I haven't actually gotten my book out in the world yet so I haven't actually gotten a bad review, but my plan is to celebrate that momentous occasion.

Probably with tears and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Any excuse for ice cream, you know...

Donna K. Weaver said...

I totally get the bad reviews thing. I loved Beth Revis's blog post about them.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I would go nuts without internet access!

I often check out bad reviews of books or other products just to see what exactly it is people thought was so bad. If the review is clearly just a rant or a matter of personal taste, I ignore it. If the criticisms are things that don't bother me or that I might even enjoy about a book, then I'm actually more likely to check it out.

Beverly Fox said...

What a great attitude- you seem well prepared! And all good points- especially that one has to read the whole book in order to review it!

Laura said...

You can't please everyone, so a few bad reviews aren't too bad. I've read a lot of bad reviews in the past, and sometimes you can tell that the reviewer is just spouting nonsense.

Melissa said...

One time my wireless router went out and I freaked. Thank goodness for free WiFi at McDonalds. LOL

There's a good quote on the topic of reviews, but I can't remember who said it. It goes something like: A bad review just means someone outside your target audience read your book. I think there is more to it than that with some books, but it is true a lot of the time.

My alter ego (I write with a pen name) is a tough customer, but when I write a negative review, I say why and often support it with examples from the book. If I don't give honest reviews to the books that deserve low marks, then my 4- and 5-stars mean nothing.

IWSG #123, until Alex culls the list again. :)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Some people write bad reviews to hurt others but the true reviewer writes a bad review because they didn't enjoy the book. Pay attention to those reviews. The others are hot air. And yes being without internet does suck.

Blog: Queendsheena
IWSG Co-host

Emilyann Girdner said...

This is a scary topic. I love your first point about the reader even getting through the book. As a writer who doesn't yet have a book deal and hasn't self-published, I'm still stuck on the concern that people won't get through reading mine at all, lol. Then I remember I never wrote the story for anyone else anyway, I wrote it for me. So I guess I presume I should handle reviews the same way when the time comes. It will be great to hear positive feedback, and I can learn from the negative. But all in all, no matter how negative the feedback, no one can rob me of my enjoyment and passion for writing stories. :)

Allison said...

No one gets only good reviews! If you do, there is something fishy going on. You will never be able to please everyone, and we writers just have to live with that :)

Also, in reply to your comment on my blog, I'd be happy to exchange WIPs sometime! It will be a while until mine is ready though.

Allison (Geek Banter)

Crystal Collier said...

Great rant. You know, I tend to believe you can take any poor experience and use it for your gain. When I get bad news, I write a mind-blowingly awesome scene that centers around the same emotion. My poor characters. ;)

Way to look on the bright side. =)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I haven't had to worry about that yet. And in all honesty, I rarely pay attention to reviews. I only listen to my friends who love the same books as me.

J.L. Campbell said...

Good reminders, Tara, with some fun stuff thrown in. I've had my share of bad reviews. I haven't gotten to them, but reading is subjective and I understand that. The meanies I don't understand, but the world is an interesting place since we're all so different.

Mark Means said...

Great advice, but I'm sure you won't have to suffer any bad reviews...your book will be stellar :)

Carrie-Anne said...

I prefer to read 1-3 star reviews first, just to cover all angles, but there's a big distinction between mean or childish low reviews and well-written negative reviews that you might disagree with. I saw the most ridiculous non-review ever recently, and the reviewer just whined and said she didn't care when called on abusing the reviews system with her off-topic rant driving the rating down. Who cares if someone stole your Kindle and purchased the book on your account for her child? That was sleazy, but has nothing to do with the actual quality of the book!

That being said, I don't know if I'll have the nerve to read my own reviews one day.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I haven't gotten a really bad review yet. A few people have told me that they wished the ending was different, but not outright mean reviews have hit me yet (but then I don't check every day either).

However, at Every Day Poets, I've gotten a few negative reviews on my poetry, and I admit with some shame that I answered one of them in the comment section . . . it was silly. I think I learned my lesson. I hope.

You have a great attitude, Tara, and I think it will take you far!

M Pax said...

Sometimes they claim to have only read a chapter and i think they made up their mind before reading. Which leaves me wondering why they decided to read it. But it's all OK. Attention is good. And that they had some sort of visceral reaction is a good thing.

I'm excited about your book. We're all here if you need us. I'd probably get tons more done if I didn't have internet for a few days, but I hope the Universe doesn't whammy me that way.

Carol Kilgore said...

I grouse a bit and move on. Life's too short. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Glad your internet is back!

michelle said...

This is a scary thought.
Your book... which you poured so much time and energy into... and somebody just rips it apart with a negative review... *shudders*
I'm sure every writer gets a negative review at some stage in the journey...? That thought is a bit of a consolation.
Writer In Transit

Rhonda said...

I need to finish a draft before I can even think about reviews. Why no internet? I am coming up on weeks off, and already sweating about it.

Milo James Fowler said...

Worrier? I can relate. No Internet? A blessing in disguise, I'd say. Bad reviews? Irritating when they don't offer specific criticism, but par for the course. Let's just hope the good ones outweigh the bad!

Emily R. King said...

Excellent advice, Tara! I hope I remember it when I'm published!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I went three weeks without the internet last summer. It was horrible lol. Well I am not a writer per se so I don't have to deal with reviews (good or bad) but I do use criticism at my job as motivation.

LD Masterson said...

I just got back from vacation with no cell signal at all. I was going into seriously withdrawal.

Haven't got to the review stage yet but I imagine I'll sulk for a bit then decide that reviewer's an idiot and forget about it. At least, I hope I'll forget about it.

Romance Book Haven said...

Glad your net is back and Yay! For your first book!

Nas

Christine Rains said...

Excellent post! I recently got a not so great review, and I am using the suggestions to help me rather than let it carry me down. It did drive me to eat a chocolate bar though!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Exactly.

This.


Heather

Lexa Cain said...

For me, it's really hard to ignore criticism. But Alex has a good idea about learning from it and improving your writing. It's true that you can't please everyone, but you can try! lol

Yolanda Renee said...

I listened and learned, and eventually got the 'water off a ducks back' attitude. It's not easy, but if they don't read the book, get for free and it's not their genre, those I ignore. But not reading them, easy to say, hard to pull off.

Internet, we are all so dependent now. . .

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Look for how those bad reviews are written. If they're poorly written (grammar and spelling errors, poorly constructed) I ignore them. If they are well-written I pay attention to the criticism and try to learn from them.

There are always more good reviews than bad ones, so that's comforting. :-)

Stephanie said...

Well, when I got my first bad review, I called my Aunt and demanded to know why she felt the need to post a two star review on Amazon before at least letting me know she hated the book :-) True story. Family politics, gotta love 'em.

But joking aside, I'd love to get more reviews period, bad or good. And when I get a bad one, assuming it's posted on a blog, my plan is to thank the person for taking time to read my book and offer their opinion of it. Because I do appreciate anyone willing to read my work, and I understand that it won't appeal to everyone. And, as they say, any publicity is good publicity. Right?

Jeff Hargett said...

I think a good remedy for bad review blues is to read the negative reviews on books we've read and loved. It proves just how subjective everything is. Even the classics get hammered by bad reviews.

Tara Tyler said...

you allmade some valid points and made me feel better!
thanks, guys!