Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by Monday for my "You Can't Reach a Thousand Followers by Being a Jerk" post and followed my four blogger buddies! I’m happy to report that Matthew and Jesse both went over a thousand and Roland and Nicole are REALLY close! (And you guys boggled my mind with a record-setting two hundred plus comments – whoa!)

I've also been updating my Awesome Authors page. If you are one of my regular blogger buddies and you have a book out NOW, please make sure I've included it in the list.

And I’ll announce the winner of my giveaway! But first, today's insecurity…

Eventually, every author gets zapped. Doesn’t matter how good or bad your book, eventually you’ll have to face negative reviews. Nothing erodes away at confidence like a downer review:


“Its average. Nothing remarkable, nothing to write home about. The story is so flat and basic.”

“Totally a rip off of Star Wars.”

“This formulaic space opera aspires to be a bildungsroman for its petulant hero, but it confuses the archetypal with the clichéd.”

Yes, those are real comments and reviews about CassaStar. Enough to give any author a complex, isn’t it?

How do you handle it? Here are a couple things I keep in mind:

A reader who doesn’t write probably doesn’t understand how difficult it is to write a book. We need to give them the best of course, but even crap takes effort.

Maybe they are just negative people who feel it's their duty to complain and point out faults in others.

Writers who don’t have a published book yet haven’t experienced a bad review themselves. They might not understand how much a poor or average review hurts.

Writing is a form of art, and our book won't appeal to everyone.

Maybe it’s not that person’s style of read.

The reviewer doesn’t have a stake in the book.

Maybe that person was having a really bad day.

Perhaps there is just enough constructive criticism from which to learn and make the next book better.

Finally, there are always the really great reviews we can go back and reread:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

Yeah, I think I’ll live!

So, if you're an unpublished writer, be prepared. Less than stellar reviews will happen. Remember, it's just one person's opinion. If you believe in your work and it's the best you can do, then that's all that matters.

Or just remember Bill Murray’s chant from Meatballs: “It just doesn’t matter! It just doesn’t matter!

And now, drum roll please… The winner of a copy of CassaStar, review copy of CassaFire, and other cool stuff is…

Carol Kilgore at Under the Tiki Hut!

Congratulations! Email me your address and I’ll forward it to my publisher.

Thanks to all who entered – the amount of entries blew me away!

What’s your insecurity today? Have you received a negative review? How did you handle it? Did you make a voodoo doll of the reviewer? Someone should sell those - he’d make a fortune!I'll take the bildungsroman one please.

199 comments:

iZombie said...

i believe good or bad comments are comments... now really isn't any space book a direct rip-off of star wars... hell even star wars was a rip-off of something. you have a good read and it is a published piece, so be proud...

jeremy

ps. this was meant to bring spirits up... two thumbs!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeremy thank you - it did!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I think the trick is to not take notice of the bad reviews! Consider who's writing them: are they unpublished writers on a big downer, a professional critic with a migraine?

My all-time favourite novel is Pride and Prejudice... but I hear there are some people who don't even like this masterpiece!!

Rachel said...

I've not reached the point where I receive reviews for my writing, but I have written them on Goodreads. My review policy is that I do all I can to see the five-star potential in every book, and if I can't do that, I place as much positivity into the review as I possibly can. I'll say what I liked, and by way of "criticism", I'll say what I WOULD HAVE LIKED, rather than what I "Hate." There is almost always a tactful way to communicate that something is less than what it should be, and sometimes I think people just don't stop to consider the impact of the words they choose to use. Nothing makes me disregard the opinion of another person faster than a "snarky" attitude, when they're almost proud of their ability to insult the work of another.

The Angry Lurker said...

People are like this, they just have different opinions, for every negative there can be 5 positive, like with movies...I can't stand Titanic or Avatar!

Juliana said...

Bad reviews happen even to great names who hit the NYT bestseller list with each book they release ... it's a fact, a part of a writer/author life.
I just think it's incredibly childish when the author decides to answer to those reviews and begins a pubic argument.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for your comment Alex, guess I am a bit apprehesive whether my book will sell.
I have put feed back on line about it and on facebook and twitter so will wait a while before the negative thoughts set in.

Congrats to the winner of your book.
Yvonne.

Cally Jackson said...

Bad reviews hurt, especially ones that don't actually give you anything constructive. I don't have anything published (yet!) so haven't had to deal with this, but constructive criticism from my beta readers has been hard enough to swallow, let alone totally destructive criticism. I have no doubt your work is awesome, so don't listen to those nay-sayers!

I have a thought about the Insecure Writers Support Group - have you considered having a new linky list each month? That way, people can add their names once they've actually posted and the order is mixed up. It also means we only click through to blogs who've already posted that month - quite often, I click through and the person hasn't posted yet. I'm probably doing it too early in the day, but if there was a new list, I'd know the blogger actually had an insecure writer post.

This may involve too much work at your end, but I just thought I'd suggest it for your consideration. Thanks again for running this awesome group! :-)

T.D. McFrost said...

For every ten people that hate your work there are fifty more who adore it.

You have talent, you have imagination and you have people who love you.

Immerse yourself in the positive.

Miranda Hardy said...

Wow, the list is really long now. I enjoyed reading the list you compiled on examining the bad reviews. I suppose one of the reasons I've been putting off publication is the bad reviews, but I know they will come. Not everyone will like my story. The positive reviews make it all worth while.

Pk Hrezo said...

You are so spot on. If we sign up to do this writing gig and want publication, we have to be ready to have some negativity. There is no way to please everyone, so we just do what's in our heart and soul and someone somewhere will love it and we hold onto that.
Everything else is not important.
I missed Mondays post.... off to check it out.....

LynnRush said...

Great post. Thanks so much for the encouragement!! And this great blog hop!
Have a super day!

MISH said...

Thanks for the inspiring words!
Remember, you can't please everybody...
I suppose it also starts with one believing in oneself and ones writing!
Enjoy!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rachel, that's a good policy! And I used to work with someone who had that kind of attitude.

Juliana, yeah, because that's a losing battle.

Thanks, Cally! I have thought of that, but since the list has grown beyond my blog, there are those who wouldn't know to come here to add their link. I do try to police the list and remove non-posters, but I need you guys to let me know when someone repeatedly doesn't post since I can't visit them all.

TD - that's right!

Miranda, no fear. The positive does outweigh the negative.

Exactly, PK.

Li said...

Oh my, what a pompous reviewer that last one was! How many 10 dollar words can he stuff into one review?

I don't mind critique, as long as it's constructive and given in the right spirit - in fact, a comment's delivery/content can tell you a lot about the person who wrote it. If it's just mean-spirited, then it deserves no further consideration.

I like the Murray mantra - it just doesn't matter! As you say, what matters is that the author is satisfied that they did the best they could.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips on how to handle those negative reviews. Because I'm sure we'll all get them when we are published. I'm sure they hurt even more than hard critiques from a critique group. Love the positive one you shared. Congrats!

Rusty Webb said...

Geez - I just totally hammered the last book I reviewed. I did feel guilty about it, now I feel downright evil.

Still, I'm sure they're coming for me. I figure when it does I'll just freak out. No big deal, I freak out all the time anyway, I've just promised myself I won't respond.

Clarissa Draper said...

Yay, Carol! I hope you like the book. Can't wait to read it myself.

Alex, I haven't received a negative review yet (except by my critique buddies) but I'm sure I will. And I'm sure it will hurt a lot. But, you're right, our work will not appeal to everyone.

I think what I'll do is print out the fantastic reviews and tape it to my desk so when I'm feeling a bit sad about my bad reviews, I can just look at the good.

Journaling Woman said...

Two thoughts. It is what it is. There will be people who will not like your writing or your hair or your shirt. It's their choice. Secondly, the way to stop the critics is to stop writing. Ha! That isn't going to happen. No one is a perfect writer not even the popular writers. But they can laugh off the negative all the way to the bank.

Great post. I'm feeling it.

Teresa

Christine Danek said...

This year is the first time I'm able to take a critique without getting defensive. The good ones are great, but I finally learned how to take the bad ones. I meant to comment yesterday on the 1000 followers. Congrats to all those amazing folks and to you, Alex, for all you do. Thanks.

DL Hammons said...

I guess you can compare a negative critique to a unfavorable review, except in regards to the possible impact to sales. One critiquer suggested that I take up writing screen plays and forget about novels. That was a long time ago and I used it as inspiration to improve. But reviews are like anything else, there's gonna be good and bad...as long as the good outnumber the bad you should feel good about your work!

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Everyone's a freaking critic. It's so easy to say nasty things and some people are just darned good at it.

When I was a newspaper columnist I used to keep a file of "good letters," all the positive comments from people who enjoyed something I wrote. I turned to them often, especially when I got one of my many "bad letters." Here's the thing - years later, it's not the criticism I remember, it's all the great comments from people who "got" what I was trying (ineptly) to say.

So savour the good stuff and file the bad stuff under 'G.'

Laura Pauling said...

I think many bad reviews come from readers reading outside their genre or making comparisons! I've learned to look at what the author is trying to accomplish and what they intended, not what I'd like to see.

Em-Musing said...

I paid for two editing services. One loved my manuscript, the second though it sucked. I was numb for a few weeks after the critical comments. Oh, I can take constructive criticism, but not when they seek blood. I had to analyze though why I thought the negative editor's thoughts were more valid than the positive editor's. My insecurities lie with fear that a third editor will agree with the second,negative editor and I really do suck as a writer. There...I finally said it.

Tonja said...

I think it's good to focus on the positive reviews. I don't think any writer would write a totally harsh review of another writer. Honest feedback is good to have, difficult, but good - it makes you better, but blanket negative statements aren't very useful.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lisa, it just doesn't't matter!

Rusty, Karma is funny that way. Just don't respond.

That's the spirit, Clarissa!

Thanks, Christine.

Cathy, that's a good idea.

Em, you don't suck.

Siv Maria said...

Voodoo doll for bad reviewers...lol! I will keep that in mind if I ever get as far as finishing anything :) I agree that it is important to stay focused on the positive, but it isn't always easy is it? After all, we writers are a tender breed, even though we like to disguise ourselves as a bed of nails.

C D Meetens said...

As you say, reviews are purely someone's opinion, and perhaps they didn't connect with the story. Rather like people liking different paintings.

It's definitely good to focus on the positive, and re-read something positive when a negative review is threatening to bring you down. Ultimately, you'll never please everyone, but if you're happy with the book yourself, and you make others happy when they read it, then you've accomplished a great deal more than a lot of other people.

kmckendry said...

Unfortunately you can never please everyone in this subjective writing world. I haven't had enough success yet as an author to get a negative review, but my day job as a figure skating coach is just as subjective. All the time judges are telling me what they didn't like about my students. But as long as you are willing to keep learning and striving for the best you have to have confidence in your own expertise... and then keep reading those positive reviews!

Jules said...

And some people should learn, if you don't have anything nice to say, SHUT UP!

Also mathematically 2 negatives can make a positive. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Um, what's a "bildungsroman"? That comment about your book being confusing is rather confusing. If I wasn't confused by CassaStar, and I wasn't, it's not at all confusing. And like Star Wars? Well, it takes place in outer space. May you laugh at these comments some day, if not now, Alex.

xoRobyn

Liza said...

I did receive some "blah" reviews of an essay I had published. Sadly, they appeared online and hung out forever...unlike the many positive comments I received by email and even snail mail. Oh well. I'm in the "can't please everyone" category. At least I pleased the publication. After all, they printing the thing, and paid me for it too!

Amy said...

Great post Alex! I'm terrified of getting negative reviews, but the way I see it, it's something to learn from even if it strikes a nerve at first sight. With the bad comes the good though, and those are the ones that keep me going. :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

You neglected to put my favorite reason down.
Maybe they are just a BLEEP!
But, it could just be me.

Great post...as usual.

Michelle Gregory said...

great stuff. and i just realized i posted a day early. such is my crazy life.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Siv, some days it's not easy.

CD, exactly!

KM, what you said!

Jules, that made me laugh!

Robyn, I do laugh! And even I had to go look up that word.

Liza, just ignore those negative ones - it just doesn't matter!

Heather, I thought that, but tried to keep it all positive.

Michelle, that's all right!

K.D.Storm said...

This was just what I needed. The last couple of months I have been in a bit of a slump. This helps get me through it. I haven't published a book yet but I have felt the sting of a bad comment or two on another blog I write on. It was like a shot through the heart.I had to remind myself that I needed to find something from the negative to make it a postive if that makes any sense. Great post as always. Hope you have an outstanding year.

Cindy said...

I read a saying recently. "Nobody ever built a statue in honor of a critic." :D

Anne K. Albert said...

I've received an average review (3 out of 5 stars) more than a year ago and it still hurts.

Worse, however, was a 4 star rating from a family member. She thought she was doing me a favor, but her 4 stars only lowered my average and reduced my previous 5 star review average to 4.5.

Family...can't pick 'em, can't kill 'em...and people wonder why writers are insecure!

julie fedderson said...

You definitely need a thick skin to do this, but I think if you try to dissect a bad review and see if there is anything constructive about it, that totally helps make things better. And if not, opinions are like . . . well, you know. Everyone has 'em.

L.G.Smith said...

I think you've got the right attitude about it. You just can't please everyone. Nobody can. But if you're lucky enough to have pleased a few you've succeeded as a writer, IMO.

Summer Ross said...

I think I fear reviews for more than a rejection letter for a piece!

Good post Alex!

Congrats Carol!

Karen Walker said...

Great topic, Alex. I received one bad review, although I have to say it wasn't really a review of my book, it was a personal attack of me. And it was by an online blogger, not an "official" book reviewer. But it hurt and it took awhile to get over. Your advice here is very sage.
Karen

Stephen Tremp said...

I did have a negative review when I released the first version of my book. But the reviewer made honest points that other readers commented to me about. I made the necessary changes, mainly changing the POV from omniscient to third person and not leaving the story as a cliff hanger. I added the first few chapters of my next book to bring closure.

This is a case where a bad review, as painful as it was, helped. My books are better because of it.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I get both good and bad reviews on all my books. Bad ones sting, but I try to find at least some sort of tip to takeaway from it.

M.J. Fifield said...

No, I have never received a bad review. This is where dragging your feet on that whole publishing thing can really work wonders...

But if I did get one, I imagine it'll involve me hiding under my desk and consuming vast quantities of Ben & Jerry's. So, not all bad...

A great topic and, as usual, your attitude on the subject is a good one.

Thanks again for changing my URL for me. It's much appreciated.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - Thank you for being willing to share these reviews, and your awesome advice. The part I'm saving especially is the part that made me laugh, "A reader who doesn’t write probably doesn’t understand how difficult it is to write a book. We need to give them the best of course, but even crap takes effort." - sometimes I need to remember that when I look at my writing and just see junk.
-I agree with the Library Journal about your writing.

Helen Ginger said...

Congrats on the Library Journal review. Wow. That's the kind of review you want, plus readers pay attention to them!

Brinda said...

I figure that we all don't like the same movies, music, and food, so we won't all like the same books. And that statement about people not realizing how hard it is to write a book is so true.

Wendy Ewurum said...

Alex you just can't win one way or the other. As a reader and reviewer a recent facebook friends asked me to review her boook which looked interesting from the description. By the third page I was saying oh god what have I gotten myself into.Towards the mioddle i couldn't bear it anymore. I wrote a very polite email to the writer explaining without going into detail that I could not review her book and I apologise. I was trying to not talk about the bad writing and dull plot. Well this was the response I got response.
"You should've told me that you only did paranormal reads, this would've saved me time and not have cost me an eBook.
I would appreciate if you removed it from your database."

Well you just can't win. I was not aware that her giving me an eBook meant I had to give her a great review.

LD Masterson said...

And let's face it, some people like to tear down others just because they can. Those who can-do. Those who can't-criticize.

Julie said...

Congratulations to Carol! I can imagine the negative reviews sting, but it sounds like you definitely have the right idea for handling them. I also think there are some who just love to be critical and slam others, some of those reviews sound that way to me. The positive reviews are of course awesome!

Thanks again for hosting this group!

April Plummer said...

Hey Alex, great post! I need to mention...I completely forgot that I changed my blog name and web address. It's just April Plummer at www.aprilplummer81.blogspot.com instead of A Writer's Ramblings (#216) When you get a chance, could you change it for me? Thanks!

I so agree that people don't know how hard it is to write. Everyone seems to think they can write a novel, but until you actually sit down to do it, you can't possibly know. And even then, unless you steady and read and interact with other writers and learn and grow...you still don't get it.

Suze said...

“This formulaic space opera aspires to be a bildungsroman for its petulant hero, but it confuses the archetypal with the clichéd.”

Al, I remember reading this on one of your reviews, was it on Amazon? In any event, I'm really not a mean-spirited person but my response to those words were, 'what a blowhard.'

Hope that helps. :)

Jessica Salyer said...

You can't please everyone, isn't that the saying. I haven't finished my book yet and thus haven't had negative reviews, but I hope when I do I'll remember your advise. Congrats on all the comments on your last posting. That's amazing!

Sherri said...

Thanks for sharing those negative reviews. I don't think I'd have the courage to do that which is probably why my books haven't really been widely read. I just don't promote them much due to my fear of rejection! I'm really glad I stumbled across the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

Cassie Mae said...

Um, that positive comment trumps the negative ones altogether! And the best part of this business is that it is subjective. We write what we're attracted to, we write what we love. We don't write whatever crap we can just to please other people.

And I was floored by your 200+ comments on that post too. My mouth actually dropped when I saw that, lol.

Steven said...

Cool idea for a support group. I will have to sign up for this next month, now that I know about it. I have had my own rocky times with writing, what with family members anonymously tearing apart my stories on Amazon reviews and all.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What did John Locke say? A negative review just labels that person as NOT your target audience. Good way to look at it.

My post for you is WE GUESS WITH OUR FEARS in on how to deal with form rejections and how to write a winning query letter.

Thanks, Alex, for being there for me, Roland

Cherie Reich said...

Ouch. Negative reviews sting and can take all the fun out of writing, but remember every positive review counts so much more. After all, we write for the fans, not for the people who just don't get it or like it.

My worse review so far was that I was unoriginal and it wasn't worth the money. I feel lucky that it wasn't so bad and could be so much worse.

WritingNut said...

Thanks for this Alex... I'm already dreading the bad reviews.. but I know they will come... they have to... it's all a part of this business, and what appeals to one person may not be another's cup of tea. As they say.. you can't please everyone.

Congrats on the 200+ comments dude... I'm not surprised at all! :)

Ella said...

I'm not there yet, but ouch! We must have our force fields up to do this~
Art in any form seems to be up for speculation and review~ It is part of the process. Some will love it and some won't~ I say Captain your scale is tilted in the "Love it" side~
enJOY~

Off to write my insecure post. I had a poetry prompt to finish this morning. I'm on thin ice; I don't write poetry every day...(most poets do). I do write everyday :D

Christopher Hudson said...

In the corporate world I would hear bigwigs say things about my writing like: "What's that smell? Why, it's coming from this copy." Always a boost to the ol' confidence.

Patricia Lynne said...

Great post, Alex. I got my first low review of a short story I posted, but I was lucky. The reviewer wasn't too mean. Said she thought my writing was choppy, but the concept of my story interesting. Over all, I wasn't too crushed by it. Not to say a really negative review won't hurt me still, but I was glad my first low review didn't tear me a new one.

http://plbjourney.blogspot.com/2012/01/first-insecure-writers-support-group.html

Lindsay said...

Great post, Alex. I think the good review kicks the "bad" ones into touch. Negative comments on our writing are hard, but not everybody is going to like the same thing. Just remember that you ROCK!

Melissa Bradley said...

Ah reviews..."the characters are beyond dumb and really, the first person is more for YA than adult." "The author injects humor into the worst places... no sense of timing." But I contend that a review is a review and my story got noticed. The worst is when no one takes notice of your story or in my case, the reviewer posts the wrong review to Amazon. Yep, Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf's one review on Amazon is actually a review for another book. How bizarrely hilarious is that? Ah well...positive thoughts for 2012.

Congrats to Carol!! Yay!! What an awesome prize.

200+ comments is incredibly awesome. Yay you!

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

You can definitely take more stock in the Library Journal review than is some poor speller's. And, you're right. Not every book is for every reader. You just march on. I think you've really made it once you get real criticism. It means what you wrote mattered.

Allison said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Alex. This kind of goes along with my post that writers need to be tough! Congratulations on carrying on despite negative reviews.

Allison (Geek Banter)

Emily R. King said...

Dude, you have poor reviews. Is it bad that I think that's awesome? There are two sides to every coin. Putting your writing out into the world will invite praise and insult (for the reasons your mentioned), but at least it's out there. Good for you for being brave enough to write and for having the courage to continue to write despite the reviews. You're my hero!

Rek said...

A post to think about. Somebody cannot please everybody; else nobody will be left to motivate to write better or at the very least let one know they are being bought and read.:)
Happy new year Captain...and have a successful stint with your upcoming release...I skipped the meeting this month as I had other meetings to attend to...(a waste of time and money, they turned out to be). I will be lurking around for sure.

~Sia McKye~ said...

While I don't have a book out in fiction, I have written quite a few reports and studies that have had their negative comments. I have also had my fiction critiqued and altho I know I need the crits to improve my writing, they still sting.

Some reviewers like to be snarky. I've never understood that. Perhaps they feel they're not doing their *job* if they don't find something wrong. *shrugs

Although I'm not doing many reviews these days, if I get a book to review (and I have) that's full of mistakes, backstory, or I just couldn't get into it, I won't review it.

At least you don't respond to the negative reviews, Alex. It's the worst thing an author can do is go on and defend.

Looking forward to reading Cassa Fire.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Jay Noel said...

I work in corporate sales, so I get rejected a lot every single day. So I'm used to it.

I guess I have blinders on and I've grown thick skin. But if someone is going to tell me my writing is crap, I want to know WHY.

At least it's constructive that way.

Kit Courteney said...

As my old nan once said: People are weird.

No more, no less.

Ok, so she wasn't much of a thinker, but I rather agree with her.

Stick to your guns.

Johanna Garth said...

Ugh, do you know every first Wednesday I just want to hit myself because I keep forgetting to do a theme post. I need to write it now and program it to go for February!

On a positive note I've met a lot of great bloggers through this hop so thanks for creating it!!

Cate Masters said...

Sorry to hear you've been slammed with a few negative reviews, but you're right, we all get them - even the NYT bestsellers. But that's partly what's gripped me with self-doubt, two reviews that trashed two of my ebooks. Ah well. Pick yourself up and keep writing what you love!

Cate Masters said...

Oh, and thanks for featuring Ground Rules on your Awesome Authors page! :)

Nancy Thompson said...

We're human. Negative comments will always sting. There's no getting around that. But as long as it doesn't diminish your pride or the enjoyment you get out of writing, there's really no harm in it. In order for a writer to be successful, he or she needs to grow thick skin. This only happens through repeatedly being injured by stinging comments or reviews. So think of that bad review as a type of medicine, a vaccine that immunizes you against further pain. The sting of that shot in the arm will be forgotten in 5 seconds. The effect of the medicine will protect you forever.

Marta Szemik said...

I think the average of the reviews is more important. Not everyone is the same and not everyone will have the same review. We know bad reviews will happen to most authors, but what matters is the majority vote. The end of the day result which is reflected in the average. I know the bad ones don't lessen the pain, but I also don't think smart readers will judge a book by one review either. I'm waiting for my first bad one... ...I know its coming. Then I'll make the voodoo doll :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

KD, never let that bad comment stop you from achieving your dream.

Cindy, I've heard that as well!

Anne, someone else talked about a dear friend giving them three stars and thinking that was good.

Karen, personal attacks are just wrong.

Stephen, and that's it - we can make the next one better.

MJ, no problem!

Tyrean, and you just made me laugh - thanks!

Wendy, sometimes you get caught in those. And funny, eBooks usually don't cost anything...

LD, well put!

Julie, thanks for being a part of it!

April, I will go change it!

Suze, thanks!

Jessica, blew my mind, that's for sure!

Sherri, they are out there, so I can't hide them. And glad you are part of the group.

Cassie, so did mine!

Steven, that is just wrong.

Roland, and your post was awesome.

Thanks WritingNut!

Christopher, now that is bad...

Lindsay, thanks, and you rock!

Melissa, now that is a first!

Mary, that is a good way to look at it.

Emily, this Ninja is humbled by your words...

Sia, no, I don't respond! And if I don't like a book, I don't review it either.

Johanna, that's all right.

Cate, happy to feature your book!

Nancy, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

kirstenlopresti said...

I think writers are forced to develop a tough shell nowadays. With Goodreads and Twitter everyone is a critic. The Library Journal review is great. That one is more important anyway.

Christine Rains said...

I know many writers just ignore the bad reviews. Your book isn't a rip-off Star Wars, by the way. You're original and you create wonderfully vivid imagery. Stick with the good reviews!

Curmudgeon said...

Actually you have left a couple notes on my blog and it always encourages and surprises me just to have someone even comment other than the usual people, especially since I can imagine how much time you have. It doesn't take a lot to encourage someone and I resolve for New Years to do it more often and follow your example.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Authors and writers who give other books bad reviews are shooting themselves in the foot.

I remember reading a review from an unpublished author and she attacked both the book and the author. I thought, honey, one day you will have a book out and those words will come back to kick your ass. Hard.

What comes around goes around.

Michael Offutt, Visitor from the Future said...

I think one of the biggest things a writer needs to do is not argue with the people that give him a five star review. :) Just sayin'...

Margo Kelly said...

VooDoo Doll ... tempting ... very very tempting. :)

haha

I know, bad reviews are tough, but I think all of your points above are valid.

Just keep writing.

ali cross said...

I loved this. Especially "it takes effort to write crap!" ROFL!! That just made my day.

*high fives man* You know how to kick it.

Carol Kilgore said...

OMG! I can't believe I won this. How awesome! I'm going to email you now.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Negative reviews are part of the game, just like rejections from agents and editors. I've been around long enough to have a pretty tough hide. Even if something hurts my feelings, I wallow in my misery for 15 minutes and then move on. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kristen, it is!

Christine, thank you so much.

Curmudgeon, why thank you! Sorry I can't get there more often.

Diane, very wise words. That's why I don't give bad reviews.

Michael, I only answered the question.

Ali, glad I could make you laugh!

Carol, you did indeed win.

Jemi Fraser said...

This is one of the things I worry about - I've got to grow some thicker skin before I'm ready to 'step out'! :)

Bob Sanchez said...

Alex, with my first novel I foolishly shelled out good money for a review. When Pigs Fly garnered a lot of free reviews, but the only negative one was the one I paid for, the only one who thought the conclusion was predictable.

Heck, a review is only one person's opinion.

Rick Daley said...

The majority of reviews / ratings for my book "The Man in the Cinder Clouds" have been great, but I did get one 2-star rating on Goodreads.

The thing is, there was no review. I accept that not everyone will like my story. But in the interest of self-improvement, I am really curious to know why this person didn't like it. Is it something I can fix in subsequent books? Or is it a plot point I love and this person didn't?

I don't want to argue the rating, it is what it is, but I would like to understand the thought behind it.

But you're right...when I read through the good reviews, I worry less.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

...i don't even see how anyone could say that Cassastar is a rip off of starwars. I mean, yeah they're set in space and there's two man vessels, but that can be said about a crap load of sci-fi. It's not like lucas invented sci-fi.
I have no idea if i'll be able to even read bad reviews. I'll have to have a screener or something

Joanne said...

It's still encouraging and inspiring to read what the critics have to say about an author's published work. It prepares the rest of us aspiring writers for the post-publication experiences - we know we're going to meet some harsh words but there will be some compliments too, so thank you for this. All the best for the New Year!

Jamie Burch said...

Ouch! I'm going to borrow your list for when I get to that point. Love the Library Journal review. Congrats! Awesome reviews like that definitely cancel out all the bad ones.

Oh, and congrats to Carol!

Elana Johnson said...

I'm with Bill Murray. It just doesn't matter. :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm with Jamie about how great reviews "cancel out all the bad ones!" You've had enough positive feedback to write a sequel, and I have a feeling you'll complete the trilogy. All the negativity just made you stronger, and that's the healthiest way to be! Congrats on your sneak peak Carol! Julie

Susan Oloier said...

Every book gets a bad review. Even the Star Wars films get bad reviews. Nothing is exempt from the bad review. That being said, I love the idea of a voodoo doll :-)

Sarah McCabe said...

I just keep in mind all the people that HATE the books that I think are the best in the world: The Lord of the Rings, Dune, the Chronicles of Amber. I have read some terrible reviews for all these books, really scathing. But the books are the ones who stand the test of time, not the critics. It's so easy to tear something apart, not as easy to build it. And you're the one who created instead of destroying. Remember that.

Carrie Butler said...

Well said, Alex! You always have such insightful posts. Soon, I'll have to make a bookmark folder just for Cavaknowledge. :)

Laura said...

I like your attitude Alex! Great post as always
(can't believe that review - I mean, did they even read your book?!)
And congrats to your winner!
Laura x

Man O' Clay said...

"...even crap takes effort." Ha! So true.

Thanks for all the reminders, Alex. An unpublished writer such as myself needs to hear those things.

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Congrats Carol!

I've seen/read a few authors' reactions to negative reviews, from causing a 300+comment rage war that went viral to one author wanting to buy me a beer (that was pretty scary). It's to be expected that you take the rough with the smooth; I can only imagine the number of Tolkien haters out there, but luckily us true believers outnumber them considerably.

Jacqueline Howett said...

You say it well.

I wish I had all this information under my belt about a year ago.

Charlie Rice said...

Most authors say they don't read reviews because the time for constructive criticism is during the creative stage, and not after the work is published. I'm not sure if I believe them, but their logic has merit.

Patsy said...

I've not had many negative reviews or comments for finished work - but that's mainly because I've not yet had published the type of work that generally gets reviewed. I'd like to think I'd handle negative comments well - but suspect I might need to pull myself together first.

Nicki Elson said...

Another excellent list. I'd say I first glean constructive feedback, and then accept that my stories won't be everybody's stein of beer. Oh, and falling back on those really great reviews is the best pick-me-up. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jemi, you'll be all right, I promise.

Bob, that is really ironic!

Rick, knowing would help, wouldn't it?

Sarah, you just made me laugh! When the bad reviews happen, I recommend having a drink in hand.

Elana, that's right!

Julie, again, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Susan, if anyone ever makes a voodoo doll, I'll let you know.

Sarah, well put! Not so easy to build up.

Carrie, wow! I'm honored. Cavaknowledge...

Jamie, did you take him up on that offer?

Charlie, I don't believe them either.

TirzahLaughs said...

Not everyone is going to love your book...the hope is that not everyone will hate it...lol.

:)

T

cleemckenzie said...

I've been pretty lucky in the review department on my second book. On the first one, I was dinged twice, so it was painful since that was my debut into the published world.

Two things helped me get through those negative words about something I cared about. 1) Accepting that not everyone will love what I write. 2) Discovering that sometimes negative reviews have a reverse affect, making readers curious, so they want to see what that book was about for themselves.

Old Kitty said...

Oh noes, I'm commenter 111! LOL!

Oh Cap'n Ninja!! May these reviewers have painful boils where the sun don't shine. Ahem!

Take care
x

Andrew Leon said...

I don't see -my- book on your list. Maybe, I don't count as a "buddy," yet. It's hard to know when you're just one of 1000. Or maybe you just didn't read it, yet.

Reviews are hard. I haven't had any bad ones; although, I've had some not great ones. I do know that the kids I read to love it, and that works for me.

I think the real issue is confidence. But that's not exactly right. Nor is just "believing in yourself." But, when you know that what you've written is good, I mean -know- it just not think it, then the bad reviews don't seem to matter as much.
I -know- I've written a good book. (I know not just because my kids like it and other kids like it but because I like it. Even after reading it more time than I can keep track of, I still like it.) I also know that not everyone willlike it. It starts slow, and a lot of (adult) people won't bother with it, but, you know, I'm okay with that. I think the pay off is worth it (especially what's coming in the next book), so it's their loss. But, then, I've always been that way.
Which is not to say that I want people to not like the book. I hope people do like it, but it's not the most important thing.

Maybe that's what it comes down to, if you're writing to be liked, you need to find some other way to do it.

Reviews are hard...

Helena said...

You're so right about the inevitable bad and snarky review for any writer. For my first published book years ago, I received radically different opinions from reviewers (a few were glowing, a few not), but now with the anonymity of the Internet, some people use any excuse to spread their bile. Personally, I'd put a secret magical curse on them and move on.

Ciara said...

Brace yourself. I think I can top your bad reviews. I hope this is the worst review I ever receive.

"Very quick read and fantastic writing style. That's about it really. It's very difficult to point out what's good about this book."

OUCH! Oh well, I moved on to other great reviews. :)

Thanks so much for having Love's Long Shadow on your awesome author page.

Don't let those reviews sting, you know you have an awesome story.

Jasmine Walt said...

I'm not published yet, but I have received negative feedback on my book before, and usually I have to go off and sulk for a few days before I can come back and read it objectively.

Amazingly enough, when I do I almost always find that the reviewer has made some valid points, and I make notes to incorporate into my next edit. I have had some negative reviews, but only once have I had a review that was just completely unhelpful-- and that was from a well-known troll, so he doesn't count, lol.

Of course, I know that feedback is different from a book review because you KNOW your book still needs work, but when you actually put it out you (hopefully) have done your possible best, so I imagine that any negative reviews you get then would sting more. But that'll come when it does. It's still good to hear that your book has good reviews too!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

T, now that is a profound statement of hope!

Lee, there always is the curiosity factor.

Kitty, you are always good for a laugh no matter when you post!

Andrew! I will add your book by tonight. See, I knew I was missing a few people. Writing may SEEM like a popularity contest on the outside, but you're correct - don't do it to be liked.

Helena, anonymous is not cool.

Ciara, well that was most unhelpful! Like you said, move on!

Angela M. said...

Our writing is part of us, whether it's about us or not, so it's difficult to separate yourself as a person from the book itself. I doubt a bad review could ever not be hurtful, even when you understand without a doubt that it was not personal or it was unjustified. It's like bad-mouthing our babies.

I haven't decided yet whether I'll read the reviews whenever I get pubbed, but I probably will. Sometimes you can get a valuable nugget to, as you say, improve your writing. And sometimes you get that glowing review that blows all the bad ones away and leaves you in euphoria for days ;) I think that might be worth a sting and a cringe and a crying jag now and again.

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Alex,

Thanks for the invite to join IWSG... I wasn't sure I was good enough:)

This whole blog journey has been amazing and I thank you for your support!

M Pax said...

Plug your ears and avert your eyes, Alex. We can't ever please everyone. Never. Write for those who found pleasure in your work. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never received a negative review of something I wrote, since I haven't published anything--but in general, I try to decide whether that person's criticism rings true with my own opinion of whatever work it is that I've shown them. Sometimes I know there are faults and I can see why they criticized it; other times it just seems to be nothing else besides attack.

Congratulations to Carol!

Tara Tyler said...

i'll take it, i'll be published!
for now, i get crits i may not agree with and i understand...

we are not going to please everyone!

silence is what i have a hard time dealing with...

thanks again for bringing us all together!

Nancy said...

I just saw a show on Broadway called Seminar about aspiring novelists. One sobering thing in it was that no matter how people respond to your writing it is going to be tough. If they love it they pressure you to write more and so you turn out crap and then they hate it. In the end, it became about the importance of writing for yourself which I think you do and well according the library journal :).

Angela Brown said...

Congratulations to the winner!

Um...I'm still trying to figure out what "bildungsroman" means.

Southpaw said...

"eventually you’ll have to face negative reviews"- ha, that's what my rose-colored glasses are for! j/k

You're right though, you never know what's going on in someone else's brain. I read once that everyone is so individual and has there own outlook that you will never appeal to everyone. Valid point.

My favorite - super popular authors - have some rather scathing reviews out.

You've got a great outlook.

Charles Gramlich said...

Indeed, you'll get those halfhearted reviews at times, and it does get to you. We all feel it. But like you say, they may have just had a bad day.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Angela, it is worth it!

Mark, none of us is good enough! Glad you are on board. I am still making my rounds.

Golden, sometimes those criticisms do indeed help.

Tara, thanks for being a part of the group!

Nancy, well said!

Angela, I had to look it up!

Thanks, Southpaw.

Amity said...

*tears*...:(

I wasn't the winner of your Cassastar :(

I am challenged! I need to go to the city soon to find myself a copy of it!!! Which am gonna brag about it to you! Lols! Peace!!! Kidding!!!

Good morning!

Insecure post coming out anytime from now...:)))

Tizzy said...

Great advice. I can imagine how much bad reviews can hurt, but at the end of the day it's just someone's opinion and you can't please everyone. Good writing, like art and beauty is totally in the eye of the beholder.

Here's my post:
http://tizzypotts.blogspot.com/2012/01/insecure-writers-support-group-judging.html

kelworthfiles said...

Thanks for the warning. I think that at this point, from peer workshops and other feedback, I've gotten used to taking some criticism from my writing, and have learned the lesson that some of it is warranted and some of it may say more about the critic than the author.

I think it does matter, in a way - but you don't have to let it hurt you.

Lydia Kang said...

Oh lord, I'm gonna need an AED when it comes time to read my reviews...ugh! But you've survived with so much grace, Alex. I envy you.

Hannah Kincade said...

All reviews have their points, good or bad, use them as teaching tools. There's a reason why writing is considered an art, you keep changing and growing.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I would take a review like that from Library Journal. I haven't had any totally negative reviews yet but I've had some with a few negative comments in to go along with the good.
Thanks for commenting in two places for me today.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amity, I'm sorry!!

Tizzy, I was just there!

Kel, you don't.

Lydia, I think yo will handle it with grace as well.

Growth - very good point, Hannah!

Susan, but of course! Happy to read your guest post.

Trisha said...

I'm unpublished, but have some experience with negative feedback. Sometimes outright mean feedback. Those were on rough drafts, but yes I am fully prepared for any 'polished' versions of stories to still get some hate here & there. As you said, no book is gonna be everyone's cup of tea. But that "just doesn't matter." hehe

farawayeyes said...

VooDoo dolls. I think I can get you a deal on some down here in the islands.

Bad reviews? I would love to be published and have that problem. That said,I'm sure I would be a puddle with a bad review. I've had a few rough critiques. Ouch. Some of them really stung.

My favorite 'bad critique' was of a drowning scene I had written. A lady told me she read a paper on drowning and I had it all wrong. I didn't tell her I was a lifeguard, swim instructor, coach for years and had more than one near drowned victim to deal with. Are you kidding me?

Thanks for the IWSG. You can't imagine how it helps. I hope I offer some encouragement to others.

Unfortunately, there seem to be an awful lot of non-posters this time around. Only bugs me because my servers is extremely slow this time of year. After I've waited minutes for a blog to load, it's disappointing to see the last post was not IWSG. Oh well,it happens.

farawayeyes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tfwalsh said...

That positive review completely blew the others away... and I love Bill Murray's comment... so true. You're a champ.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Trisha, no it doesn't!

Faraway, let me know about the Voodoo dolls.
That lady thought she knew it all, huh?
And I've been going through the list and eliminating a lot that haven't ever posted. I'll continue tomorrow and see if I can't pare it down just to participants.

TF, thank you!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Farawayeyes :
You were a lifeguard? Outstanding! My most memorable rejection was for a short story : no rejection slip - just a dirty footprint on the first page! I had that up on my wall until my home burned. Now, that footprint said it all!

Alex : Victor Standish and Alice caution you to stay away from voodoo! LOL. Roland

Vicki Rocho said...

“This formulaic space opera aspires to be a bildungsroman for its petulant hero, but it confuses the archetypal with the clichéd.”

OMG, can you say PRETENTIOUS? I'm going to have to look up bildungsroman...that's a new one one me.

Donna Hole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Hole said...

Sorry; there was a spot in that last comment that didn't look right to me.

I suppose getting a negative book review is the same as someone giving negative feedback on a movie, or tv series, or piece of art . . Everything gets reviewed/critiqued.

I like the idea of writing a good story, putting it out there, and if it gets published, that's good enough for me. Maybe I'll worry about the feedback when I have a novel out there depending on it.

I like your accepting attitude Alex :)

.......dhole

Damon said...

greeeat post amazing blog =) follow

Austin James said...

I have trouble understanding people who like to leave bad reviews. Generally before I read something I make sure it's something I'm somewhat interested in - maybe even read a few pages first before buying: And if you do this, you can usually weed out a bad book before you buy it. And even then, it's not really a bad book - it's just not a right fit. There's such a huge selection of books out there, it's hard to imagine someone having trouble finding something they'd enjoy reading, but who knows... some people just enjoy being negative.

Gina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina said...

Alex, first of all, you are my hero for taking the time to answer to 140 comments with at least a line. WOW.

Now, about negative reviews. I think no one can call himself a writer if he/she hasn't experienced and survived to bad reviews. We have to learn to recognize the difference between constructive criticism and mean, negative, hollow words. Not every negative thing is aimed to hurt, some come from pure ignorance, others are simply mean, yet others can help us grow as writers. All of them will help us grow as individuals. When you know you're above hurtful comments and are able to respond with kindness (sometimes silence is the kindest of acts), you know you're made of a different fabric.

Great post! Good luck on 2012 from Diary of a Writer in Progress.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Alex,


I god dizzy scrolling down all these comments! Congrats on you continued success. I am so honored to be one of your peeps. I know it's been ages since I've visited.

I'd like to give you a special thanks for caring enough to check in on me... You are an amazing person and it's no wonder you have so many blogger friends.

You post hit home. We all have bad reviews from time to time. I remember my first from my submission to ABNA 2010, I had just finished my first novel and needless to say it needed tones of editing, but at the time I was a newbie.

After getting in on the pitch round, the VIne reviewers did the review. Well stated my writing was amateurish. I was devastated, I had posted the review and my shame on the ABNA threads. That's when Erica Olsen of erica and Christy came to my rescue. We have been friends ever since and she even introduced me to this amazing community!

SO if it wasn't for that bad review I never would have discovered this amazing blogger world.

I am very thankful. I have learned so much in this year and hope to learn more for 2012.

Jennie Bailey said...

That Library Journal review is fantastic! I would pin that to the wall over my desk so that I could refer to it on days that I'm feeling insecure - in the end that review matters more than someone I don't know on the internet who probably isn't qualified to crit my work. And remember, those of us who really matter LOVE it! ;-)

Enid Wilson said...

I try to concentrate on positive from now on. So for today, things go on smoothly.

The Spinster’s Vow

Leovi said...

Yes, this criticism can undermine any illusion. But in principle I think is having the most positive reviews, and if an abundance of good all the better.

Medeia Sharif said...

Reviews for my book ran the full spectrum. I definitely couldn't dwell on the negative...or else I would've stopped writing. Those are great things to keep in mind when reading reviews.

Congrats to Carol.

Lindi said...

Alex--Ah--the downside of being a writer--negative reviews--they are only the downside if you let them bother you. I have received some really terrible reviews--but I can't worry on them. Like you said I don't think some readers understand what goes into writing a book. One of my fav reviews is someone who wrote "I liked this book. I'm surprised that I liked it, but I did."
That was fun.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Roland, I'll heed their warning!

Vicki, that word came to mind!

Thank you, Donna.

Austin, I think some people do get a kick out of being negative. Sad for them.

Gina, I always reply to comments - and do my best to visit those who comment here, although it's a challenge the day of the IWSG. And you're right, some negative reviews give us ideas for where we can improve.

Michael, thank you! And what an amazing story. You should blog about it. As you said, sometimes a negative turns into a positive.

Aw, Jennie, thank you!!

Lindi, I've actually received quite a few reviews like that. They are very positive in my opinion!

Gail said...

Congratulations, Carol.

I don't know about bad reviews but am very familair with rejection slips...just an earlier version of bad reviews, I guess.

Much luck with your new release.

Jen Daiker said...

You.Amaze.Me.

I can't get past your awesomeness. I wish I could keep track of this Insecure Writers Group, I could have really used the support yesterday. I'll have to meet up next month and join the fun. I sure could use a group of 240 people reminding me that we're all awesome!!!!

Thanks for being you! As for this 1000 followers deal, I'm going to have to check this out! :D

Tanya Reimer said...

Reminds me of the wise words my first editor told me. "If they take the time out of their day to say something about what you wrote, consider that good publicity. Means someone out there will read it just to prove them wrong." Bring it on.

Arlee Bird said...

A few bad reviews can help keep things in perspective and make the other reviews have a bit more credence. At least that's the way I see it.

I would have been the 28th comment here if the WiFi in the hotel had been working properly yesterday morning. I was getting pretty insecure about not being able to catch up a bit before getting on the road for the day. Great turnout for this IWSG installment.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Copyboy said...

First off! Star Wars is a rip off of something else. I've read there are no new ideas, it's just how well you do 'em. And you my friend did it well. F that person. Send 'em my shirtless review. haha

jbchicoine said...

I'm going to fall back on these two a lot! "Writing is a form of art, and our book won't appeal to everyone."...and
..."Perhaps there is just enough constructive criticism from which to learn and make the next book better."

I won't be published till October, but I have received some reviews via a writing competition. One was a Publishers Weekly private review, and oh boy was I glad it was private! OUCH!

The thing I learned from that was that the only parts that really stung (and there was loads stingers) were the issues that I felt insecure about. After a good month of wallowing, I found ways to address the problems. And I found ways to toughen my rhino skin...I hope to have a good layer of it in a year from now!

jbchicoine said...

...and Holy Granola, what a lot of Insecure Writers you've accumulated! :)

Murees Dupé said...

I think some people just say negative things because they can. You are correct in saying that not everyone will like your work, but I still think the negative comments you got were a bit uncalled for, but I guess that is the life of a writer.

It is great of you to have kept going, regardless of all the meanies out there. Good for you.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Gail, then you are prepared!

Jen, thanks! Be great if you joined us. Some of the posts yesterday were so moving and inspiring.

Tanya, I like that attitude.

Thank, Lee! Our best day yet.

Copyboy, they do need to see your review! It was pure awesome.

JB, you'll be ready. And if it makes you feel better, that third review I listed was my Publishers Weekly review. Yeah, bummer.

Thanks, Murees!

Leovi said...

Only once had a critical and that 22 years ago.

Pat Tillett said...

There was one category of person you left out. Some folks are just AH's...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Copyboy is correct, Alex. Watch FORBIDDEN PLANET, the Sci.Fi classic of the 50's. And you will see where Roddenberry took most of STAR TREK from the the triad of officer friends to the star fleet concept, among others. How we utilize images and ideas of others is what determines the worth of our work. The good reviews tend to inflate our egos. The bad ones feed our doubts. Ignore them and do your best to be your best.

Which it appears that you are doing and are doing well, Roland

Mark Noce said...

Wow, this is a great group you've put together, it just keeps growing every month:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pat, I was trying to keep it positive!

Thank you, Roland. I know there are Star Wars influences, as well as Battlestar Galactica. I will just focus on the good!

Mark, I know! Thanks.

Michael Malone said...

I must be following Mark Noce from blog to blog. Hey, Mark where are you off to next?

Alex - you are a good man. Keep up the good work. As for critics - here's what Brendan Behan had to say "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves."

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Alex--that really stinks! I think some people feel smarter when they put down what other people do. And there is a lot to be said for nothing would please everybody. But those mean-spirited ones are rotten. I think Amazon draws those nasties out in people (or there are just a lot of trolls that frequent the place)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I just noticed you mentioned my CALL ME TOMBS in your books section. That is very gracious and kind of you. Rusty's A DEAD GOD'S WRATH looks very interesting!

Heather Kelly said...

Love the attitude--I can't imagine how personal it probably feels to have those reviews out there. I'm glad you can take the bad ones with a grain of salt. (Not sure where that saying comes from!)

I have loved visiting some of the Insecure Writer's Support Group blogs. What a lovely idea! Another time I'll join in. I do Lee Wind's/MotherReader's blog hop in January!

Hoping for all good reviews in your future!! :)

Karen Lange said...

Great points Alex. I struggle with negative feedback too, but try and use it constructively. Then too, I have to remember that not every book is every reader's cup of tea. You just won't please everyone, no matter what you do. Focusing on the positive and keep writing!

RaShelle Workman said...

Carol is so lucky. Congrats!!

I blogged about negative reviews today too. Thanks for this group and sharing... You rock!

Nibbles said...

Star Wars is a total rip off of Seven Samurai, and that did OK ;) If I had the number of awesome reviews CassaStar does, I don't think I'd be too fussed by one bad one. It's all so much down to personal taste...take me for example, I can't stand Joe Abercrombie, and every other fantasy fan seems to adore him..so I reckon there's always one ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Michael, I like that!

Hart, for some it is an ego rush. Weird.

Roland, Rusty's book is amazing! He is such a talented writer. He's also one of my critique partners so I've had the honor of reading his unpublished novel. I couldn't put it down.

Thank you, Heather.

RaShelle, you rock!

Nibbles, good point! And you gave me a laugh.

Green Monkey said...

I'm going to say it again, because I mean it... I get more support here than anywhere else on the internet. thank you

Laura said...

Thanks for yesterday Alex! What a great month of posts! There's an award for you at my place :)
Lx

Abby Minard said...

Very well taken, Alex. Those of us that are unpublished can prepare ourselves as much as we want, but I know it will still hurt the first time (and probably any other time after that, too.) But you have a great attitude about it, and really, if Library Journal loved it, you are golden ;p

Jeremy Bates said...

this list keeps getting bigger and bigger!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Green Monkey that's both good and sad.

Thank you, Laura!

Thanks, Abby.

Jeremy, it just got smaller - I removed some who weren't participating.

Jenna Blake Morris said...

Great point. Those harsh reviewers must've been glass-half-empty people anyway.

For times like that, I love this quote:

"Fans don't boo nobodies." -- Reggie Jackson

KristywithaK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristy Leigh Logan said...

In life in general, I've really had to work at accepting the idea that 'you can't please everyone'. I'm a people pleaser and used to think that I needed everyone to like me. With age and experience I've learned that that's an impossible thing to achieve. I'm content with who I am and what I do and it's okay if not everyone likes that. I'll have to keep that in mind when I get published ;-)

Jennifer Hillier said...

There are books I've loved that have received terrible reviews, and books I've bought because of great reviews that I ended up not enjoying. I've received my share of glowing reviews and "worst book ever!" reviews and everything in between, and those less than positive reviews have by far been the biggest challenge I've faced as a writer. There was no possible way to prepare for this before I got published.

But luckily, there's always that reader who comes along and "gets" what we do, and that makes it all worthwhile. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Nothing stings worse than a negative review. I've had some scalding ones. The worst were the DNF - did not finish. But I try to focus on the positive ones and how a young girl told her class about Woman of Honor because they had to talk about their favorite book. That always makes me smile.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jenna, I will remember that!

Kristy, remain content with yourself.

Jennifer, that's all it takes!

Nicole, that is a wonderful story!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

There is way too much negativity in the world. I'm sorry you have to deal with those bad reviews. Sooner or later every author gets them, even the best ones. That doesn't mean it is easy to accept them. But look at the bright side - you have much more positive comments than those negative ones, right? I'm reading your book and, in my humble opinion, your voice is great. Keep up a great work and don't let the negativity of others get you away from your creativity.

Sarah Pearson said...

I love your pragmatic approach. It's important to read what the review is actually saying before you know whether you should be concerned or not. I bet that's easy said than done though :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Angela, thank you! I'm glad you are enjoying it.

Sarah, it is, but I try.

Chemist Ken said...

I know it's hard to do, but it's best to ignor reviews that are snarky and non-constructive. Enough other people liked your book to let you know you're on the right track.

Of course, that's easy for me to say since I haven't published anything yet and therefore haven't had any negative reviews.

Brianna said...

It is so helpful and comforting when an author shares negative reviews because we don't feel alone and it gives us hope, at least in my opinion! Thank you for sharing!

Laura Josephsen said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement! You have a very inspiring attitude about it.

Suze Reese said...

There isn't a book in the world that is loved by everyone. That's what I tell myself, over and over again, as I send my book out in to the world. It would be some kind of paranormal mind-control phenomenon if simply everyone loved it. =) Hmm...maybe a new story topic?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ken, then hope you remember.

Brianna, I can't deny them.

Laura, thanks.

Suze, maybe!

Kari Marie White said...

For me, a kind word about my writing can cancel out at least two of the not-so-kind ones.

We aren't going to be able to please everyone right? As long as we please our target reader, that's all that matters!

Thanks for sharing your veteran viewpoint Alex!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kari, thanks for stopping by!

LisaAnn said...

Great post, Alex! It's important to always keep things in perspective, and I think your thoughts about some readers not understanding how hard writing actually is are spot on. Thank you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

LisaAnn, thanks for reading!

Birgit said...

I often think critics like to hear themselves talk or write and love to be negative when they can. I think of all the movies critics blasted that are now cherished peices of filmdom and also books too so don't let the negative be first on your list but let it slide into oblivion because, in the end, we will be able to find your book but we won't be looking for what the critics say