Re: RE: Handling negative reviews

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Mikala Engel

4luvofwriting – 2008-04-10 1:13 AM To published authors: How do you handle negative reviews or irate readers?

I can’t say I’ve ever had a horrible review.  I think the worst that’s been said was “It isn’t great literature.”  But I’m not certain of this because I stopped reading reviews years ago.  I decided there was no point to it. I can’t change what’s in a review, and as they say, if you believe the good ones, you’re honor bound to believe the bad ones, as well.  So I don’t read any of them.  Besides, I don’t really care what a review has to say, good or bad.

I’ve had only two really irate readers who took the time to contact me.  One argued that San Diego was a hundred miles inland, and was really ticked that I placed it on the coast. The other dug out my phone number and called me, and was incredibly angry about the cover of the book, something I have no control over.

I have had readers send me some interesting gifts, good and bad.  I received a beautiful, hand-carved wall plaque of the cover of one novel, and an incredible hand-carved statue of a protagonist from another novel.

I’ve also received an unwashed pair of socks a reader wore while hiking a trail I had in one novel.  One reader sent a pair of lady’s dress gloves, another sent a pair of panties, and yet another, a beautiful blonde reader, sent a photo of herself.  She was, uh, somewhat skimpily dressed. 

So being published has been a positive things nearly all the time.  But reviews?  Well, who cares what a reviewer has to say?  Not me.  John Osborne once said that the relationship between critic and author is that of the dog and the lamp-post.

Sounds about right, to me.