November 5, 2020-Want to know how to avoid criticism as an author? Say nothing, do nothing, be nothing, and write nothing. No matter what you do, someone is going to complain. You have a choice, do what you want to do, write the books you want to read, and put yourself out there without caring what people think. This is harder for some people than others, but I promise you, once you stop caring what people think, that’s when you’re free.
This week, one of my authors had a review left on their page. It was less than stellar. But, we focus on the positive. One person didn’t like his book; art is subjective, so let’s move on. If we had wallowed in what other people thought of our work, we’d never write another word. People are entitled to their opinions, and that’s just it; they’re only OPINIONS. What people think of us and our work isn’t going to shatter us, stop us from writing, or give us a complex. What people think of us is none of our business. So how do you bounce back from a nasty review (I’ve had tons of my own, trust me), cutting remark, or mean email?
- Do not respond. The worst thing you can do is respond to someone who doesn’t like you or your work. Let them have their opinion and focus on the positive. The last thing you want to be involved in is a war of words. Remember that people are entitled to think whatever they want.
- See if there’s truth in the comment. Yes, sometimes I get hate mail…ok, a lot of the time. But sometimes a lot of good comes from it. A person will complain about a character or story arc and say that I can’t write worth beans. This allows me to take a closer look at what they’re saying and see if they’re correct. No matter how harsh, criticism lets me reflect on my work and conduct and improve in areas that need improvement.
- Don’t get discouraged. Keep doing your thing, keep writing, and keep moving forward. Oftentimes, people who aren’t happy with themselves or their circumstances lash out at others. People who start fights aren’t at war with you; they’re at war with themselves. Wish them the best and get back to work.
- Remember that you can’t make everyone happy. If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. There will always be people out there that love your work and others who hate it. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.
It’s fine to offer constructive criticism in a positive manner, but it’s quite another to be mean about it. Remember, on the other side of the screen is a human being. How would you want to be treated?