What happens when you get bad reviews or negative feedback on your book? It’s easy to get depressed and want to give up. But the worst thing you can do now is quit.
What to do when people hate your book:
- Don’t take it personally. When readers criticize your book, realize that it’s not you they’re criticizing. Your story may feel like a part of you, since all stories are an extension of the author, but it’s vital to separate yourself from your work. A bad review of your book is not a bad review of you as a person. (Some really hateful reviewers may criticize you personally, but you must realize that that kind of lashing out is not only inappropriate in a book review, but also probably stems from their own personal issues.)
- Don’t believe you’re a failure. Even a bestseller is going to get a few bad reviews now and then, and your book isn’t immune. (If your book hasn’t gotten any bad reviews, it’s because not enough people have read it.) You can’t take a few (or many) bad reviews as a sign of failure. Realize that readers come in as many varieties as there are people in the world, and not everyone will like your book. Even if your book is flawless and amazing, not everyone will like it. And that’s okay.
- Learn from the experience. Some bad reviews just bash, but often hidden in those honest two- and three-star reviews you’ll find helpful nuggets. The catch is, you have to be looking for them. If you go into defensive mode, you won’t learn anything, but if you let your pride down and search, you’ll often find things you could have done better. Some comments you can chalk up to the reader’s personal preference, but when you see a trend—many reviewers mentioning the same issue—that knowledge can help you make your next book better. You’ll often be able to spot your own writing pitfalls, and next time you’ll know how to avoid making the same mistakes.
- Don’t quit. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing. You may be frustrated, tired, and depressed, but don’t give in. The only way you can fail is to stop. Put your past projects behind you and move on to the next one. Everything you’ve written is practice. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get.
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