The September 3, 2013 Times Literary Supplement reviews Kurt Vonnegut, Letters published by Vintage Classics: “Some of the letters in this collection are hurtful, were even written to hurt, and this is true of letters to friends and members of his family who had disappointed him or let him down, not to mention reproofs directed to reviewers. A number were doubtless written late at night was he was in liquor… Vonnegut was known to lurk by the postbox waiting for mail to be collected so that he might retrieve letters when he had thought better of their content.
“…he wrote to a reviewer, Anatole Broyard, to say, “thank you for your comments on how slowly my literary reputation is dying. Part of the problem, surely, is that my books remain in print, and people continue to give me credit for having written them…I am presently working on yet another novel which may mislead readers into believing that I should still be counted among the living for a a little while yet”. When his books were banned from public libraries, as several were, his tone was much sharper. A hostile reviewer was not only a jerk, but a censorious public official….an enemy. In the manner of writers, Vonnegut was quick to spot an enemy…” www.the-tls.co.uk
Authors! Don’t go there! You may be able to delete posts on Facebook or Twitter, but you can’t wait by the postbox to unsend an email (at least AOL no longer offers this option.)
You can’t please everyone all the time. Or even some of the time. And everything you write may not always be your best. That’s life.
Apparently reader reviews on Goodreads that attack an author personally have become such a problem that Goodreads recently issued a policy statement that the site will take down such reviews. (I haven’t observed this, myself.) Troll reviews on Amazon have also become such a problem that there’s a thread on a writers group at LinkedIn entitled, “What to do about a bad review.” (I haven’t had time to follow this, either, but may look into it.)
The fast answer is: you don’t do anything. Read the review if you wish, glean whatever may be a valid criticism (sometimes there is, sometimes isn’t, and that’s true of professional reviewers as well as reader reviewers), and move on to your next project.
So there you have it, my friends. Everyone gets a bad review at some time in his or her life. A little rain will fall. Turn what is always very unpleasant and distressing into a learning experience, if you can.
From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
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