How To Deal With Criticism As An Author Or Writer

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How to Handle CriticismCriticism is to be expected if you write and self-publish.

The one undeniable fact about writing and publishing books or expressing your opinion via a blog is that you are not going to be liked, appreciated, loved or in some cases, even tolerated by some readers.

While some disagree politely, others can be downright rude, and then there are even a few who think that throwing a few choice, personal insults is fair enough.

Whether it be by way of a blog comment, a social media post or very often in an online book review, they can be upsetting.

However, when you express an opinion, you just have to accept that there will be the potential for criticism and that you are not going to be liked by everyone. In some rare cases, you can even offend a few people without intending to do so.

I only mention this because I stumbled across an article on another blog, by sheer accident, which linked back to one of my blog posts.

The article was well written, and while agreeing with some of my points, it disagreed with others.

In all, an honest opinion and I appreciated the link back, and quotes, and posted a comment saying so.

What I didn’t appreciate, however, was a lengthy anonymous comment on this post that was particularly nasty. It didn’t comment on the actual post but launched into a personal attack on me directly.

While I just ‘copped it sweet‘, I did find it distasteful that this anonymous commenter had obviously read my original post, but was a little shy in posting the attack on my blog. Some people?

As a writer, you need to learn how to deal with unfair criticism and negative feedback. While in 99% of cases, criticism is constructive, destructive criticism is very hard to swallow. So you need ways to deal with it.

So what do you do when the brickbats start arriving?

The first answer to handling negative criticism is not to take it personally. The second is to then do nothing whatsoever.

Just as I have the right to express my opinion in whatever forum I feel inclined, so does everyone else. Including the not so nice commenter I mentioned.

But as I have said before in some of my posts about communication on the Internet, never ‘flare‘.

By that I mean, never enter into an argument or try to justify yourself with emotive reactions online. People who post very mean reviews or insulting negative comments are usually attention seekers and thrive on knowing they have succeeded. So don’t give them that satisfaction.

Just accept that criticism and even personal attacks will and do happen if you are a self-published author and are active on the Internet.

Just ‘cop it sweet‘, in silence.

It is the same advice I give for handling very negative book reviews. Ignore them.

Inflaming a situation by reacting and replying to a bad review will only make you both look stupid. It’s far better for only one person to look very silly, and for you to rise above it all.

Accept that you will get criticism and the occasional mild insult as part of your job as a writer and author and then, when it happens, do your best to ignore it completely.

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “How To Deal With Criticism As An Author Or Writer

  • Exactly! The criticism that matters is the one that comes from your editor. As soon as you engage, mentally or on social media with the pillocks that diss your stuff for whatever reason, people then start noticing. We are a ‘brand’, it behoves us to be as professional as possible.

    Reply
  • I see a distinction between negative criticism and simple attack. You can learn something from negative criticism. You can’t learn anything from attack. I have a business, I get a review that says I don’t give refunds and that I am slow to pay my vendors. It simply doesn’t apply to what I do.. The review is from someone on the other side of the planet who has no idea of what I even do. The motive for the review? Who knows! Perhaps the attackers need to make an ugly noise so they feel alive and I just happen to offer a little undefended target.
    Now, if they said my horses bite and I feed them too much, then I need to do a little soul-searching and evaluation. Maybe there is something to improve!
    The real problem is that there are no consequences for attacking other people.
    The Serenity Prayer comes in useful at these times:

    God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
    the courage to change the things we can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference

    Reply

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