"Negativity is the enemy of creativity." ~David Lynch
Imagine the moment (or remember, if you've already been there)—after months, perhaps years (decades?) of blood, sweat and tears and finally you've done it. You've got your book out into the world. You might still be reeling from the champagne of celebrating. And then... a negative review shows up. Perhaps some "helpful" person even took the time to tweet it directly to you. Heck, in today's world with the number of advance reader copies (ARCs) out there you might get that negative review before your book even hits the shelves.
It happens to all of us. Don't believe me? Look up your favourite book on Goodreads and scroll through the one star reviews. JK Rowling gets bad reviews. Margaret Atwood. Stephen King. Everyone. Yep, even you. But bad reviews can be survived. I've been known to email some of my favourite negative reviews of my books to fellow writer friends. It provides an excuse for us to drown our sorrows with some wine and declare that we are clearly much smarter than the reviewer who wrote 'their' when they meant 'they're.' So there!
We've collected a few things to help you get over this hurdle.
Here are 16 hilariously negative Amazon reviews for classic books. "These needlessly hateful and blatantly uninformed reviews are especially apparent on pages for classic works, which many reviewers admit to never finishing before slapping on a one-star review and a whole lot of unnecessary punctuation marks ("!!!!!!!")."
Meanest One-Star Book Reviews on Goodreads. "Just when you think you’ve produced a high-quality piece of writing, you can be sure an online reviewer will show up to put you back in your place. But don’t fret. All writers receive negative criticism at some point in their life, even if the piece they’ve created is original and well-crafted."
Real Writers Get Bad Book Reviews. Here’s Why That’s OK. "Why do we RAGE at the single one-star review on Amazon and ignore the fifty good ones? Why do best sellers perceive a good, but unstarred review on Publishers Weekly as a wrenching rejection?"
5 Tough Tips for Making the Most of Bad Book Reviews. "Negative reviews of your work can cut deep. Author Pamela Jane offers five proactive measures you can take to stay strong and move forward when dealing with bad book reviews."
~ New this week ~
Women in Publishing Summit
Creative Academy mentor Eileen Cook is a part of the online Women in Publishing Summit starting next week. This is a free online event and you can register here to take part.
New on our YouTube channel
Fan girl reactions don't happen that often but seeing that Crystal had a conversation with Susan Juby about writing in different genres made Donna's heart race a little.
And if that's not enough cardio, Eileen chatted with Liza Palmer, the Emmy-nominated, internationally bestselling author of nine novels, and staff writer for BuzzFeed about imposter syndrome. (Still my heart.)
And last but not least, Donna learned how middle grade author Kirsten Mah uses her book club to both find ideas for how she might tackle different situations in her own writing and to be a social change advocate.
~ For Creative Academy Members ~
Office hours replays from the last week
In Eileen's Happy Hours they looked at both external and internal conflict, discussed the importance of focus and how to you train your brain to be quiet so you can concentrate, and discussed how to come up with book titles that are "good" and will intrigue readers.
In Crystal's Strategic Author sessions they talked about the best tools for creating trackable book links, and showed the dashboards for Draft2Digital's Universal Book Links and BookLinker.net. They also created a single book page for Eileen's Divi-based Wordpress website.
In Donna's Author on Fire Mastermind group, we talked about setting writing goals that help us feel good about our work, not make us feel like we're falling short, and about rethinking how to define "success" when we're not hitting lists or making enough money to write home about.
Writing sprints and special topic gatherings
Note: Crystal is off this next week and her office hours have been cancelled.
Not a Creative Academy member yet? Learn all you need to know to become a member here.
~ Creative Advice Prompt ~
Bad reviews hurt because, regardless if they are right or wrong, they hit us where we are vulnerable. Our books matter to us and when someone doesn't like them, it feels like they don't like us. What is an area where your main character would feel vulnerable? Something that really matters to them. Write a negative review of them and then journal your character's response to reading that review.
Eileen, Crystal and Donna