Writing Top Tips: How to deal with negative reviews/comments/tweets

In this blog, I want to talk about criticism and how to deal with it.

Criticism is to be expected

When you put something ‘out there’ either in book form, tv, youtube or blog form you are effectively inviting people to comment. Some of these observations will be positive and encouraging; some will be helpful and constructive; some will be terrible and heartbreaking.

This is the way of the world, and while it’s not perfect (in a perfect world all comments would either be helpful or constructive), it’s what all of us have to deal with. If you do not think you can handle this then as hard as it might be you should think carefully about whether publishing your work is something you can deal with.

How we respond to negative reviews/comments/tweets can say a lot about us, it can have a positive or adverse effect on how we are perceived and can gain or lose readers/watchers.

So here’s what to do when you either receive a negative review/comment/tweet.

Do not reply

I know this is difficult, but it is the best course of action. It is impossible to believe that everyone who reads/sees your work if going to love it, you need to take bad reviews in your stride and move on. Remember a review/comment/tweet is one person’s opinion, as Chipmunk once said opinions ain’t facts take ’em in an’ let ’em go.

So why is not replying the best course of action?

You need to be seen as a professional, whether or not you agree with the reviewer is not the issue. The fact that your behaviour could turn off potential reader/watchers is. The best way not to do this is not to respond at all.

For examples of how responding to bad reviews/comments/tweets can make you look to your audience you need to look no further than the responses of HowettBotton and Harper – all of which have become rather infamous.  As you can see all of these authors have been condemned as acting inappropriately. They all come across as unprofessional and have damaged their reputation. In fact, in the Howett incident, it is pointed out to her that there are several publishers who follow the reviewer’s blog and have not only seen her response but been attacked by her directly. She has in effect shot herself in the foot with her reply.

As Neil Gaiman said in a tweet referring to the Howett incident “If you ever have dreams of being a writer, please trust me & DON’T, DO THIS. Just don’t. Just… don’t.”

Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!


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