Here’s an idea. Nothing.
You do nothing.
For some odd reason, this question pops up repeatedly among new authors, and I can’t help but ask myself, “Why? Why are you even asking?”
I get it.
You’ve spent hours upon hours of your life, not just time and energy, but you’ve put your actual life essence into this thing. Thousands of words strung together to create your masterpiece. Your sweat, your tears. You’ve bled all over these pages and poured, what felt at times, like pieces of your soul into this baby. Then, here comes some reader (I mean who do they think they are?) who brutally slashes your book-baby to bits!
How dare they? What does this reader know about good literature? How did they not like the plot, characters, style, or insert some random subject from your book here _______?
I’ll tell you why.
Because they are people, who read books, and sometimes they just don’t like your story.
The funny thing is, most people, like say us writers, for example, know what they like to read just as we know what we don’t—plain and simple. Sometimes I pick up a book and don’t like it. Nothing to do with the author, it just didn’t grab me at that point in my life and maybe never will.
Don’t get me wrong.
That one-star rating on Goodreads eats my lunch. The 2-star review on Amazon with the big fat DNF made my insides twist.
But, what did I do? I’ll tell you what I didn’t do. I didn’t go on an Internet rampage, or contact the reviewer, or post hate on social media. I did what all professionals do, I went to my mom and complained until she told me to get over myself and keep trucking along (after she consoled me with platitudes, of course).
That crappy one-star is not a personal attack on you (unless it is, because let’s face it, some people are just misery mongers) if anything that blemish on your art adds validity to your work. It means you didn’t grab everyone you know to post five stars, or pay some company to give you tons of ratings.
While a terrible review feels like a career ending hit, (okay, let’s be real, a life-shattering crack to the skull), it isn’t so bad.
A review or rating is one person’s personal experience with your work.
It is thier right to say how they felt about that experience. Whether it be with the entire story, or certain ascepts, that review tells the world what they took away from your book. And, lets face it. That’s why we write to begin with. To share our stories with the world, to touch someones life, or make them think.
Remember, not everyone loves paintings of Campbell Soup cans (myself included) while others have paid over a hundred million for such art. So, before you go and post on Facebook and Twitter, or start attacking a reader/reviewer/blogger, put on your big girl panties, or boy boxers, (or briefs since I’m being specific), and act like the professional author you are attempting to be. Take each negative remark, absorb all the criticism, and learn from it. Make your next blood, sweat, and tears project that much better.