Happily, I have a thick skin. As an author of several books and a person who writes on the Internet in a variety of contexts, I receive a lot of less-than-glowing responses and reviews. These come in the form of online reviews, tweets, emails, and Facebook messages.
While a vast majority of my book reviews have admittedly been positive, some are not.
Some are downright scathing.
Many authors avoid reading reviews (or claim they do) as an act of self preservation. They refuse to look at their reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads because the negative feedback can really hurt.
I’m not a supporter of this policy for two reasons:
As an author, I write books with the intent of selling them to readers. Ignoring reviews amounts to ignoring your customers, and for me, that makes no sense. If my customers have a consistent complaint about my work, I want to know about it.
If a negative review or a scathing comment is going to somehow impact my sense of self-worth or my psyche, I’m in the wrong line of work. Not everyone is going to love what you make, and some of them are going to say it aloud.
An added bonus to reading your reviews is you occasionally get the negative review that causes you to laugh, like the one I read yesterday for Storyworthy.
The person wrote:
It is a great book and effective map for great storytelling. But too many references glorifying the man's sexual exploits for me though it could be worse.
I loved this bit of criticism. First of all, I had never considered myself a man of many sexual exploits, so I’m kind of thrilled that I might be more exciting than I once thought.
And what does “it could be worse” mean? Does this person have knowledge of my sexual exploits and knows that I held back? Is he or she implying that I could’ve shared a lot more? And if so, what?
I also have no idea what this person is talking about. Does Storyworthy really contain a multitude of references glorifying my sexual exploits? I honestly can’t recall a single one, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I shared more sex stories than I had planned. Maybe I unintentionally overshared (which I’ve been known to do from time to time).
If you’ve read the book recently, could you let me know? I really want to know.