Surviving The Sting of Criticism
Every author needs to grow a thick skin if he or she wasn’t born with one, because without it, the sting of criticism will stop you from doing what you desperately want to do: write.
Recently I got a nasty review for one of my books (I won’t name which, or who posted it). I was surprised that the reviewer ended the tirade with the words: “I won’t be recommending this book.”
Obviously, from the poor review.
I was shocked at first, then followed my own policy of never giving it a second thought and refusing to rush to defend the book in the review comments.
I am always reminded of this quote summing up criticism: “Something you can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
It seems some reviewers are convinced that book that they don’t like should have never been written, that the author should have never been allowed to publish it, and that nobody else can change their mind.
One interesting comment this reviewer left was that the author (that would be me) presented the material in a way that made the reader doubt they could succeed in this home business.
Of that observation, I totally agree with the reviewer.
I always aim, in all my books, to present the pros and cons, the good, the bad and the ugly when I show readers how they can follow my steps and earn extra income. The reason I spend a lot of each book presenting the difficulties and the obstacles isn’t really to send a message of defeatism. It’s not that I want to discourage a reader from trying. I simply want to warn them that difficulties and problems are sure to crop up. Most home business ventures, whether they are part-time or full-time businesses, are fraught with problems, and what I try to do is to identify these problems early on some the reader can prepare and be ready to handle the obstacle.
I pride myself in presenting simple how-to books which help readers get a fast start to make extra money in their spare time. I also pride myself that I don’t make the process look too rosy. Yes, there will be problems, I tell my readers; But you can overcome them, I remind them. And, then I show them how.
Have I grown a thick enough skin over the years? Yes I have. Does the criticism still sting?
As a wise man once said: “If you want a place in the sun, you’ve got to expect a few blisters.”
All authors step out from the harbor of their dreams, to sail their written works out before the public. But being safe in a harbor isn’t what a ship was made for; likewise, being safe and protected and unpublished to avoid criticism isn’t the answer for the selling author. Toughening up that skin to deflect the slings and arrows of unfriendly reviews is the answer, and one of the most important skills to develop.
Don’t think I wasn’t appreciative of what that reviewer posted. I don’t think it will lose me too many sales. In fact, it gave me a reality check to completely explain the hows and whys of what I’m writing in future titles and when I update revisions of my current works in the future.
So, bottom line, this reviewer actually helped me see some improvements I can make to help sell even more books. Remember this: “To succeed, keep on doing what it took you to get started.”