but apparently other people don't. I was afraid of that.*
You have to wonder how people who get huge numbers of stinky
reviews for their first book ever manage to keep going. I’m fairly demoralized with two bad reviews and I can’t imagine how it
would feel if this was my only book.
We authors tell each other not to check Amazon or Goodreads, and that's good advice -- just because it’s too much work
to get back to normal operating speed after being slapped in the face with a bad review. Yes, yes, such an overdramatic response, but any author can tell you--that's how it feels.
Really. It's the feeling, the internal authorial response, that contains the greatest quantity of suckage. The fact of a bad review is out in the world hardly matters. Much. Anyone is allowed to leave bad reviews, for Pete’s sake. I resent my own inability to ignore it. I hate how it entirely unfloats my boat. I get swamped and there are no life vests onboard. (“May day! May
day!”) Authors with bad reviews have to spend at least a few minutes running in circles whining and howling -- instead of getting on with life.**
So okay, maybe there is a teeny tiny bit of resentment sent out in the world and not just swallowed. Last night, for instance, I actually took the time to check out a reviewer's past reviews. I must say that was a smart move. That person hands out enormous numbers of bad reviews, including for Junk, one of my faves, and a K Higgins that I loved. Nothing better than finding yourself in company you admire.
I grew entirely indignant when I saw that huge numbers of one and two star reviews and for books I love--funny that I didn't get that mad about my own. I fantasized about doing dumb internetty mean-girl things****. But wait--no need to administer punishment. That the reviewer spends so much on books she hates, she is already miserable.
Time to retreat back to my own neurotic life and leave the reviewer to hers. Speaking of mine: I'm thinking that responding internally (never externally! never! no lashing out!) to bad reviews needs to have a program. Not 12-steps. More like 2 or 3. This is mostly to stop the author from taking steps that will land her in trouble.
First you do the visualization of the reviewer as something hideous
Here is an article I wrote about this technique.Visualization plus imaginary responses.
I'm already onto the next step, the "fake it until it’s real" Pretend it doesn’t matter until it doesn’t. In fact writing this out makes me realize that for fuck’s sake, it’s just a couple of reviews, not someone LITERALLY punching me in the gut.
Hey, I've been published for ten years and don't have a lot of practice with this. Ha! That says something, right? Right? Right?
* I worried before it was published. See?
** Some reviews are easy to ignore. I mean if someone says "too much sex!" or "I hate the gays" or "this is a short story!" I don't even spend a minute fretting. There's a warning about these facts in the description, ya idiot. Others, like the ones I'm currently shaking off? Uh oh. Ugh. Oh, jeez. Oh no. What if they're right? AAaaaaaaaiiiiii.
**** that I would never in a million years do -- and not just because I'm not technically proficient enough to track basically anonymous people on the internet.