A few weeks ago, I explained the different types of criticism you’ll run across as a writer pre-publication. Today, I’m explaining what you’ll face after publishing. I’m going to break it down a differently than I did last time, as you still receive bad and good criticism, I just want to elaborate on how to deal with it, and also the different kinds of places you’ll deal with it.
This is when the book has been published and is available either as an eBook, Audiobook, or Print book – after rounds of editing has been complete and it’s up for sale everywhere.
Bad Reviews: You’ll probably receive negative reviews from professional reviewers, unskilled readers, and everything in between. The absolute most important thing to remember post-publication is to not comment. Don’t comment on it at all. You’ll just make yourself look bad.
If you receive the review from a friend, co-worker, or just someone who has done the review for you and they are speaking directly with you via email or some other form of communication, thank them for their honest opinion. No matter what they’ve said or done or how bad the review – thank them.
Good Reviews: Pretty much the same rules apply no matter if the review is good or bad. Indirect review (i.e. Amazon or Goodreads review section, etc.) – don’t comment. Direct review – give thanks.
Regardless of if the readers liked the book or are just slandering your work or name (which doesn’t happen all that often), they put time into reading it and should be thanked for their time.
In Person – So let’s say we’re at a book signing or some other public event and a person who has read your book comes up to you.
Bad critic: They say it was a bad book or they didn’t enjoy it (I’ve only ever heard about this happening once, never experienced it myself, so it’s a rarity). Since it’s face-to-face you can’t actually ignore them… well, you could, but it would be almost as rude as saying something you might regret later. Just bite your tongue and say “I’m sorry” or “I’ll take that into consideration” or something to that effect.
Good critic: They say they enjoyed reading your work or similarly something positive. Thank them. Thank them for reading. Maybe even feel free to tell them about some of your other books.
You can begin to see a bit of a pattern in how to deal with things. If you’re a new writer, you can save these rules and use it as a cheat sheet that way you can stop and take a breath the next time you’re faced with criticism.