5 Ways To Combat The Bad Review Blues

Every artist has received bad reviews. I don’t care who you are. If you’re an artist—unknown or well known—there will be people who will bash your work. As an author, I knew at one point or another, someone would trash my story. When I was writing Beyond the Eyes, I was well aware that the main character Paige, who is an emotional, heartbroken 17-year-old, would annoy some readers, because she's weak at first. I created her character that way to give her room to grow, which she does throughout the trilogy. I was also well aware that I might get some grief for having Paige and Nathan fall in love rather quickly and for Paige losing her virginity to him early on in their relationship. However, I trusted the fact that the reader would realize there’s a connection between Paige and Nathan, which Anwar mentions later on in the tale and that most girls lose their virginity in their teens. Not to mention, all the popular TV shows and movies watched by young adults show similar situations. So I took those things into account and decided to let the chips fall where they may. Fortunately, a lot of my readers loved the story; however, there were a few, and I’m sure there will be more, who trashed it because of the things I mentioned.


Even though I was well aware of the high probability my story would invoke haters at some point, it didn’t lessen the blow. But I stayed true to myself and the characters and carried on.

So how does an artist combat a bad review?

Here are 5 ways to deal with it.

1.) Find something constructive in a bad review and take that into account for when you write your next story, paint your next picture, create your next musical piece, etc. Always remember, the more you work on your craft, the better you will become. I remind myself this when someone mentions an editorial error in my book(s). Granted, all books—self-published and traditionally published—have errors. We’re human. I’m not making up excuses, it’s just a fact. But after The Devil’s Third was published, I decided to not only have an editor, but a proof reader/editor and three beta readers, whereas before I only had my editor and two, sometimes one beta reader. After I wrote Tangled Roots, I had a team go through the manuscript. Even though my other books weren’t marbled with errors, I still took into account those few readers who mentioned them, and I became proactive in doing what I could to make Tangled Roots shine.


2.) When you read a bad review and there’s nothing to gain from it, read all your good ones and the wonderful things people have said about your story. Also, don’t forget about your fans and remind yourself there are readers who loves your tale. Then move on.

3.) Remind yourself there are people out there known as trolls who will single your book out for no good reason at all but to be nasty. I discovered one the other day. You can tell who they are by the downright mean things they say—especially when they don’t mention anything that's in your book. I don’t understand why someone can be so hurtful to another person, but unfortunately that’s the world we live in. So don’t allow them to get underneath your skin. You wrote a book. You created something out of nothing. Don’t let bullies take away your sparkle.

4.) Don’t read reviews. A lot of writers and actors will not read what people have said about their work. I’m not there yet or know if I ever will be. I want to read my reviews, but then again I’ve only been a published author for 2 years. But I can see why some artist won’t spend their energy on commentary regarding their work.

5.) Realize you can’t please everyone. There will be haters. Hell, there are people who can’t stand Harry Potter and have totally trashed J.K. Rowling’s books. I love her books, btw, and it’s hard for me to wrap my head around how someone cannot love Hogwarts and the magical world J.K. created, but whatever. If everyone’s opinion were the same, we’d be living in a boring world, right? The point I’m trying to make before my scattered brain gets out of hand is . . . not everyone is going to like your book. Plain and simple. If you love it and have more good reviews than bad, move on.

     So there you have it. If you apply any of those 5 things when you’re faced with a bad review, it’ll help prevent you from getting depressed, wanting to hide from the world and giving up.