And I'm talking about your book. I'm speaking hypothetically so don't get overly alarmed. I have never liked the term "sucks" and have always reprimanded my kids when they used it when they were young. However this has become such a commonly used term that it is now essentially acceptable to describe something that one doesn't think very highly of.
So what am I talking about? Negative reviews, that's what. Not many authors are thrilled about getting a negative review about something over which they have probably laboured for hours and poured their heart and soul into. It would be like somebody telling you that one of your kids was ugly.
If I've written something that I deem as my pride and joy, the last thing I want to hear is somebody bad-mouthing it. Sure, a few legitimate criticisms about this or that might be expected. But a scathing review that would make me hang my head in shame in the company of other writers and the world in general is not what I'm hoping for.
On the hand, for the author who is trying to make money at this writing gig, are bad reviews really the end of the world? Would I rather have a few bad reviews, or maybe a hundred bad reviews, than absolutely no reviews or just one or two nice reviews written by my mother or some sympathetic relatives?
The old adage says, "Any publicity is good publicity". Why not apply this to negative reviews? Your book isn't a restaurant and no one's going to eat out of it. Writing is subjective and opinions can vary widely. Perhaps your book has been marketed wrong and has fallen into unappreciative hands.
At least knowing that you've gotten several bad reviews tells you that someone read your book. How sad it must be for the author who looks at their Amazon book listing to see absolutely no reviews--ever--and never sells a book--never.
If you've developed an image of notoriety, you get attention which in turn can become highly marketable if you play your cards right. Cult followings have developed from mediocrity as well as misunderstood genius. I would prefer to put myself in the latter camp, but at the same time it's important to be honest with oneself.
Pay attention, listen, and learn from the negative things that are said about your work. Consider the source of the criticism first to see if these are the voices you want to be heard about you. Then carefully examine what has been said about your work. Does the criticism have merit? It's rare that your average author will be criticized for who they are rather than for what they've written. If there is something to learn from the criticism, learn it, absorb it, and try not to repeat it.
Take your hits in stride and fight a good fight. Capitalize on what some might perceive as failure. It's mostly up to you to save your image unless you have a good publicity manager, which you probably don't. You can make some pretty appealing grape juice out of sour grapes when you add the right amount of sugar and color. If you get knocked down in the first round, jump back up and keep on swinging.
Would you rather have bad reviews than no reviews? What would you recommend to an author whose first attempt is considered a failure by some? Can you think of some examples of writers, musicians, film directors, or other artists who were ridiculed at first and became successful later?
Tomorrow I'll be reviewing a book that was written as a negative critical response to best seller. If you wrote a book that was well received, would you welcome other books written as negative responses to your book?