I was wondering to myself how I’d feel if I received a criticism—not a constructive one–but a comment that went something like this: Sorry, but your story has no redeeming qualities to it. I’ve struggled through the whole book and nearly died of boredom. I thought it would be an interesting read after all the glowing reviews I read, but I was sadly disappointed, and can’t believe this trash was published. Now this was just a comment I composed after reading some really deriding reviews from readers on Amazon. Fortunately for me I have yet to receive something this harsh (it’s probably because I’m not published yet). But I can imagine that I would probably be somewhat devastated to receive one. I should have a strong backbone and ignore these blatant comments. But it’ll be exceedingly hard for me.
Much of what I write comes from somewhere inside of me – inspires by my personal experiences, beliefs, values, and interpretation of life. It then takes hours after hours after hours to transcribe everything into words. So if someone were to read my story, then told me it had no redeeming qualities, that it was stupid, that was is trash—it would fracking hurt.
Realizing this, I decided to make it one of my goals not to criticize writers. I may not like their writing, I might not like their theme, I might not agree with many of their values, I might think their whole book should never have been published—but even these writers deserve my respect. I know how much of themselves they’ve put into their work. I know how difficult it is to write a novel (especially one’s first). The fact that writers (whose writing I dislike) managed to publish their book, is awesome in itself. Plus, while I might not like the book, someone else most likely adores it.
Just wanted to share my thoughts with you guys.
11 thoughts on ““Your book is trash,” a reader says. Your reaction?”
ah! You’ve read my reviews for the books I’ve read…and I didn’t like those 3..but I always made sure to find something positive about it.
But, if someone does leave a review like that..I’m sure it would hurt, but a published author…i think it was Celeste Bradley..she says she picks their review apart and then puts into back together, using their own words to form a positive review, then she laughs at them. lol
You’re reviews were constructive criticisms. These, I believe, are necessary for every writer to receive. Otherwise, how are they to improve? However, there was this one time I bashed this writer in an article for my school newspaper, didn’t add in any compliments. So thinking back on that time, I feel ashamed! No matter how much I dislike a book, I think it’s important to carry it out in a way that won’t insult, but teach the writer.
I agree with you June. Insulting is not necessary. Criticism can be harsh but respectful. This can be accepted by a writer I think.
Indeed! I’ve found many of the constructive criticism I received to be very benefitial to me and my writing. But an insult just gets me down. It doesn’t make me want to try to improve my work. So yes. The latter is not necessary
I’m fine with criticism if someone at least explains *why* they’re saying these things. Why it’s boring, why there’s no redeeming qualities. It hurts, at least initially (I’ve gotten a few really harsh criticisms in the past), but by now it’s gotten to the point where once I get past the initial sting, I just laugh it off and use it as motivation to continue to perfect my writing.
Good point. When there’s a “why” it becomes constructive. So yes, you’re right, after the writer gets past their initial sting, they’re able to use this as motivation to improve.
You got a harsh review before? How’d you deal with it? I remember I got one review that said my story was ridiculous (not TRC, an older story) and I remember I sulked over it all day long.
As someone who has received many reviews (good and bad) I have to say that it is a bit harsh to get a hater on your back. What cracks me up is that the people who like your work will share one glowing review. However, the haters will leave three… all on different sites. You are never going to get around the haters. They are out there and just plain mean. A lot of them are angry in general and just looking for an outlet. However, a very good friend and well-known writer I know reminded me long ago that I am not doing this for the haters. I am doing it for the people who enjoy my work. Think of a book you have read that has touched your life. That author has put a little happiness in your otherwise mundane existence and whether it be a character, a passage or a full story that touched you, you will remember it forever. As humans, we unfortunately focus on what the haters say and fixate on it until it drives us insane. For some, it will stop them from writing, but for those of us who can overcome the snide, rude, or otherwise hurtful comments, we will be touching lives in ways that the haters can never understand.
One last word about haters: NEVER, EVER address them. Replying to a hater email or comment is like offering them the weapon to dispatch you to the grave. A lot of them lie in wait to get a response from you. It’s what they live for and arguing with them will only inspire them to hunt you down in every venue and continue their attack.
Thanks so much for your word of wisdom! That’s a good point you’ve given me there. We write for those who enjoy our work. I know that a hateful comment will likely make me feel bad for a bit. But it won’t stop me from writing!
If something is completely derisive and lacking any constructive criticism I blow it off. I can only assume somehow my book got shoved up his ass sideways and he needs to vent about it.
The only negative reviews I pay close attention to are the ones who say “This wasn’t really for me…” and then artfully lists the reasons why, ending on a positive note.
When I see a negative review like this, I get out my pen and paper and take careful note. Its that sort of all-to-careful “I didn’t like this” that counts.
Yah, the “This wasn’t really for me, because..” review always benefits me. Through them, I either learn how to improve my story in order to widen my range of readers, or learn to understand better that there will always be readers who won’t like your story no matter what you do to it
Agreed, and their criticism always seems to be the most helpful.
As to my above post: It’s* and too* for my last sentence…I know grammar really. x.x