I never set out to write a book that I thought everyone would love and I would get all five star reviews. I mean, well yes, of course I set out to write that book, but I knew the truth: that book doesn’t exist.
The beauty of the world is that we all have different personalities and tastes. It’s what makes us different, interesting. It’s what sets us apart from each other.
So why, then, does a bad review affect me like it does? I should appreciate the review for what it is, learn from it, grow from it, become a better person because of it. Instead, I take it to heart and then I go through what I like to call the “Five Phases of Bad Reviews”.
Phase one: False-confidence. This phase is mostly filled with “I don’t need you, or your bad review” and other things such as, “I am better than your review and I know it.” In this phase, I am a confident (albeit, false) and strong woman. I can handle anything. Bring.It.On.
Phase two: Sadness. This phase actually comes quite quickly after phase one (hence the comparison to PMSing). And it includes some shedding of tears and verbalizations such as: “Why do you haaaaaate meeeee?” and “What did I dooooo to deserve thiiiiissss?”
Phase Three: Judging. In this phase, I look to criticize said reviewer even though I don’t know them from Adam. Such things come out of my mouth (or stay in my head, which is probably for the best) like: “She must be a mean and bitter person. I am sad for her.” or “They just don’t get me or my sarcastic humor. They have a sad, pitiful life”.
Phase four: Research. In the next phase I scour other reviews that this particular reviewer has done and look for comparisons. Maybe she hates chick-lit? Maybe she hates literature altogether? If I can find out why, then maybe I won’t feel so bad. This phase never works.
And finally, phase five: Acceptance. I finally make peace with the bad review and move on. So far 95% of the time people have positive things to say, whether they liked my book or not. The other 5% are the haters. I must accept that there are haters out there and be okay with it. It’s not against me personally, it’s their opinion. And they are entitled to it.
So in summary, bad reviews make me feel PMS-y/bipolar. Someday I will grow up and be able to accept and move on without going through the other phases. Or perhaps I will just stop reading my reviews altogether. I doubt either of those will happen. But I can hope. There’s always hope.