Anton Ego, a food critic/reviewer in the movie Ratatouille says,
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.
But, what purpose does it serve to call a book ‘awful,’ or ‘trash?’
If I had E. L. James’ email address then I could email her and ask exactly how she deals with all the flac she’s gotten for writing The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.
And things went south when she had the Ask El James on Twitter while promoting her book Grey.
However, a review is very important to a Writer in the world of digital platforms. You are in Africa and you’re reading a book written by an Author from either Europe or America. It can either be in paperback or ebook format, but you’re reading that Author’s work and in that moment you’re appreciating their work.
It is a Writer’s hope and wish that his/her work is read by lots of people. So, you have two reasons why a review is important: you appreciate someone’s work and spread the word so others can do so too.
As I write this, the feeling of despair is not lost on me as a Writer upon reading that bad review. I have had a taste of them and given my decision to write full time as time goes I am sure that they’ll fill my pages more than I can control them.
Have you ever wanted to read a book or gotten a book on offer on Kindle only to see bad reviews with reviewers raving “awful, boring, major cliffhanger, reads like it was written by a ten year old, annoying and whiney heroine, where do I start…”
Before you blow your top, bad reviews are part of the journey that assail you as a Writer and what matters is how you deal with it.
If you have published your first book and you come across the first review, and it’s bad, don’t sweat it. Read it or ignore it but if one thing is sure is that not everyone will be a fan or understand the genre you are writing.
On the other hand it’s no excuse to have a poorly edited book with typos and grammatical errors out there.
You have to keep writing. Each story and each book is different from it’s predecessor and you have to focus on that.
Sometimes the bad reviews could increase your sales, case in point Fifty Shades of Grey. The more people said it was awful the more people were curious to read it and find out if that was true.
You also have to bear in mind that you are also a reader and you have written bad or less favorable reviews of some books you have read.
You could take a vacation, or volunteer or work on another project to get your mind focused on a new adventure that could inspire your writing.
A bad review means that someone read your book and did not like it. It might hurt your feelings, bruise your ego and wound your writing spirits, but it will be there.
Lastly, you could picture this scenario that my Mom told me about when I was blue:
She said that a student in the University of Nairobi once stood up to tell Chinua Achebe that he did not like how Okonkwo was killed in his masterpiece “Things Fall Apart.”
Achebe did not hesitate. He told him, “If you didn’t like it, go and write your book and kill Okonkwo the way you want.”