Friday, April 08, 2011

How to Handle That Criticism


Well, okay. I knew something like this was going to happen eventually.
Yesterday was fun. I made appearances on several blogs, and I connected with a lot of neat people who seemed to be truly interested in what I had to say, and in my book.
There's always one...
So maybe I'm overreacting, but there in the midst of all the lovely comments on a blog that has over 3,000 followers, was somebody pointing out what in their mind was a terrible flaw. I tried to make my blog post encouraging, positive, and while I obviously hoped it might garner some interest in my book, I really felt that what I had to say was important. And a lot of people seemed to resonate with it. So there within all the positive comments from nice folks telling me why they would read my book, is one telling me why people won't.
I took his point. He's not wrong. But I'm not sure it was necessary to comment in that way on that particular blog.

Truth be told, I got a little steamed.

Thankfully I have enough sense not to react. He had his say, and if that makes him sleep better, woo hoo. But this got me thinking. You can't please all the people all of the time. You've heard the saying, right?
As more people read my book, there will be reviews that, for lack of a better word, stink. Nothing I can do about it. Every author has them. Anyone who's in the public eye in any arena is fair game.
The question is, how will I handle them? Am I within my rights to fire back in defense of what I've written? Sure. Will I? Probably not. Here's the thing. I believe there are people out there who simply don't know how to be positive. They're the ones who always see the glass half empty. Refuse to see the silver lining. Know the sun is shining but walk around with an umbrella because sooner or later, it's going to rain.

Whether we're being slammed for our writing, our faith or the color of our skin, does it be-hove us to accept an adverse opinion as simply that or get up on our own soapbox and start spouting off an angry retort that may in essence only draw more attention to the negative comment in the first place?

It was an interesting lesson for me. I'm not sure I'll always be able to sit tight and keep my mouth shut. But I hope that whatever my response, under whatever circumstance, I will remember who I am and what I stand for.
All things will fade away, but these three remain.
Faith. Hope. Love.

How will YOU respond?

13 comments:

Jessica R. Patch said...

Hopefully, the same as you. It's hard to let negative comments or even attacks roll off the old back. When the time comes, I'll try to remember when Jesus was led to His slaughter, He said not a word at His accusers. Look how that turned out!? :) Way to let it go, Cathy. Keep doing what you feel is right. Have a great weekend.

Gina Conroy said...

Oh good question! I'd like to think I'd react the same way I react to rejections. Get upset for a while, allow myself to "feel", lock myself in my room so I don't lash out at others around me, and when my emotions calm down, look once more at the review and see if there's any truth in it. If so, then try and be a better writer. If not, then turn it over to God. Or maybe I'll just not read any reviews at all!! ;)

Carrie (ZOOM Cross-Media) said...

I hear ya. I can get 100 compliments, but I'll only remember the ONE criticism! It's those times that I have to remember WHO I'm working for (or singing for...or writing for.) I think you handled it beautifully.

Katie Ganshert said...

I will stay silent in public, but probably protest in the privacy of my home. Poor hubby....

Catherine West said...

I think a lot of times as well, people will say or write things, especially on blogs, just to get a reaction. It is better not to pay them any mind. The only reason I would probably respond was if they had made an outlandish claim that was totally false and I felt I needed to say something. Bad reviews are one thing, but nasty comments on blogs are an entirely different ballgame. At least I think they are. lets hope none of us have to find out!!

Loree Huebner said...

You handled it like a class act.

It's funny how that ONE will bother you...and you're right, that person was only trying to get a reaction from you and waiting to pounce. You did good.

Catherine West said...

Haha! Loree - HI! You're my new best friend. :0))

Carol said...

We're so emotionally invested in our writing that even the smallest negative comment can hurt, but coming to our own defense can end up making more of the incident than it warrants. What you never want to do is follow the example of one author who went off the deep end, had a verbal tantrum, and ended up looking ridiculous, while trying to counteract one review that she felt was unfair. (http://bit.ly/gQF35F) I think it's better not to draw additional attention to it. Accept that it's impossible to write something that everyone will love, and move on.

Lenore Buth at www.awomansview.typepad.com said...

Good for you. I agree with everyone else that it's wise to let it go. I think that's one of the hard things about writing. We sweat over every word and inevitably, someone reads our words through their own perspective. Nothing we can do about that.

By the way, I like the way you describe youself in your profile. I hope you don't mind if I borrow a phrase or two.

Touched By Grace said...

This is a really tough situation to handle when I am the one actually in it. I am not sure as the emotions I feel at the moment is likely to make me think differently than right now. But ideally, I'd say a little prayer before jumping in myself and let the emotional response to take over.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Just remember the more successful you get, the more books you write, you'll have to deal also with more and more difficult people. Comes with the territory. Thank God in everything. You will grow and bloom. The negative reviews are fertilizer! Patsy from
HeARTworks

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm an internalizer, so I'll be fuming inside and nothing I do that day will work out right I'm sure.

I wonder, do you think the thick skin we get through critiques before we get published has to turn to hide once you get published?

I read a long time ago that even bad press is helpful in the marketing world. Many authors like receiving bad and good reviews as both generate sales. It's silence that keeps your books in the box.

chris said...

Cathy - I saw the comment you're referring to and I thought you handled it quite well. It's tough not to get upset when someone speaks out of line. I had a similar situation on my blog; someone called me an idiot. Nice! I was tempted to delete the comment but then thought that everyone needs to see just how bad it looks when someone does that. I agree that as we step out more into the public eye, we will be subject to unkind words of varying degrees. It's part of the territory. Keep your head held high and keep up the good work!