Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Defend or Declare by Diana Flegal

How do you handle constructive criticism or rejection?

Do you drive by the editor's house and shoot rolls of toilet paper into their trees when a night rain is expected? Or do you defend your plot twists on FB or Goodreads when someone gives your book a bad review?

Handling these things well is important. One does not want to turn off even one reader fan. They all have friends, and before you know it, your reputation precedes you like the smell of garbage downwind.

One of my authors happily saw the recent launch of her first book. And every review has been favorable, so far. She has been giddy with joy. And I, the voice of doom and gloom, remind her that one of these days, there will be that one reader that will say hurtful, hateful things. It happens to the best of the best, eventually.

“NEVER take rejection of your work personally unless it is accompanied by a punch in the nose”! Paraphrased quote of Ron Goulart 

Ignore them.

And go after some fresh reviews to cover them up in the list.

When someone tells you they loved your book and can not wait to read the next one, ask them if they would be willing to write you an Amazon review. Explain how helpful the reviews are to authors. (the more reviews you have, helps your book rise up in the search engines, and can even convince sites like Amazon to advertise your title for free.)

Kristen Lamb, published author and blogger said: Rejection sucks. There is no other way of saying it. Of course, the clincher is that rejection is not only part of life, but it is a necessary ingredient to the life well-lived. But, how do we handle rejection in a way that is constructive? A lot of how we handle rejection stems from how we view rejection. I have a saying: If we aren’t failing, then we aren’t doing anything interesting.  

“What stands in the way becomes the way.” — Marcus Aurelius

In, The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials intoTriumph, by Ryan Holiday, he uses three titles in his outline for turning our disappointments into success: Perception, Action, and Will. It is up to us to alter our perception, practice persistence, and love every thing that happens.  Because as Marcus Aurelius also said,  “we can accommodate and adapt.”     

What ways have you found to appropriately handle rejection and bad reviews?


David Smith said...

Two points. First, do take the kernel of reality in a harsh or tactless criticism. Even that uneducated moron who gives you one star might have a point. Second, in our own criticisms, let's be forthright but also eloquent and fair and constructive. An encouraging nudge might do wonders for a fellow writer's career. I'm trying hard these days to write a review for every book I read.

Wendy L. Macdonald said...

Diana, I recently joined a critique group where 6 out of 7 people were able to offer constructive criticism in a gracious manner. But the one critique that offered no positive feedback at all (though the others were just as critical)drove me to dig out Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird chapter about who should read your work. Anne said to avoid people who make you "hold your breath". In the meantime I harvested wisdom from all the feedback and have begun reading a suggested book recommended by one of the helpful critiques. And I thanked all 7. God can use anything for good. Even pain. (I'll think twice before trying out a new genre again--ouch!)

I appreciate the helpful posts all of you share.

Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

Diana Flegal said...

David, that is wonderful to take the time to write reviews for the books you read. They are very helpful to authors. And I agree, criticism can have a kernel of truth. But it might not be beneficial to respond to it all. When I first joined the FB community I used to join in political discussions thinking that is just what they were. I quickly learned that a person that takes the time to post is generally not a person wanting to hear the other side, or interested in learning anything new. They were interested in finding for themselves a platform. Now I refrain from entering into them and most often hide them when they pop up. Benefit - yes. Respond- not often.

Diana Flegal said...

Wendy, I like Ann Lamont's book Bird by Bird and often recommend it :-) Could you tell us what the name of the other book you are reading is? Is it a writing craft title?

Linda Glaz said...

All reviews are good for a reason. Really nasty ones only show the person to be who they really are, the good ones are nice, and the ones that criticize in a good way will help us grow as authors. Love them all.