Thursday Thoughts: Universal Criticism

Ouch. Criticism hurts. Bad reviews sting. Rejections make you wonder if you’ll ever add new words to a page again. Been there. Done that. Didn’t buy the T-shirt.

Silver, the need to criticize belies a longing for recognition, appreciation, and validation. None of which, however, can be obtained through criticism.

I’m sure it’s just a phase they’re going through.

The Universe
© ®

Silver, you’re actually glowing today.

You know what? I think the Universe is onto something here. I’ve seen “review attacks” launched at authors by rabid fans of other authors. Trust me, it ain’t pretty! I’ve gotten some 1 star reviews that made me wonder if that person read the same book I wrote. Oh, I totally get not liking a character, a plot device, the author’s voice, etc. I get not liking a genre and give props to a reader who is willing to try something new even if they discover they don’t like that genre. At all. I’ve gotten some of those “not my cuppa tea” reviews. Hey, I mainly write UF and paranormal romance suspense/thrillers. LOTS of people don’t like what I write. I appreciate everyone who gives me a try. But there are those trolls out there who delight in leaving bad reviews. And just like the trolls on social media, I think those individuals are looking to validate their own pitiful lives by tearing down others. 🤷 <– That's me shrugging. Those types have always been around. Best way to deal with them? Ignore and get on with being productive by writing the next book.

Is there useful criticism? Heck yeah! That's what editors are for. I don't care if you're Stephen King or Nora Roberts or any other perennial best-selling author. They have editors to keep them on track and to fix the dumb things that slip into our writing no matter how careful we are. It happens. But then there's the criticism for criticism's sake. And I wonder about the mindset of those who offer it.

So…basically, writers? Ignore the 1 stars and the harsh denigration of your work. Yeah, yeah. It's hard. Trust me, I am WELL aware. But I have to be honest. I don't love or even like every book I read. Why would everyone out there love mine? Who wants to be generic? Not me! Writers, how do you deal with criticism? Readers, how do you feel about those 1 star reviews? Do they make you less likely to check out a book?


About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of several award-winning series--Moonstruck, Nightriders MC, The Penumbra Papers, and Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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2 Responses to Thursday Thoughts: Universal Criticism

  1. When dealing with criticism, I try to keep in mind what my mother always said: “Consider the source.” Who’s behind the criticism and should I care? Sure, poor reviews can hurt sales, but there’s no help for that. Go back and rewrite the book to satisfy one person? Umm, no. Not only am I too lazy for that, but I’d be potentially ruining the book for those people who wrote good reviews. :shrug:

    I had one bad review for Accidental Death which went pretty much along the lines of ‘I hate all these people and wish they would die’. My first thought was ‘well, at least it made her feel something’. My next thought was ‘special snowflake’. And yeah, I’ve gotten a poor review here or there that made me wonder if they even read the book. Personally, if I don’t like a book, I don’t finish reading it and I don’t review books I didn’t finish reading.

    From a reader standpoint, when I’m looking to download a book lately, I shoot right to the poor reviews. Nine times out of ten, they’re griping about something that doesn’t bother me or that I actually find interesting. Sometimes, the poor review seems so unfair, I download the book just to boost its rankings and hope it’s a five-star for me so I can balance out the poor review. The other time it’s a review griping about editing, proofing, and formatting. Then I have to decide if the story sounds interesting enough to wade through the crap or walk away. Every rare once in a while, a 5-star review will turn me off of a book because what they’re praising is one of my pet peeves. :shrug: Reviews are so subjective and so are the reactions to them. Who knows why people do what they do?

    • Silver James says:

      Writers are such educated readers. LOL It comes from being on both sides of the criticism coin, I think. I’m like you, when it comes to a new-to-me author. You’re far more adventurous there than I am. I have tried and true authors I know I can rely on–usually. There have been a few books lately that left me disappointed. Ah well. As you say, it’s all subjective. There have been books that the majority of those leaving reviews absolutely adored and raved about. Me? I sometimes couldn’t even finish the book. That’s why I’m glad there are so many books and writers out there. All we have to do is keep looking until we find the one that captures our imagination! 🙂 (Like your books! And FYI? You know I loved ACCIDENTAL DEATH!) ❤

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