When a Bad Review Isn’t So Bad

Getting a review is always exciting, there’s the moment of sweet anticipation that either leads to elation or despair. Everybody likes a good review, I’m not going to lie, if I get one I walk around with an extra spring in my step. Bad ones however, well, depending on the content of the review they can often plunge a day into darkness, no matter how brightly the sun is shining. And yet a bad review isn’t always as bad as it may seem.

I used to think the hardest thing about writing was actually working up the courage to share it with others, but I think the hardest thing is to get people to give feedback on the books. Recently I got in touch with a few people, and so far I’ve had quite positive reviews for ‘Fraudulent’ and ‘I, Tomorrow? and Other Stories’ but ‘Angelic Hellfire’ has come in for some criticism. Surprisingly it didn’t bother me that much, I mean, obviously no-one likes to hear that somebody didn’t enjoy their book, but I think there are two main reasons why you wouldn’t like the book; either you don’t like the writing style or you don’t like the story.

It’s a lot harder to take when somebody doesn’t like your writing style because it’s something that is very hard to change. I’m not sure about other writers but I’ve never really put much thought into how I write, I just write in the way that comes naturally to me. So that criticism can sting a little, but if someone doesn’t like the story it doesn’t bother me too much, because not everyone will like everything, and if there is a major problem (like a massive plot hole) it’s something that can be fixed. My stories often have a lot of angst and with ‘Angelic Hellfire’ there’s a big shift in tone between genres, which I think people find jarring (although in my mind it is an organic development). If people don’t like angst that’s fine, obviously my stories won’t appeal to them so I don’t feel too bad, I just hope that the people who do love angst discover my books! 

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4 thoughts on “When a Bad Review Isn’t So Bad

    • Thanks :) it’s quite an interesting dichotomy I mean, I love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s style but I can’t connect with his stories at all. I think also bad reviews can sometimes be helpful to filter through the readership, I mean, someone may come along and read a negative review but think, ‘actually, I quite like the stuff that this person didn’t like so maybe I’ll check it out’.

    • Yeah, you just have to remember that mostly it comes down to personal preference. It always sucks when somebody doesn’t like it but you have to just shrug and move on. A few of my friends couldn’t finish reading my short stories because most of them have very dark and depressing endings, and they like happy stories so it sucks when that happens but there’s nothing to be doing about.

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