Saturday, February 05, 2011

Handling Bad Reviews

Today's Saturday topic over at the Girlfriends Book Club is reviews, and how authors handle bad ones. I have to say bad reviews used to really get to me. But over the course of 3 books I've had to step back and see a review for what it is. One person's opinion.

I remember hearing Susan Elizabeth Phillips say at a workshop once that bad reviews can be liberating because the truth is you can't please everyone, so you shouldn't even try. I love that advice. And I love Susan!

The truth is all books get bad reviews. Even the big ones. Especially the big ones. The more people who read your book, the more likely you are to have someone (or lots of someones) not "get" the book.

In the summer of 1950, Alfred A. Knopf Inc. turned down the English-language rights to a Dutch manuscript after receiving a particularly harsh reader’s report. The work was “very dull,” the reader insisted, “a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances and adolescent emotions.” Sales would be small because the main characters were neither familiar to Americans nor especially appealing. “Even if the work had come to light five years ago, when the subject was timely,” the reader wrote, “I don’t see that there would have been a chance for it.”

That book of course, was The Diary of Anne Frank.

Enough said.

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