WestBow Press | How to Deal with Criticism

Our Authors on Criticism

"I seek them; I learn more from criticism than praise." - Tony Foglio

"Listen - work on some edits if comments are valid - keep writing - try not to take the comments too personally - realize that you cannot please everyone and that not everyone reads with the same perspective or personality - keep moving forward." - June Paul

"Evaluated the comment for true content, then reminded myself of all the research I did in preparation for the book and trusted in that knowledge and in the leading of the Holy Spirit while writing, resting in the knowledge that I wrote what God told me to write." - Teresa Smith Pemberton

"I have periodically had a negative reaction ... but it had more to do with the nature of my testimony (which is sensitive/somewhat controversial) than the writing of my testimony. Or I remember an occasion where someone had a criticism of the cover art. How I've handled negative comments: Make it a point to build up and reinforce your identity in Christ, as an author. And to know that people are entitled to their opinion, and critical people are often people who battle their own criticisms. And to not obsess over a criticism, but also hear how you can perhaps learn from it for the future. - Rebecca Halton

Dealing with Criticism

How to cope with rejection

So, you’ve published your book and are now faced with the reality of being a writer: Your work isn’t for everyone. There will be people who love you and are over-the-top enthusiastic about your book. Then there will be the haters, who don’t like you or your writing (assuming they’ve even read your book) no matter what you do. They might post negative (or even false) reviews and comments online, stir up drama and even try to ruin your writing career. So what do you do? You learn to live with them.

5 Tips for dealing with the haters (Click to Tweet)

  1. Understand the ‘why.’
    Much of the criticism from haters has nothing to do with hating you. For whatever reason, on the Internet, negative people seem more inclined to comment than those who are positive. So while a handful of rude comments can make you feel like the world hates your book, don’t be discouraged – it’s likely just a few, albeit loud group of people.
  2. Don’t take it personal.
    Just because people didn’t like your book doesn’t mean they don’t like you as a person. Appreciate that they took the time to read your book and leave a review. Use the feedback to better understand a reader’s perspective.
  3. Don’t be defensive.
    If you choose to respond to the haters, then do so with kindness. This may surprise them and even convert them to a fan. Sincerity lets them know you care, which is what many people are really seeking. If niceness doesn’t work, then politely withdraw from the drama they are trying to initiate. As Oscar Wilde put it, “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”
  4. Move forward.
    If you focus on the criticism and negativity, your creativity might get blocked by anger and self-doubt (Click to Tweet), which will distract you from your goals. When the haters attack, use that as a reminder to recommit to your work and focus on the path ahead of you. Don’t let the rude comments keep you from writing and talking about your book. Instead, let them give you the motivation to keep going.
  5. Stay true to you.
    Reviews can give you valuable feedback, but if they are not politely helping you realize and amend something you did wrong, ignore them. Don’t write for the critics, write for you. Do what you need to do for yourself and your career because people are going to criticize you no matter what you do.

Don’t let haters steal your joy. (Click to Tweet)

You can worry and obsess over the criticism or you can move on and do what you love to do.