The other evening I received a review of my novel.
It was my second review, and it was the worst so far. It gave the novel a two star rating. As you would expect, I was hurt and disappointed by such a review. Yet, over the next hour I was able to read through and digest everything the reviewer said, and quickly came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t a bad thing.
Yes, I know it’s hard to take when someone tells you they don’t like your work and then goes on tell you everything that you did wrong. It hurts. Yet, it’s a pain like growing pains.
It’s like getting a big red F (okay, D) on a test in school after staying up all night studying for it. It hurts, but its not that they want to give you a bad grade. What the teacher and the reviewer want is to get you to do a good job. They want you to succeed.
The reviewer is looking for a really good read and hopes your book is the one.
Remember that the reviewer took his or her precious time to read the book. The reviewer took more time to write a review and explain what they think is wrong with it, what you can do better. They did it because they really want to like the book.
The next day I wrote the reviewer a thank you letter. Yes, you heard me right, I wrote to thank them for giving me a 2 star review. I told them that it was greatly appreciated, and that I would take what they wrote to heart. I would learn from it and use their review to improve the writing of my next novel.
They wrote back, wishing me success on my next novel.
If that wasn’t enough, only hours after receiving the review, I was informed that another website liked my novel enough to post it on their page to help in the promotion. Then a day later another review was posted, and this one gave me 4 stars.
That is another lesson; everyone has their own likes and dislikes, their own opinions of your work. Don’t take the poor ones too harshly, and don’t get too thrilled about the good ones.
Do your absolute best. Those that like what you do will find you and those that don’t it will help you get better.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity