November 1st, 2008

Book Book Book

Sticks, Stones, and Bad Reviews

No worries about that subject line, I haven't personally had any bad reviews yet (phew!). But then, I've hardly had any reviews yet at all... and I've been thinking about how to handle it when the comments really start coming in.

To any of my fellow writers who may read this, whether you're ficcers or in a critique group working on getting published or (especially) if you're an established pro -- how do you deal with reviews? Do you:

A) read them avidly, good and bad, trying to see what you can learn from them? (And if so, have they actually taught you anything, or just alternately exhilarated and depressed you?)

B) read only the good ones, and ignore the bad? (And if so, how do you manage to do this?)

C) read no reviews whatsoever? (And if so, why?)

I'm still undecided about the whole thing myself. I love hearing nice things about my writing (who doesn't?) but I also don't want to turn a deaf ear to any advice that could help me improve. On the other hand, as has often been said, "reviews are for readers", not the author, and many authors feel that reading them is really not helpful on a practical level and is only likely to discourage you and hurt your confidence in your next project. I'm not sure what the argument is for reading no reviews at all, though.

Anyway, if you have thoughts on this subject, as an author or a reader or a critic, I'd be glad to hear them.