1. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Dealing with critique after a book is published

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Rosacrvx, Aug 8, 2020.

    We’ve frequently discussed here how to deal with bad feedback from beta readers. But now that my first novel is published I feel this is a completely different ball game. Unlike with draft feedback, after the book is published there’s nothing you can do to improve it.
    So how should you deal with criticism? I’ve read that some authors don’t even read the critique because they can’t handle it. I’m going to be dealing with that soon and I don’t feel prepared. On the other hand, I want to read everything that’s being said about my work, good or bad.
    Any advice on how to mentally prepare/deal with criticism? What about how to deal with really bad reviews?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Richach

    Richach Contributor Contributor

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    Once your work is published and it becomes monetised, it is a business. Getting emotionally involved in any business is unsustainable. Let the readers see the professional you, but keep the real you for friends and family. Never mix the two.
     
  3. Room with a view

    Room with a view Member

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    It's natural to feel hesitant or defensive about anything we produce. No matter how detached we may feel or think we are from our creation there will always be a bit of us in it so, when we see it being criticised or attacked we can feel set upon. It's like anything in life, some people won't like your hair or lack thereof or even your eye colour. You can't help this but it is part of you. This is something artist have to deal with no matter the medium.

    My advice to you would be to make peace with the idea of sacrificing a bit of yourself to the hordes. You will most likely never know why someone takes a disliking to your book or even their motivation for doing so. So long as you've created it with sincerity and integrity then you have nothing more to do than move on to your next creation.

    They are at the end of the day opinions. Some good, some bad. An opinion nonetheless.

    Never engage them though.

    Let them be.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
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  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As coldly draconian as this sentiment may feel to the OP or to other readers, I agree 100%.

    To the OP: Your novel, which you have likely held to your bosom as one does a child born of one's own flesh, will never be seen as a child to the masses. To them, it's just a book, and in the end, they are the ones whose take on the matter actually corresponds with empirical observation.

    It's one of the reasons I think that too much time spent in venues like this one - forums and boards for writers - can lead people down a strange path. The gestalt mindset in places like this is poorly representative of the mode in which the public will engage your work.

    Here, we fertilize and water certain weeds that are dispassionately ripped from the soil in other climes. We cast dead spells to the tune of "If you know what you're doing... If you can get away with it... If you write it well enough..." and then nothing happens because these words are vacuous and meaningless, devoid of any and all direction.

    Here
    , we give into and deploy at one another strange kinds of virtue signalling and moralistic judgements about skimming, skipping certain types of included material, eschewing one POV structure and favoring another.

    Here, because we are all writers, we each (myself included) have a massively distorting lens through which we engage called How I Would Written It™.​

    We are the ultimate sampling error. Writers talking to writers about writing that will eventually land in the hands of non-writers for their withering consideration. And it will be withering, even when they don't mean it to be, because 99.99% of them haven't the foggiest about what it took to give birth to that book, and even that sentiment is one that will only get you dismissive laughter from them.

    So, yes, I agree fully with @Richach. It is not your baby. Find a way to cut that cord. Now it's a product and the feedback you get - if you choose to engage it - will need some translation to make workable and any business in the business of making a product will take even the harshest, most scathing critique and find the core logic beneath the ugly words and address that core logic, not the ugly words. My advice is that you should do the same.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If its self published you can easily update the internal file to change factual or typographical inaccuracies... i'd imagine in a trad deal the publisher can equally do so at least for ebooks (whether they will is a different matter)... subjective opinion is best ignored
     
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  6. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Member

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    Pretend that you're a scientist. The thing you are studying is the reaction of the general population towards a given product. Thus, your job as a scientist to assess the information objectively and produce useful information therefrom. And sometimes that useful information is "some people have really garbage taste." Sometimes, on the other hand, it's "the author didn't convey the desired ideas."

    Try to recognize when someone dislikes your work for subjective reasons, that is to say because it doesn't click with their desires. I despise at least 90% of all genre romance, so no romance writer should bother being offended by my opinion as a reader. They didn't really have much of a chance of impressing me, so my feelings are not worth caring about if they like what they do.
     
  7. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Sell some stuff on Ebay. Learn that some people can be nuts and will never be pleased no matter how well you word your ad. Sellers must have thick skins because buyers can be cheap, stingy, mouthy and always looking for a freebie.
    All in all you won't please everyone and that's fine. In fact I think it's a terrible writer that takes all criticism to heart and vows to 'do better' as though their novel was some group effort or mural. It's not, it's yours and some readers will love it and some won't. Just think of all the books you've loved and hated. Do you need justification? Nope, because it's an opinion part of your tastes and preferences.
     
  8. NK_UT

    NK_UT Active Member

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    Some people are cynical and will demean your work no matter what. Some people will critique your work harshly, meaning well but not knowing that they are being too harsh (I can be guilty of this one).

    Take criticism with a grain of salt, but be willing to find the useful bits in it.
    Kind of like if your dog accidentally swallows your wedding ring and you gotta wait a few days to get it back.
     
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  9. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    I avoid reading reviews on my published work. It's not worth it to let it get into my head.
     
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  10. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Than sounds like a valid psychological strategy, an insolating wall around the hurt potential, the but we all know a book is not just "business" to the author.
     
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  11. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I can do that. Thank you.
     
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  12. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I'll keep this in mind, thank you.
     
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  13. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I get it! :supergrin:
     
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  14. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Aha! You're one of those I've mentioned on my OP. But don't you get even the least curious?
     
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  15. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    Not in the least.
     
  16. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    I remember this one conceited author who argued with his readers on his Goodreads because they gave him criticism (And very justly so) and then he got banned XD
    so don't do that
     
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  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I will read some of it. I have a fairly thick skin and it doesn't bother me, generally, if people are critical of my work.

    As @big soft moose noted, above, if you're dealing with a self-published work you can certainly edit it and make changes after publications. Authors do that.
     
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  18. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    My stance is that reviews are for other readers, they are not for authors. I have read mine but it's really more out of curiosity - I don't take anything personally, and after 4-6 trusted beta readers and a professional editor's input, there isn't much a random reader in the internet could write that would change anything for me going forward.

    Sometimes you are going to write things that just aren't people's jam. I've had readers 1-star my book because the sex scenes are too graphic for them, followed by a 5-star reviewer who loved that it had a high heat level. With my first book, some readers thought there was too much emphasis on the non-romance story, and there were others who loved that aspect. Other than making sure that your book is as polished and as professionally presented as it can be, it's a toss-up as to whether it will resonate with any individual reader.

    I 100% agree with @A.M.P. - do not, under any circumstances, engage with your readers on negative reviews. EVER. There has been a rash of these in the Romance world the last couple of years. It's so unprofessional and embarrassing, and you can easily get added to many readers's "Never Read" list that way.
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    remember that guy who hunted a reviewer down and hit her with a bottle ?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-34775814

    and the predictable result
    https://socialnewsdaily.com/59170/amazon-reviewers-troll-author-who-assaulted-british-teen/

    over five year later his book still has a 1.5 star average...
     
  20. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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  21. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    Hmm... wonder if that would work for table complaints.

    Guy: "Excuse me, sir, but these scallops have no flavor."

    Homer: (smash)
     
  22. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber <[:>)-|---< Contributor

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    It reminds me of a German rom-com where the guy complains that the partridges are undercooked or something and the chef gets pissed and yanks the cloth off the table.
     
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  23. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    First restaurant job was in a gourmet Chinese joint. The chef/owner, Mr Ma's, favorite saying to guests was, "You no like food, you get the fuck out!" His second favorite saying, directed toward me was, "You clean up, you come see me, we have beer!"

    I was 17. I miss you, 1995!
     
  24. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    Did he get a lot of repeat business with that attitude? I'm guessing his regular customers made up for the occasional visitor who did not return?
     
  25. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber <[:>)-|---< Contributor

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    That's hilarious.
     
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