Negative comments are inevitable and are always aimed at a writer with the worst of intentions. What however matters is if you are able to tackle them like a pro. A pro does shies away from messing up.
Take Author Chris McGrath’s case for instance.
According to a 2012 pocketfulofbooks.com
article, the author had used a review section of a totally different book to try and boost the sales of his own book, 'The Attempted Murder of God.' Then another user-Vaughan Jones-saw this and decided to do something.
“First, Vaughan wrote a short, uncomplimentary review of McGrath’s book on Amazon. Next, he 'ran a few background checks' on McGrath’s alias ‘Scrooby’, suspecting that he may have linked back to a UK-based creationist/fundamentalist organisation. What he found instead appeared, as he saw it’ to be little more than a vanity publishing operation, outing ‘Scrooby’ as McGrath in the process.” The article says.
The case then later dragged on into the court. Here and here are the sources. This is definitely what every other author does not wish for. Instead of battling court cases for months or even years, they could be churning out new interesting volumes and later smiling all the way to the bank TRUTH: It is quite difficult to completely do away with negative comments. In fact, it is very hard to assume the urge to respond to a negative comment. It is only a pro who can successfully maneuver around negative fans (or other authors’ fan to spoil your party) and then proceed to post impressive sales.
In case you open your inbox and stumble upon a besmirching subject line; here is what you should do to avoid a repeat of a case like the above.
1. Write your response on paper and keep it
Instead of furiously typing away at the response box below the comment, pull your drawer, get a paper and start writing down all your anger. When you are done, read through to cross the t’s and dot the I’s before probably burning it or placing it at the bottom of your lower draw. Then proceed to the bedroom and cry yourself to sleep.
This will help you get your anger out as well as learn from your mistake so that the next time you set out to write a book or revise the current, you will have the finer details and prevent hard hitting comments. Besides, you will still have the ultimate relationship with your audience and they won’t always come after your work with the worst intentions.
Ever heard “silence is the best teacher”? It is now time to put it to play.
2. Identify a writer group and show it to them
You will definitely be howling for somewhere to express your dissatisfaction after receiving the comment and trust us, your audience is not the best audience for this.
Instead, identify with a group of writers, organize a coffee meeting and then spill all your cries to them. Besides understanding your situation as they have already gone through it, they will offer insightful comments to help you sharpen your next work.
If that’s not uplifting, then I don’t know what is.
3. Immediately pick your best magazine or visit your best site
This sounds odd but is quite helpful. You might not be able to work properly after receiving a negative comment and instead of hunting the sender who at least created time to look at your work; you have a better shot at calming yourself down.
You can do this by picking your best fashion magazine or visiting your favorite online site (it better not be a social one) then return to work after you’ve already calmed down.
4. Read your good reviews immediately
Instead of firing back one negative review, you have the option of rereading several positive others you have received before. This will get your mood up and running again for the day. Why enslave on one negative review when you can smile at five positive others.
Your writing life is too sweet to be worried over a couple haters.
5. Respond with a pinch of Satire
We are not completely ruling out the response aspect however, in case you have to write back, just make it a laughing matter with no hard emotions attached.
If you do this on a public platform, several other potential audiences will right away spot the maturity in you and you will still have good audience left. Your satirical comment may also spun a conversation through which you will talk about the origin of his feedback and offer your intentions for the book. It might just be another case of a misunderstood plot.