Recently, I watched an interesting BBC interview with Dan Brown about the negative reviews his novels receive in the United Kingdom. As a major bestseller who’s sold over 190 million copies, Dan is still human and feels the sting of literary critics who deride his work. However, he has a great mindset for handling bad press, and his approach is something that every author can learn from and use. I encourage you to watch this informative video (scroll to the screen half way down the page):
Some of my favorite remarks by Dan include his response to the question, “Does criticism hurt?” He replies:
“I wish everybody loved what I do. Of course it’s hurtful. I’ve learned that universal acceptance and appreciation is just an unrealistic goal.”
“If a reviewer is beating me up, I just say, ‘Oh well, my writing is not to his or her taste.’ And that’s as far as it goes. Because I will simultaneously read a review where somebody says, ‘Oh my God, I had so much fun reading this book and I learned so much.'”
“I learned early on not to listen to either critique – the people who love you or the people who don’t like you. If you believe the people who love you, you get lazy. And if you believe the people who hate you, you become… maybe intimidated, or whatever the word might be, and you don’t write as well.”
“The best thing to do is just put on the blinders, write the book that you would want to read and hope that other people share your taste. It’s really that simple.”
No matter what level you may be as a writer, Dan’s comments are good food for thought. How well do you handle hurtful and negative reviews?