For some authors, negative feedback is their worst nightmare, such as getting a bad review on Amazon or getting dissed by popular book reviewers. However, people are entitled to give their opinions about what you write. Although, their opinions should never change the way you see yourself as a person. Receiving negative feedback comes with the territory of being an author. An old proverb says, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.” So, you can’t stop people from making critical comments. However, if you have a hard time letting go of criticism, try using the following four scripts to fight negative feedback and reset your mind on the proper attitude:
1. “This person’s negative comment does not define me.”
Just because someone may not like your book doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. If you allow yourself to be defined by your books, then you will automatically put yourself on an emotional roller-coaster that is damaging and unnecessary. Keep your self-esteem rooted in the truth that never changes – the love of your family and friends. If you’re a person of faith, remember that God says His love is unconditional. You have control over whom you let influence your mindset. Reserve the deepest part of your identity for only those who matter.
2. “I will only consider feedback from worthy sources.”
Another great proverb says, “Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool, or you’ll look foolish yourself.” In other words, you are never indebted to give other people your emotional or mental energy, especially when they don’t deserve it or understand your full situation. Neither are you obligated to respond to anyone or defend your position. Choose to either ignore negative feedback, or firmly tell a repetitive critic to back off. Your peace and joy is too precious to be robbed by a frustrated idiot with a foolish agenda.
Only pay attention to feedback from people whom you trust and those professionals who’ve walked the path ahead of you. Most unsolicited feedback comes from people who’ve never actually written a book, studied your topic, or produced real results in their own life. They’re just empty commentators who are jealous that you’re in the actual game. Relish the excitement of creating a book that will last for generations. Few people are bold enough to ever take that risk.
3. “I cannot control other people. They’re entitled to their own opinion.”
Obsessing over negative reviews is unhealthy. People have a free will, and they’re entitled to express their opinion. Therefore, you can’t control what people will say, and fretting over someone criticizing your book will only give you an ulcer. If you can’t let go of unsubstantiated negative feedback, then seek the help of a professional counselor or stop writing books. Otherwise, you will allow yourself to be controlled like a puppet by people who don’t care about you.
4. “I did my best on this book, and I’m not bound to make any guarantees to the reader.”
Your readers may or may not like your book, and they can give their feedback based on ego, politics, emotion, or even whim. Therefore, you would be wise to adopt the following mindset as an author: “I write the best books that I can. There is no requirement that I have to be perfect. Thus, I will not let my ego get involved in whether or not a reader likes my book or gives me a favorable review. I will do my best, and then move on to the next task at hand.” Remember that your goal is success, not perfection.
Two Truths about Feedback:
1. Disregard all feedback during the heat of the moment.
As humans, we can sense when another person feels vulnerable. Therefore, people tend to avoid saying what they really think to an author just after reading their book or hearing them speak in public. Instead, people will usually say something nice just to placate the situation and avoid an awkward moment. Thus, don’t pay attention to immediate feedback. Listen to what people say after time has passed, when they’re more inclined to share an honest comment.
2. Only pay attention to consistent patterns of feedback.
Disregard random comments from an individual. Instead, look for patterns and a majority view in the feedback that you receive. Once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three times marks a pattern. Make changes based on patterns of feedback, not arbitrary remarks by a stranger. Otherwise, you’ll be jerked around by any haphazard comment.
As an author, you will never be able to control the public’s feedback about your books. But, you can control whether or not it affects you. Keep the preceding scripts in mind, and keep feedback in the right perspective.