Maybe you haven’t heard the story, but there’s a lot to learn. Earlier this week, a blogger posted a review of an author’s self-published ebook. The review was positive, for the most part, but included a few nicely worded criticisms.
The story really started when the book’s author began posting comments, asking the blogger to remove the review, and later calling him a liar, among other things. It didn’t take long for the blog to go viral on Twitter, and soon hundreds of blog readers took the author to task for her behavior.
Sadly, the author’s name will be connected to poor behavior for a long time.
While I decided not to post a link to the melee, I thought the educational value was something useful to the writing community in general. In the coming years, many more of us will choose the self-publishing route over traditional publishing (which many now call “legacy” publishing). How new authors handle the inevitable criticism and bad reviews will raise them head and shoulders above the sea of others.
Here’s a couple things I’ve learned from the issue:
1. Begin now to grow a thick skin. No one will ever write a perfect book that everyone likes. Including me. So now is the time to get accustomed to hearing what’s not working in my manuscript, even if I don’t agree. That’s why I’ve joined critique groups, why I enter contests, and why I let others read my writing.
2. Determine to act like a professional. I need to ensure that my online communication, and the way I deal with people is respectful, polite, and shows I’m conscious of the fact that others have valid opinions. I hope to never respond in anger, or verbally abuse an individual just because I disagree.
3. Realize the value of a reader. My future readers will include critique partners, beta readers, agents, editors, reviewers, and the buying public. Most of them will not get paid to read my book—in fact, some will be spending their own money, plus their own time. That is something not to be taken lightly.
There’s lots more to learn about developing a writer’s rhino skin. What would you add to the list?