Dealing with Bad Reviews

Most people at one time will get bad reviews. Some of them are just valid feedback yet others can be personal scathing attacks. When you first start submitting work online, each individual review seems to be of massive importance.

You hold your breath as you open the comment, silently praying it is positive. But as you get more and more reviews you eventually realise that while most people are pleasant and encouraging, some people are just out for an argument.

There are basically three types of bad reviews:

1. Just my opinion – `Naaah – Not for me/Didn’t like it/Don’t Get it’

These are the people who are honest (sometimes brutally) but don’t really mean to do anything other than express their opinion. Everyone has different tastes and like different styles and different genres. Often this sort of review just means that it wasn’t for them or they didn’t understand it.

2.Critical Assassin – `I’m gonna criticize not only your writing but you personally even though I have no idea who you are.’

Fighting Cats

Image via Wikipedia

The above two are the hardest to deal with, especially the second one.

The critical assassin usually just wants to belittle, knock down confidence and just brutally destroy your work.

Do not engage in warfare or conversation with this type of reviewer. Send them a simple – thank you for their opinion (even through gritted teeth)

They may not always realize how aggressive they come across. But if they do, arguing with them will only infuriate you.

Send simple reply, ignore comment, move on. If it continues… block them or report them to the site owner.

Then leave it alone. Listen to CEE LO GREENForget you and put it behind you. If you struggle then read back all your positive reviews and build your confidence back up. Remind yourself how many people say they loved it and gave positive feedback.

3. Helpful Reviews `This worked, but this didn’t. I’d suggest you could maybe…’

(The best kind of review)

These are the reviews that you can pick something up from for improvement. Remember when reviewing, what the writer wants are ideas for improvement and concrete advice in a polite way!

No writer can learn if they are so discouraged after you attack them that they give up. has a great review policy of being `Respectful, honest but encouraging.’

If you are a new writer, head over there, get the free account and you’ll find the majority of reviewers there adhere to the policy.

Something that really helps during re-writing is to use a blank word document and collect all the useful suggestions together for each piece. I do this once every so often as a big collection of all the comments, then go through the pieces reviewed and consider each comment.
The editing decision is still mine. Sometimes I’ll change things, sometimes I won’t. I weigh up each one first before making any dramatic changes. But some suggestions can make a world of difference and should be considered before using or discarding.

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