Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Anyone involved in creating anything has to live with criticism. It's a tough one to swallow but it's true. For every eager fan there will be an unimpressed critic only too willing to demolish your ego with the wrecking ball of their scathing remarks.

I've recently read a few best sellers and as always took a look at the reviews on Amazon to see what everyone else thinks about them. It never fails to amaze me how two people can view the same book so differently. What makes one ooze praise gets the other's goat. I often come away wondering whether they read the same book at all.

I've never felt annoyed enough by a book to post a bad review. That's not to say I haven't been disappointed by plenty and given up before reaching the end. I have given fullsome praise at the other end of the spectrum. Not sure why it's easier to say nice things; perhaps it's to do with not wanting to seem like a bitter old crone. Some negative reviews do seem fuelled by a vehemence borne of more than disappointment. I sometimes wonder how many bad reviews are the product of professional jealousy rather than critical insights.

One thing in favour of peer review sites is the process of being reviewed teaches you to be philosophical about the subjectivity of other people's opinions. You need to be more objective about criticism and not completely destroyed by it. Because criticism is the name of the game if it's your aim to be published. Agents and editors will want changes, inevitably. If you think your world has come to an end any time someone doesn't fall in love with your precious manuscript you're in for a rough ride.

Let's face it. No one likes criticism. But if you're wise you'll take from it what you can. It might be an opportunity to improve, disguised as a slap on the face. Resist the urge to throw a tantrum, mull it over and then decide whether you agree or not. Not all critics are right.

Here's a humourous take on it.

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