Thursday, June 24, 2010

"What? They didn't like it?" How to Handle Tough Critics.

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith.

I can't think of a more appropriate quote to describe the ups and downs of this profession than that! As a newcomer I can't very well give the advice a seasoned veteran can but as I embark on this journey, I can say I'm learning more how to navigate through waters that (to me) feel uncharted. Taking criticism is something every person has to learn how to handle in every walk of life, but as a writer, you open yourself to the world in a way that sets all of your vulnerabilities on display. Opening a vein indeed.

Receiving critiques from reviewers who do it for a living are tough enough--but most professional reviewers, even when not giving you the glowing recommendation you hope for, have the grace to be fair. Customer reviews can give you a different vibe altogether, attacks and no-holds-barred insults that will give your confidence a serious run for its money if you're in the wrong mood. If, like me, you haven't been in the business long, this can give you quite the shock. When I received some harsh critiques from customers I cried, I carried on, all while some loyal family members and friends took charge by gallantly jumping to my defense. But then I realized that even the harshest reviewer has something to teach and any negative buzz out there are all things that can be applied to the next project. Answering these charges with negativity or defending your stance only breeds an endless cycle of negativity. Let the work speak for itself. Flaws may not be able to be fixed at that point in the game, but they can be learned from. And everyone is entitled to their opinion. When your soul is laid bare in such a public forum, you naturally wish their opinion would be favorable but when it's not, it has to be accepted with grace and dignity. Before I ever sought to get published I wrote for myself and, while no work is perfect and can always be improved, I like what I do and am proud of myself. Meantime, I rely on the support of my family, friends, fellow writers and positive literary bloggers and fans who have never failed to give me the encouragement and pep talks I need to get through! There's a time in life when no matter what anyone thinks, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I'm okay." And I am!


  1. I discovered your book today will meandering through Barnes and Noble and immediately felt a kinship with you! I too am a major history buff--in fact have become embarrassingly addicted to The Tudors on Showtime--as well as an aspiring novelist. I have written four books of my own, two of which are historical, and was wondering if you had any advise on writing historically as well as getting published. My e-mail is I hope to hear from you and look forward to delving into Secrets of the Tudor Court--I read the first few chapters all at once while standing at the shelf :)

  2. I'm sorry I didn't respond to this sooner! I am horrible at maintaining this blog and give tons of credit to those blogger friends who do it every day! I will send you an email shortly :D Thank you for your support on my book and I wish you luck with all of your projects!! I truly hope you enjoy my work.

  3. Hi! I loved your novel and have reviewed it here ( I can't wait for your next novel!
    ~Elizabeth: The Tudor Book Blog

  4. Thank you so much for you lovely review! It was so detailed and I love you how invested so much time into every main character in the story. It was a joy to read and made my day. I must add, there was a different title to this book--it was originally called The Norfolk Circlet, however got overturned in favor of the current title. Always a bit of a bumpy journey for a debut author, but one that I wouldn't trade for the world! Thank you for the promotion and positive feedback once again. I will happily send you an advance copy of my next work, due out in May, 2011, entitled RIVALS IN THE TUDOR COURT. Cheers!