Lethean

Cheers to a Bad Review

Yes, you read that right. I’m actually pleased I got a bad review (note this particular review isn’t something someone posted publicly but sent to me personally after reading my first book, The Lethean).

Since we live in the real world, a bad review was bound to happen. It’s just a simple fact of life.

You can’t please everyone.

And that’s a good thing! You’re not supposed to please everyone. If you did, there’d be something radically wrong with the very fabric of reality and human nature. Human beings are unique individuals — no two alike — so we’re not all supposed to like the same things. We’re not all supposed to fall into the same categories. We’re not all supposed to agree. And that, my friends, is a beautiful truth.

This, of course, is the foundation of libertarian / anarchist ideology, to which I wholeheartedly subscribe. It not only accepts but embraces the fact that each human being is a unique creature with his own wants, needs, likes, and desires. Any other philosophy attempts to squeeze individuals into confining categories that don’t apply at all times and places, lumping people together under labels that aren’t truly accurate.

Thus, I embrace the fact that this particular reviewer did not like my book. That’s a good thing. I don’t want everyone to like it. Besides the fact that, if I did want everyone to like it, I’d only wind up sorely disappointed, I would also be guilty of denying human nature and my own individuality. I don’t want everyone to like the same things I do. I don’t want everyone to be just like me. I want to be myself, and no one else needs to be that but me.

Now, is that to say a bad review didn’t sting? Sure it did, on some level, but for that matter it also provided a good learning experience. Some of what this reviewer complained about told me that he didn’t give it quite as close a reading as I might have liked, but he also gave me some truly helpful feedback that I can put to good use. A weakness of mine was pointed out that I can now learn from and correct in my later works, and this will only help me build up my tool chest when it comes to crafting a good story. Thus, I am thankful for the reviewer’s constructive criticism.

So cheers to the (constructive) bad review! Now I’m off to continue working on the next series, and with every little bit I learn and discover, the better these stories grow in my mind. I can’t wait to get them down on paper!

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5 thoughts on “Cheers to a Bad Review”

  1. Good for you. I am at the beginning of a project for my masters that is all about the probability of rejection, with the hope of being published. It is early days, but perhaps in the future you might like to be a guest blogger?

  2. It is common for people to mistake criticism for insult. Criticism, or critiquing, is presumed to be done with knowledge of the person’s stated goal(s) in mind, and is an attempt to help him or her better attain them. It is a manner of aiding one to better one’s work toward one’s stated goal(s).

    Unfortunately, many people, when being critiqued or criticized, rather than being open-minded and honestly and rationally considering the opinion or information and how it may help them to improve in some way, instead jump to being offended, become defensive, take the criticism as insult—and the result, rather than improvement, is at best stagnation, at worst conflict. This is unfortunate, as it stifles their growth and improvement, and also, over time, vastly decreases their available pool of human resources upon which to draw.

    Though you did not provide details as to this particular “bad” review, it appears to fall well within the category of critique; your open-minded, rational approach to it allowed you to discard what you perceived inaccurate, and thus unhelpful, and embrace what you perceived accurate and therefore helpful. In reference to the critique, you state “…he also gave me some truly helpful feedback that I can put to good use. A weakness of mine was pointed out that I can now learn from and correct in my later works, and this will only help me build up my tool chest when it comes to crafting a good story. Thus, I am thankful for the reviewer’s constructive criticism.”

    That, in my opinion, in truth makes it a *good* review. 🙂

    There is the “good” review pertaining to whether or not the reader liked it, and how he or she thus rates it publicly—and then there is the “good” review pertaining to whether or not the reader provides input that genuinely helps you to attain your long-term goal(s).

    Now, famed in this way, I would opine that your book has, in fact, received nothing but good reviews! You should be extremely proud of yourself!

    I am highly impressed with your mature, rational approach to this entire experience. It’s no wonder you’re a fellow libertarian. 🙂

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