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Reviews make you a better writer

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Which are better - good or bad reviews?

Good reviews should give you encouragement - good for you if you lack confidence - but bad for you if they make you complacent or conceited

Bad reviews - as long as they are honest without being spiteful or 'nasty', and contain constructive comments - should be taken on board and bring about change in your writing.

On the whole, bad - or should I say 'critical' - reviews, are the better of the two.

One individual may leave bad feedback, but several readers may have been thinking the same without saying anything, and be turned off by an aspect of your style, content or plot.

No pain, no gain - coming to terms with reviews
Bad reviews may be painful, but you may need them

I was once quite affronted when I had criticism leveled at me and was ready to challenge the feedback and disagree.

After I had calmed down , 'grown a pair' and got over it, I realized that the person had a point, and thanked them!

Reviews can make you

- or break you; if you let them.

Those Italian Girls got (even) better after a bad review. Here's what happened.

When the first printing of my romantic murder mystery was considered (by only one person, I should add) as 'Terrible', that was bad enough. But to add that 'it was not worth reading even if its free' was the final straw.

I had to do something - but what? Sulk?

No. Instead I set about a re-write - editing out parts I thought were inhibiting reader enjoyment, expanding and improving sections where I felt were lacking, and working on areas that offered the opportunity to build characters, plot, descriptions, pace, dialogue - all the things that keep the reader glued to the page.

I even enjoyed the experience of revising, re-writing, and relaunching the novel. I enjoyed the book all over again and felt confident that my reader - perhaps even the one who gave me a bad review - would enjoy it too.

Even though I didn't agree totally with the severity of the bad review, I would be the first to admit that there were shortcomings in the first edition, and that it spurred me on the improve my writing, and that particular book.

I proved that bad reviews can make you a better writer.

Footnote: This example also highlights the benefit of self-publishing on KDP. I was able to re-publish the book IMMEDIATELY after I had completed the revision. Within hours.

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