How to receive a review (both positive and negative)

A book can get both positive and negative criticism from a reviewer. This post is about how to handle such criticisms. Now, if you search in internet, there will be plenty of posts regarding handling a negative criticism, but no one tells you about the positive one. We shall try to discuss that too in this post.


Before reading any review, remember the following:

1. The reviewer has invested 6-10 hrs of his time on your work. He has the right to voice his say.
2. If he thinks his time is wasted by reading your work, he can say bad things about your work.
3. If you get offended by that (and yes, you have also the right to get offended), you should be okay with it. Tastes vary.
4. If a reviewer tells that “this part of this novel is crap, and should have been written in this or that way”, it doesn’t establish that the reviewer himself can write the way he has expected to read.

Read the last sentence again.

Now, let us divide our discussion in 2 parts.

  1. Handling Positive Criticism: If you get positive views from someone about your work, then pat yourself, you deserve it. You should use this praise to boost your confidence and work harder to bring better work. 36657610-Cartoon-of-businessman-dog-receiving-excellent-performance-review-he-is-a-good-dog--Stock-PhotoBut I have seen in many cases, the recipient gets so inflated that he refuses to work hard anymore. Remember, every work will require equal and preferably more effort than you have put in your previous work. So boost your confidence with positive criticism but don’t become overconfident. If you become overconfident, points in italic in following will happen.
  2.  Handling Negative Criticism: If someone bashes your book showing valid reasons, analyze if those reasons are at all valid for you. In many cases, the reviewer may not get your intentions or visions. In those cases, as you are the creator and know more about what you are doing, you may (not must) ignore those points. But this is the way we've always done it.- Barron's Cartoon - by Kaamran Hafeez.

    Source – Barron’s Cartoon – by Kaamran Hafeez.

    On the other hand, if a good reviewer gives negative review and justifies his points with enough reasons and examples, preserve the review and apply the lessons learned from it. Due to overconfidence, if you respond with hostility to the review and ignore everything he has said, two things will happen: people will get a pretty good idea about your nature and you lose the chance to learn from your mistakes which you will iterate in your next works.

So, that’s it about receiving a review. This is the last post about reviewing and receiving them. Coming up: few short-stories, few discussions on books, some amazing workshops/articles/interviews by various well-known authors and a serialized post about something (I’ll reveal later). 🙂


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