If you’re a writer, you await your first review with joy and anticipation. When it arrives, you go into shock. It’s nasty, vicious, or deliberately mean. You wonder, whasst’s up! Your baby may not be Stephen King or George Martin or Jane Austin but it definitely doesn’t deserve being ripped apart in such a malicious manner.
Admittedly, some harsh reviews can actually be helpful if they possess just one shred of merit. Despite how much it might hurt, if you’re honest with yourself, you know when it hits home.
On the other hand, a ‘Slasher’s review isn’t helpful. They take pleasure in trashing your work and are almost always cruel to the bone. The effect their comments have on a writer too often is depression. You’ve been slashed if you find yourself sitting in the dark with one light, reading voraciously with a bag of chips and a package of Rollos by your side…and the computer turned off.
Not to worry, everyone gets them. The best part is you’re in good company. Famous people get crushing reviews too and we thought we’d include a few so you’d feel better.
- The Catcher in the Rye, “So many other good books—don’t waste your time on this one. J.D. Salinger went into hiding because he was embarrassed.”
- The Lord of the Rings,. ”The book is not readable because of the overuse of adverbs”
- To Kill a Mockingbird, “I don’t see why this book is so fabulous. I would give it a zero. I find no point in writing a book about segregation, there’s no way of making it into an enjoyable book.” This one actually made us chuckle “I have…come across some truly awful books. And yet not a single one of them has managed to cause me quite as much gastrointestinal distress as has (this one) Amazon.com
Reviewers differ in their likes and dislikes as much as the next person but the ‘Slasher’ seems to take particular pride in expressing themselves in the most colorful and devastating manner. Individual grudges aside, this kind of reviewer might be someone whose tastes are very specific. Their vision of what a ‘romance, mystery, scifi MUST be isn’t what you wrote and their disappointment makes them mad.
Take heart, fellow writers, actors deal with nasty reviews all the time. Kathryn Hepburn was told to go home and forget about acting. She didn’t. Don’t let the slasher drain you even temporarily of the joy of creating.
The Sisters Dent