My Skin is Thick

Disappointingly predictable and uninteresting plot, completely unbelievable or cliched scenarios….. this book is full of them.

Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?

A: Negative reviews are something no writer wants to deal with and every writer has to deal with. I believe this is one of the main reasons so many people want to be a writer but so few actually become writers. Only the brave will put their work out there for others to read and comment on. And sooner or later someone will read your book, find it worse than a malodorous pile of horse manure, and feel the need to go on and tell the world about it.

Here’s the long and short of it: writers must have thick skin. If not, their days as a writer will be few.

But I haven’t answered the question yet. How do I deal with negative reviews?

The first thing I do with a negative review (and I’ve gotten a few) is categorize it. As I see it, there are three types and they go something like this:

Category 1: “This book was okay—bleh—but just not for me.”

Category 2: “This author shows a lot of potential but the characters were shallow and made of cardboard, the plot had holes in it, and the climax was just unbelievable.”

Category 3: “This book was just awful. I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than read anything by this hack again. If he knew what was good for him and the paying public he’d take a sledge hammer to his computer, break all his fingers, and go live in the middle of the Sahara.”

Okay, reviews in categories 1 and 2 don’t bother me. In fact, I can learn from them. The reviewer is being honest and critical without taking any cheap shots or looking to inflict psychological harm. Category 3 reviews (and believe me, they’re out there) deserve nothing more than to be ignored. Those are the ones that bounce off an author’s thick skin. The reviewer is obviously hacked off that he put down $14 for a book he didn’t enjoy and now wants to take it out on the author. And all he does is wind up sounding like some blowhard with a chip on his shoulder. Poo-poo on him.

The bottom line is that I’m going to write the story that is in my head and on my heart and not worry about what reviewers say. Like in life, you’ll never satisfy all the people all the time. You do your best and get a good night’s sleep.

And let people say what they’ll say.


About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on January 10, 2010, in Book Reviews, Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I am reading Scream and it is awesome.If a person gives a bad review for this book he is a real knucklehead.I find it hard to put down my nook.Thanks for your sacrifices to write this great book.
    Blair Stone


  2. I like your standpoint on reviews, Mike. Hey, the new blog design looks great!

    Happy New Year!!


  3. Blair, thanks for your sacrifice to read my work! I’m still humbled that someone would take time from their busy schedule to read something I wrote. I’m gad you’re enjoying Scream.

    And Carla, thanks for the “positive review” of the new site. It’s so much easier to manage.


  4. Keep your head up and dont let people get you down.My dad is a county commissioner and he says “You can please some of the people some of the time,but you cant please all the people all of the time”.You keep writing it is clear that GOD has given you a gift for writing books.My 15 year old”s name is Mark Stone and I told him about his name being a character in Scream and he thought that was cool.He is not saved and I’m gonna get him to read Scream and trust GOD that he will come to know JESUS as LORD and saviour.Please pray for him he is a good kid.

    Take care,Blair


  5. I like your attitude on negative reviews – I’m sure it isn’t easy to get them, but we all need to be thicker skinned, author or not.
    Now where are these negative reviewers – let me see how thick THEIR skin is…..


  6. Thanks for the comments, Blair and Mark. I hope my tone in this post is not one of complaining. I really don’t let negative reviews get to me nor am I complaining about any I’ve gotten. It’s life as a writer. And I will always write the story God gives me. And Mark, you’re absolutely right, we all could do with thicker skin.


  7. Mike, distinguishing between Negative Reviews 1 and 2, as opposed to Negative Review 3, is very important. I believe many writers see all negative reviews as Category 3’s — worth only ignoring. This is very detrimental to our growth as writers. So I think your point about learning from negative reviews is important. Which is why so many see all negative reviews as Category 3’s — it prevents us from having to learn and grow as writers. Appreciate your thoughts!


    • Yeah, seeing all negative reviews as ignorable is detrimental to a writer’s growth. The fact is, all writing can be improved upon, I don’t care who you are. And much of the time that one thing that can inspire growth is found in a negative review. Thanks for the comment, Mike.


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