Polite Criticism

We’ve all experienced criticism of our work. That is part and parcel of being an author. Not everyone is going to like your book. Face it, you can’t please every person in the world.

Most of the time, this criticism is done in a manner that will appear to be a deliberate attempt to hurt us. As an author, we are in love with our work. Many hours of sweat, frustration, and occasionally tears have gone into our books. Therefore, we take any criticism of our book at all. It doesn’t matter how the words are phrased, we are going to be upset.

Before you shoot off a nasty comment that this individual doesn’t know anything at all about what it takes to be an author, stop and think for a few minutes. Walk away from the review. Ask yourself exactly what did the person say.

If their review started off with “I don’t normally read this genre,” they are telling you they read a genre they don’t appear to like. You attracted them to your work somehow and they took a chance on it. That they found they still didn’t like the genre but finished your book should tell you something. You held their attention beyond their dislike for the genre.

What if they say “there were places where I felt lost.” You, the author, need to think about that. Maybe you should contact this individual and ask them why they felt lost. Perhaps you missed a plot hole. Maybe your narrative is a bit too long. Or they may have felt lost because they didn’t connect with the characters.

Also, you need to think about how their criticism was phrased. Did they make ugly comments or were they trying to explain why they didn’t like your book using polite phrases. There’s a lot of difference there. If a reviewer was being polite in their criticism, they may have liked parts of your book but not others. They may never read another one of your books but they have alerted you to areas that were overlooked during editing.

The answer lies in discerning a polite criticism of your book versus a “This book stinks.” “The author needs to quit.” Or, you might see the very popular, “What a waste of electronic bytes.” Those people are to be ignored because they’re getting a rise out of you by using hackneyed phrases to rile you up. The person who takes the time to explain why they didn’t like your book, and uses thoughtful phrases, is an individual who was trying to put down what they thought without hurting you.

About the K.C. Sprayberry

Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.

Find out more about my books at these social media sites:


James Osborne said…
There is value in criticism, constructive or otherwise. First, a critic may identify flaws in your work and thus ways to improve it; they are doing you a service. Second, criticism will legitimize the praise your work receives.
Martin Kloess said…
Chevron taught us criticism was a gift; an opportunity for improvement.

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