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On Coping With Bad Reviews by Peadar Ó Guilín

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Peadar O'Guilin - Copyright Mark Condren

Peadar Ó Guilín

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Every minute of every day, some author is out there writing a post on how to deal with negative reviews. The coordination is hell. What if it’s your turn to write the article, but you’re ill that day? Well, hold that thought for another time, because my own name has just come up on the rota and I need to get a move on. Already a thousand other writers crowd at my shoulder, desperate for their chance.

But today it’s me. Allow me to soothe your shattered nerves; let me be the ointment you slather over those quick-bitten nails.

My strategy for coping with a reader’s vitriol is a simple one. I sob – but for no longer than a day. After all, there’ll be more reviews tomorrow, each one greedy for your tears. So, stay hydrated. And smash things if you need to, because it’s only money and authors have way too much of that. Rip down the curtains! Fling your TV through the window and empty a cup of hot, sugary coffee onto your keyboard. It genuinely helps. Although not as much as responding to bad reviews.

Those words have hurt you, so why not hurt them back? You’re a writer, for Heaven’s sake. You were born with a concentrated ball of vitriol in place of a heart. Take aim, I say. Take aim and fire!

But if you’re one of those fools who prefers healing to the deepening of wounds, there is another way…

What I really do, is this.

I think about the best book I read recently. The one I consider a work of genius. The one that filled my soul with joy or had me falling off the sofa with laughter. Then, I go to Goodreads and read all the negative comments. It’s shocking how something so perfectly crafted to suit my tastes can so infuriate another person they will award it one star out of five.

Then, I read the five star reviews of the book I disliked the most during the year.

And here’s the big lesson: taste varies. It’s not as if you didn’t know that already, is it? Yet again and again, when it comes to your own work, you refuse to believe it. So, take my advice and read the reviews of other peoples’ work instead.

You never know, you might save yourself the cost of replacing some furniture.

(c) Peadar Ó Guilín

Author photograph (c) Mark Condren

About The Call:

Nessa and her friends attend Boyle College to train for the most dangerous time of their lives – THE CALL. Without warning, each one of them will wake in a terrifying land, alone and hunted, with a one-in-ten chance of returning alive. No one believes Nessa can make it, but she’s determined to prove them all wrong. And she will need every ounce of spirit and courage in order to survive …

‘Perfect for Game of Thrones fans.’ Buzzfeed

‘Dark and brutal, its power is undeniable.’ Frank Cottrell-Boyce

‘Fresh, fun and very, very nasty.’ Juno Dawson

‘Wildly imaginative and will appeal to Hunger Games fans.’ Daily Mail

Order your copy online here.


About the author

Paedar Ó Guilín is a powerful and original new voice in fiction but has been writing curious stories for as long as he can remember. He attended the same boarding school as James Joyce in Co. Kildare and since then, he has written plays, published short stories, and performed as a stand-up comedian. Language, landscape and the history of ancient Ireland are important themes for Peadar and after brief forays living in Milan and Venice he returned to his native Ireland and now lives just outside Dublin.

  • The Dark Room by Sam Blake
  • www.designforwriters.com

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