The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Getting Bad Reviews

There is a popular opinion that one should ignore all reviews, good and bad. I am not of that opinion. If the intent of art is self expression, the intent of craft is to mould that self expression into a "language" of form and style that allows communication with others.

To that end, it is useful to know what the people on the other side are "getting." This is the reason that I listen to reviews. Good review? Look at what they liked. Do more of that, if I like it. Bad review? Change what I'm doing, if I agree. Note that I don't always do it. It's all information, and I reserve the right to make up my own mind. If you follow THIS link to Amazon you'll see six (as of this note) reviews for "Devil's Wake," the new horror novel. Three five star reviews, two four-stars, and one two-star review. I love good reviews, but pay careful attention to the bad ones as well. This one thought the characters were thin. Note that others thought the characters were wonderful. Can't please everyone!

But you can bet that when I write the next in the series, I will keep this lady's comments in mind, let the little twinge of irritation make me dive a little deeper. In other words, I will let her motivate me to being better, regardless of the objective accuracy of the review. She's a consumer! And she took her precious time to leave a comment. Best to honor that.

And you should never be afraid of reviews, or rejection slips. They are just information. Use it. It's all good, every bit of it.



Hour August show. - Saturday, August 11 2012 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight Savings time (4:00 PM Eastern)

Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)

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Spread the word, Atlanta! I'll be reading and signing DEVIL'S WAKE withTananarive Due at 7 p.m. WEDNESDAY at the Barnes & Noble at 1217 Caroline Street at Moreland Avenue. Hope to see you there! (If you've already read the book, please post a review on!) Here's a link to a brand new review:


Anonymous said...

Great post. I like your take on bad reviews. Most people either ignore them or freak out. I was just reading home direct reviews and I couldn't believe some of the things that were said. I have used them before and never have a problem. I don't know how I would handle a bad review, I hope the way you do. Thanks for sharing!

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