Louise Couper
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Reviews – and how to deal with them
Part I
I once organised a creative writing weekend and asked the – alas with us no more – famous writer and journalist, Maeve Binchy if she would come and tell aspiring writers how to become a bestselling author.  She very generously agreed and she gave us a wonderful, entertaining workshop.
What Maeve told us about reviews was memorable: she said she threw bad reviews on the floor and stamped all over them.  Maeve was about six feet tall and had a shoe size to match. As she put it: if her writing was so simple that ‘anyone could do it’ (as they had said), well, then, ‘Why didn’t they?’
Some writers don’t read any reviews, good, bad or indifferent.  Or, they get someone else to read them and ask to be given only the ‘good’ ones.  Probably best if you can get to that place Kipling mentioned and treat these two ‘imposters’ – i.e. good and bad - just the same.
If you do decide to read any and all reviews, be mindful of a couple of things:
  • When you put your head above the parapet, it is a guarantee that you will get a muddy face. Mud washes off, so don’t let it discourage you.  As sure as night follows day, it will happen again.
  • Ask yourself: is the review a fair and accurate reflection of my novel?  Is there something I can learn from it?  If you don’t think either is true, then the review is meaningless.
To be continued …