A Novel Pro-Tip

Pro-Tip for authors: If you receive a negative a review on your novel, story, DO NOT ENGAGE!

Maybe the reviewer misread the piece.

Maybe the reviewer is too dense to get your genius and is an idiot.

Maybe the reviewer has a hangup on one issue and it’s blinding them to the overall story.

Maybe the reviewer has a legit beef about the prose and they are well within their rights to call out the problematic elements.

Maybe the reviewer is a drama/wank whore who has a personal agenda/vendetta and is looking to do you harm.

Maybe as a storyteller you had a great idea and an excellent concept but you failed in the execution.

Maybe both the reviewer and the author are two perfectly pleasant and wonderful people who simply have two vastly different and equally valid interpretations to the text.

Maybe the reviewer is being more than fair and objective and you just have your over-inflated head up your ass.

Maybe the reviewer gave you more credit than you deserved and you’re just a primadonna, a talentless hack on top of that.

These are all very possible, and I’ve seen all of these scenarios over the years.

Whatever the situation. whether the reviewer is right or wrong, an author arguing with them is bad form. Let’s face, probably 97 percent of novelists don’t have the nuance to engage critics and come out looking classy.

Because it looks like the author is throwing a hissy fit and being a bully because a reader didn’t like their story. And if the reviewer is in fact a troll or has an underhanded agenda, you’re playing right into their hands.

This weekend, against my better judgement, I read this epic wankstorm where authors and commenters showed their collective asses. And no, I will not be linking to it. Not gonna feed the monster. Suffice to say the entire time reading, this was pretty much me:


Other readers may see the negative reviews but they aren’t as gullible as you think (some of them anyway). Case in point. This weekend I happened upon a novel written featuring an African-American protagonist. As my buddies and I discussed, what was interesting for us was the only people leaving negative reviews were all white. And note, the author had the class to not engage the haters. Needless to say the novel was added to my To-Read list.

Authors, DO NOT ENGAGE! It will not end well…………………………….for you!!!!!!!


Speculative Fiction Novelist. Author of Hollowstone, West of Sunset and other cool stories. Wordsmith, activist and nerd seraph. Saving the world and/or taking it over. http://www.dennisupkins.wordpress.com