The Art of Graceful Acceptance

Brick O'Neil Gave Me this Idea
I recently reviewed a book. I sent the author a private message, because he was a friend that I don’t know well but someone I didn’t want to sever ties with. I did not post this review at his behest.While he said he was “OK” with it, he seemed to think I was in the wrong about the characters, bad grammar, and unbelievable characters. That’s great because I choose to believe the positive about my own book and take the negative as a critique. Perhaps I can do better next time or not do anything about it at all.  I thought that he handled it very well and if he hadn’t I would have posted the review out of spite.  We are still respected colleagues.  I’ll say it I’m petty. If you tell me “F- You” and act unseemly I have no problem expressing myself in the blogosphere.  This person practiced what I call “The Art of Graceful Acceptance.”

As Authors/Writers we will never release the perfect book that speaks to everyone and we will receive bad reviews. That’s part of the life we’ve chosen, regardless of whether we are traditionally or self-published.  To be honest, there are best sellers with reviews that are awful. For example, the best-seller, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James has 1 Star reviews nearly 5000 to be honest.  You can’t please them all. She’s laughing all the way to the bank, even after all the gup she’s taken for the psychological and editorial repercussions. While I agree with the 1 stars I have to give E.L credit she didn’t freak out on the reviewers like some of these authors. They’ve removed some of the more inflammatory comments but damage is done. When I see things like this I often reply with this simple thing…


Pictured Quote:

As a writer and reviewer myself, I always find that the worst thing you can do is come off as a pompous ass. Well, Gustine you did it. I suggest that you not ask for honesty if you can’t stand someone being honest. I find it offensive, rude and highly inappropriate for you to chastise someone by name calling. It gives all other writers a bad name. If you choose to continue acting this way you are going to just be another LiLo of the writing world…bad actions overshadowing some good talent.

In the face of bad reviews my newbie Author/Writers, remember that your first reaction will be to fight. This is your blood, sweat, tears and hard work and someone is attacking it. They are tearing it down bit by bit or just leaving a rating that is below what you believe is the quality of  work.  I know how hard it is. I’ve gotten 2 stars and 1 stars. People have said they couldn’t even finish my book. That’s so hard to hear and hurtful. It’s very hard when I feel like my book is just the awesomest thing ever!!

Anyhow, don’t respond with malice like the authors I’m about to use as an example. Remember you can’t please everyone in life or in writing. If you get bad critiques on editing you can always find someone to edit it even lightly or beta read.  Things can get better. Beta readers are invaluable in not only finding errors but helping you find plot holes. One of my favorites in my own book was that I said the woman was bounding down the stairs but lived in the basement.

You can respond with “Thank you for your review. I appreciate your honesty,” or not at all. It’s ok just to let it go or make real changes to your book.


When an author responds in this manner, I already put the book on “NEVER WILL READ” lists.

Jacqueline Howett:

Google her meltdown ending in F*** You!! on Big Al’s Books & Pals  and her outburst went viral. SF Weekly even did a feature on it!


J.R. Brule on Goodreads


Gustine Pelagatti on Amazon

Pictured Quote:

“My rebuttal to the jury is quite simple! Boggewig: When one is inebriated by the exuberance of his verbosity..he shall be relegated to the ashheaps of reviewing antiquity!!! Gus Pelagatti”



About Elizabeth Delana Rosa

Elizabeth Delana Rosa has always been a writer and reader. When she first learned letter and words in Kindergarten, she wrote about pigs who “groo” wings and became “butterfys.” Elizabeth knew way back then that she would have a love affair with books. They have overtaken her life and have been a constant companions. Now over 20 years later, that love flows over into writing blogs, reviews, poetry and fantasy novels. Her blog recently broke the 3000 followers mark.

Posted on February 6, 2013, in Author Etiquette. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Very good post.I recently received a 1 star review. Yes, it hurt. That's life. The best thing a writer can do is not respond and LEARN from the review. Did the reviewer make a valid point? Take a step back and think about it.Did the reviewer speak the truth or lie? Well, that is the difference between the reviewer's opinion and the author's love of their story.


  2. Elizabeth Delana Rosa

    Well said Jodie!!


  3. Responding to negative reviews in anger serves no purpose but to make the author look unprofessional. *smh* Responding can be done with grace and decorum. I'm not saying that the reviewers are always right, but venomous reviews don't usually require a response. Readers can tell the difference between constructive criticism and vitriol. I'm not saying I haven't had my own foot stomping, hair-pulling moments with reviews, but then I force myself to re-read and look for the constructive part of the criticism. If I can learn from it and improve my craft, I should be grateful for it.


  4. Elizabeth Delana Rosa

    Well Said! I totally agree with you!


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