THE BLOG
04/26/2011 12:47 pm ET Updated Jun 26, 2011

The Comfort of Bad Reviews (That Aren't Yours)

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

For every moment of awe a writer has at seeing her book on a shelf, at being told by readers what comfort they found in your words, come the times when you read the word "blech" in a reader's review. It's part of the business and there's no answer except M&M's, but it hurts. Writers from NYT bestsellers to just-on-the-shelves authors must find ways to soothe themselves through the pain.

I come bearing brownies and a shot of tequila. Comfort food for times when nothing but schadenfreude will do. I would offer mead to Shakespeare, had he lived in the time of Amazon and read this review of Romeo and Juliet:

As far as I'm concerned, the only good thing about Romeo and Juliet is that it spawned the plot for West Side Story, which, although laden with cheese, does highlight some of the more noble facets of the human character (along with the less noble) and features some wonderful music. Romeo and Juliet will, however, simply annoy anyone with half a brain.

A newly published author privately spilled her horror to a group of not-surprised writers when, after a spate of reader-love, she found this on a popular book site: "To those who loved this book, may we never meet on subway, train, or plane."

Shock usually follows the first angry reader review. I'm not sure if they're more hurtful than critical professional reviews but they go where NYT reviewers would never tread.

The not-surprised writers, as always, gathered around the newly launched author, and shared their own hurtful reader reviews:

Someone once hated one of my books so much that she made a custom e-stamp that said, 'This book is so bad it should be banned from the face of the earth.'

Continued at: Beyond The Margins