I know there are lots of blog posts about this topic and lots of writers worrying about this issue, but let me show a different perspective on the matter.
This blog post idea came to me from a friend who recently self-published her debut novel All Things Unholy. I edited this book. I am not a professional editor, only a writer offering my services at a low cost to a select bunch of private clients. She knew from the beginning I was not a proof reader, I edit content only (correcting mistakes as I see but not guaranteeing an error free MS.) I absolutely loved her book and stand by the claim to be her no. 1 fan. She did however get a negative review based on the fact that there were some grammatical errors. This anonymous reviewer claimed to love the book but the errors made him give a two star rating. I loved the book, I gave it 5 stars, a few errors won’t stop me from enjoying a good story.
Why I am writing this is because in an email, Piia Bredenberg wrote to me:
“You do good work, Ruth. I bolded that so you wouldn’t miss it.
I have seen the results, and you have earned my trust.
I felt really bad for you when I read that stupid review. They should have seen the draft before you helped me fix it, to get some perspective.”
This is her book but she felt bad for me as the editor. As a writer we know (and dread) we are going to get bad reviews. But because we had both worked on the book, the bad feelings were shared between us, thus lessening the blow of negativity. We had each other to back up and say ‘I loved this book, we worked hard on it and you did a great job!’
What I’m getting at, is when you’re on your own you have to bear the brunt of negativity on your own. When you have a team behind you: critique partners, beta readers, editors, whatever; you know you have their backing. They know you did good, and you know they did good. It’s a reminder to write for the people who matter: those who love your story, world, and characters. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. Write for the people who care and everyone else can get stuffed (because they don’t matter.)
She shared with me this clip of Bernard Black (from Black Books) writing a response to an MS rejection. I think every writer needs to see this just for a laugh. It also kind of rings true in a sense that everyone deals with rejection, there’s just better ways of dealing with it.