BrooksBlog: When Bad Reviews Strike

terry-brooksI just finished reading a really bad review of my next book, Witch Wraith.

The reviewer didn’t like it. Hated it, in fact. Made snide comments. Went out of the way to say gratuitously nasty things about it, even going so far as to say I was treading on sacred Tolkien ground.

Oh, that again.

I admit I was upset. After all these years and hundreds – maybe thousands – of reviews later, I still feel bad when someone publicly announces they don’t like one of my books. Or even all of them. I thought I was over that long ago. I was pilloried when The Sword of Shannara first came out. Lester del Rey even warned me it would happen. You can’t do Tolkien style books without being hammered from some quarters. Can’t please everyone. He suggested I not read any reviews and certainly that I don’t pay attention to them. Any of them. Remember, the person writing it represents the sale of a single book. It was good advice, but I read them anyway. I wanted to harden myself against the hurt it caused me. I thought I had gotten to that point, but apparently not.

Objectively, I know I shouldn’t let it bother me. I mean, what difference does it make if one person hates my books? Hundreds of thousands love them. What the heck do I want? For everyone to love me? Well, maybe. At least, I don’t want anyone to hate me. I avoid reading about myself online almost entirely. I do this because it can’t do anything to help. If you are raked over the coals, you feel bad. If you are lauded as the best thing since sliced bread, you start believing it.

Lester said it best. Remember who you are. Remember what you do. You are a plain old working writer who tells stories. If you are published and read, that’s as much as you are entitled to. All the rest is window dressing.

I think he got it right. I really do.

Repeat after me . . .


BrooksBlog Addition by Shawn Speakman:

Since Terry wrote this BrooksBlog, he has received numerous reviews from critics who loved Witch Wraith, one of the best being by fantasy blog A Dribble of Ink! Click HERE to read it.

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Written by Terry Brooks
I am the author of the Shannara, Landover, and Word/Void series, as well as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Street Freaks. I love to write, read, and travel. For more information about me, you can read my writing guide/memoir, Sometimes the Magic Works.