Dealing with Negative Comments

person yelling

It’s no secret that the internet makes people mean. It used to be that if someone didn’t like you or what you had to say, they had to tell you in person.  These days, if someone doesn’t like what you’re saying or how you’re saying it, or just the way that you do your hair, they can shoot off a nasty email, tweet or youtube comment right away.

It’s great that we can upload videos instantly, and participate in interesting conversations online.  But in doing so we also open ourselves up to the opinions of strangers. And strangers can be cruel, especially when they’re feeling safely anonymous.

It’s a great time to be a writer. It’s wonderful to be able to post rough drafts of stories on Wattpad or Figment to gain a fanbase, or join hundreds of other authors on twitter. There are forums full of writers who are eager to share their experiences, and sites where you can get thoughtful critiques on your work. But writers are now open to newer, faster ways of having our work ripped to shreds.

Please note, this post is not about reviews on goodreads or amazon or even the old fashioned reviews in newspapers. There is only one way you should respond to actual reviews, and that’s not at all. Once you’ve set your book baby free into the world, it’s inevitably going to get negative reviews, and how to deal with those could fill an entirely different post. This particular post is about biting comments sent directly to you, addressed directly to you. They might be on your blog, they might be in the comment section of your most recent youtube video. They might be “mean tweets” or an email that lands in your inbox that makes you cringe.

How Do You Deal?

Accept that the comment bothers you. Even allow yourself to fume. Get it out. Pace back and forth and tell your dog how stupid that person must be, how small-minded they are. Your dog will sympathize and agree.  Perhaps punch a pillow or two, or savage a bar of chocolate. Some people find it helps to sit out and write a reply and then delete it.

But Don’t Answer.

If it’s a truly nasty comment, one that has you really worked up, don’t answer it. Don’t waste your time and energy on that person. Not only will you be investing your energy into someone who doesn’t deserve it, but you’ll come off looking bad. Answering a snarky comment with another snarky comment only makes you look like you’ve taken the bait. That you’ve lost your temper and you’re barking back. Resist the impulse.

Look For Value.

There’s a big difference between a harsh critique, and an internet troll throwing flaming balls of poo at you.

Is it possible that the comment has any merit? Maybe it was a critique that was worded rather badly, but they have a few valid points. In that case, try to calm down and think about how you can apply this. There, now that person, as miserable as they’ve just made you, has actually helped you. You will stumble across some people that are actually trying to help, they just may not know how to word things tactfully. Keep in mind, take everything with a grain of salt. A beta reader that tells you something like “you should stop writing” or “stick to your day job” needs to be jettisoned promptly. If the critique is doing more damage than help, then ignore it

When There’s No Value.

If there isn’t any value don’t reply. Comments like “You suck and your mom dresses you funny”, are not worth the energy. Just move on. Don’t answer, try not to dwell on it. Don’t let the hater take up head space.

When To Delete.

If you’re like me, you might go back and browse through your comment section more than once. If you think you’re going to continue to stumble on that same comment and get upset about it all over again, then delete it. Some people might complain about “freedom of speech” and how you shouldn’t delete internet comments. But it’s YOUR blog/facebook page/youtube video.

Your house, your rules.

Always Remember…

Your youtube video/comment/blog post/novel isn’t necessarily bad just because a few people have negative things to say.  There will always be people that don’t like things that everyone else seems to love. Everyone has different taste. The Harry Potter books have bad reviews. There are people that hate chocolate. And puppies.


Okay, can anyone really hate puppies?

photo credit: <a href=””>cotidad</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>dsmithok</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;


15 responses to “Dealing with Negative Comments

  1. You write VERY well. I like the formatting of this blog too. Thank you.

    My god, I was even able to log in properly. With Google+ that is. Hm. Where’s the best place to blog? Hm. Still wondering about that one.

    Way to go, Erin.


    • Well thank you! 🙂

      I actually find that the hosting site I’m using now (Word Press) is WAY better than the other one I was using (blog spot) as far as logging in and leaving comments goes, this is much easier.

      Glad you liked the post! 🙂

  2. Thanks for giving advice about this!
    Right now I haven’t posted any of my writing online…I’m one of those people who likes to finish it and have it finalised before others see it haha.
    But anyway, I’m glad you posted this. I already know the ‘basics’ (as you might call them) ignore the negative comments, there will always be haters etc. But this is more of a step by step instruction booklet.
    Thanks =)

  3. Hi, this is your danman who think’s your the next. I’m a crazy fan and you handle me well. But the other when someone really shot me with their words it hurt. I’m still hurt, I wish I had read this, because I did reply once. But thank you, your the next.

    • Well you can always come back and read this if it happens again! I know I’ll probably have to come back and read my own words of wisdom! lol. Tell myself DON’T ANSWER. 😀 hehe

  4. Hi Erin,

    About the idiots that that have nothing good to say, my idea is that what all authors have to say and that is if you can’t say something constructive then shut up and don’t read the book, these books are free to read so there is no expense to you. I am a reader and you have replied to my comments so this is not someone and something unknown to you.

    I have found that i see so many readers and authors complaining about nothing, when they should no better, if you complain then try writing yourself and see how hard it is. I have tried, and to place words on to any medium from your imagination is dam hard.

    And so thankyou Erin from some one who loves your books and is gratefully for the effort you place in your books for me and anyone who love reading, your books. Regards Marc Lazarus or mla031.

    So Erin, go for it and thankyou from a reader who loves

    • Very true, Marc! That’s why I don’t put too much thought into it if someone is complaining about the free book 😀 It will be a different ball game when people are actually paying to read!

      And thank you! Your comment made me smile! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Why the internet has made me try to be a better person. | FishWifey·

  6. It always annoys me when authors get negative comments that are only meant to hurt. There is always that person who says “this is bad” or “wtf is this” just for the sake of putting the writer down. Its not so hard to freaking explain what you find bad so that the author can improve. But its like what you said, bullies feel safe behind their computer screens.
    Kudos to you, Er chan 😉

    • So very true. Constructive criticism is one thing, but just something like “you suck!” doesn’t help anyone! I think a lot of online bullies like to do the “drive by commenting”. An “insult and run” type of thing. They just want to get a rise out of you! Jerks. 😉

  7. That’s a very true and very good way with dealing with it. I’ve come across writers who are spending so much energy into replying and such. I haven’t gotten bad comments on my Wattpad stories yet but that’s because only one person has commented! But I will remember this for the future! So thanks in advance!

  8. Pingback: Does Negativity Work As Motivation For Writers? Maybe.·

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