How to handle a bad review: Rebecca Eckler's advice to herself

I was expecting it to be just an average Tuesday morning. I got out of bed early, to catch up on e-mails before getting my daughter ready for school, and a day of press for How To Raise A Boyfriend - my 8th published book.

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I was expecting it to be just an average Tuesday morning. I got out of bed early to catch up on emails before getting my daughter ready for school, and a day of press for How To Raise A Boyfriend – my eighth published book.

But it wasn’t a normal Tuesday morning. “Don’t worry about the review. Her bio says it all,” my friend wrote to me in an email.

Review? What review? I called my friend and asked him what he was talking about. “It’s in the Globe and Mail,” he said.

My heart sank as I logged on to the Globe’s website to read the review of my book, which I wasn’t expecting. My heart sank even lower when I read the first few lines: “….my assigning editor first made sure that I did not “love, hate, or know,” the author,” the reviewer wrote. I knew immediately that this was going to be bad and, also, I started to seethe with rage.

Does the assigning editor ask all reviewers before they review a book if they “know, love, or hate” the author? Isn’t that putting judgment in the reviewer’s head before she even reads the book?

And why can’t mainstream newspapers ever find a person to review one of my books who would actually be my audience – twenty to forty-something mothers! How many times did I receive a bad review for my mommy books Knocked Up, Wiped! and Toddlers Gone Wild, by reviewers who weren’t mothers?

Why was this woman – a non-mother – reviewing my book when I was comparing men to children? She doesn’t know children. She has cats.

There is nothing worse than your day being ruined before 7 a.m. My friends, if you’re day is ruined before 7 a.m., it makes for a very long day.

Now, I’m supposed to ask experts to “Help! Fix my Life” and so I went to an expert to ask how to deal with a bad review (The advice could be true too, for anyone who gets a bad review for their business or product.)

I asked author Rebecca Eckler (yes, that’s me, I interviewed myself) how to deal with a bad review in a mainstream newspaper, because Eckler (me) has yet to receive a glowing review ever in a mainstream newspaper for any one of her books, here is the advice she (I) gives:

1. First off, she says, you have to let it sink in. Then you call your two best friends to tell them about it and listen to them as they tell you to ignore it, that all press is good press, and that the reviewer has no sense of humor, has yet to publish a book, and is not at all unbiased.

2. You hang out with your favourite person in the world, in my case, my daughter and take her for breakfast. You’ll feel better realizing that your family is what’s important, not some review in a mainstream newspaper. You’ll laugh when she blows milk bubbles, because that’s funny.

3. You call your publicist for a pep talk. Your publicist says, ‘What review?’ And you feel better because you also realize that no one is really reading newspapers anymore.

4. You go see your therapist and read him the review. He claps his hands and says, “That’s fantastic! If I read that review and I was a woman, I’d go buy that book! This is great! You want people to talk about it.” You leave your therapist’s office feeling like you just worked out, “Yeah! You’re right! It is fantastic!”

5. You think about sending the reviewer a “thank you” card, because thanks to her review, your book is now an Amazon bestseller.

6. You go to bed early, because it’s been an emotionally exhausting day. You wake up the next morning, see the review on the kitchen table, and think, “Ha! That was yesterday’s news.” You can’t help but re-read it and think, “Hey, this wasn’t so bad.”

Rebecca Eckler couldn’t talk for long. She is in the middle of writing her next book.

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