Ignore the Critics

Anyone who puts his or her work into the public domain is likely to be criticized on occasion.

Today, everyone is a critic. Before Amazon.com released its original Kindle wireless reading device, there were over 400 reviews of the product. More than half of these reviews were highly critical 1-to 3-star reviews even though no one had owned, held or used the Kindle yet. We live in a cynical world.

A critical review of your work can be devastating. Alas, you can’t let them stomp on your dreams. Instead, use their criticism to fuel your drive to succeed. A few examples from the literary world will add inspiration to even the most timid creative professionals:

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annefrankManuscript: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Literary Opinion: “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”

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atlasshruggedManuscript:  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Literary Opinion: “The book is much too long. There are too many long speeches…I regret to say that the book is unsaleable and unpublishable.”

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ulyssesManuscript: Ulysses by James Joyce
Literary Opinion: “We have read the chapters of Mr. Joyce’s novel with great interest, and we wish we could offer to print it.  But the length is an insuperable difficulty to us at present.  We can get no one to help us, and at our rate of progress a book of 300 pages would take at least two years to produce.”

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lordofthefliesManuscript:  Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Literary Opinion: “It does not seem to us that you have been wholly successful in working out an admittedly promising idea.”

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mulberrystManuscript:  And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (Classic Seuss) by Dr. Seuss
Literary Opinion: “Too different from the other [books for] juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

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kontikiManuscript: Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl
Literary Opinion: “The idea of men adrift on a raft does have a certain appeal, but for the most part this is a long, solemn, and tedious Pacific voyage.”

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animalfarmManuscript:  Animal Farm by George Orwell
Literary Opinion: “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”

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junglebookManuscript:  The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Literary Opinion: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

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ttgManuscript: The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success by Andy Andrews
Literary Opinion: “I found the story a bit melodramatic and lacking in concrete plot and characterization.  Also, I didn’t feel the characters he describes come to life.”

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carrieManuscript: Carrie by Stephen King
Literary Opinion: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias.  They do not sell.”

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catch22Manuscript: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Literary Opinion: “I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.”

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Don’t pay any attention to the critic. Being a critic is easy—it takes little intelligence and effort to say what’s not good about something. Most people attack and criticize what they don’t understand and envy those who produce novel products and ideas. Seek wisdom and feedback only from those you trust and respect.

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