How To Deal With Haters as an Author - Publish Your Purpose

How To Deal With Haters as an Author

The book You Don’t Suck by Max Masure. Learn how to deal with haters with Publish Your Purpose.

As authors, it can be really difficult to receive negative feedback on a work we have poured our time, energy, and heart into. Dealing with full-on haters is a whole other issue. If you have ever read a particularly vicious review, or been given truly hurtful criticism to your face, it can be hard to know how to bounce back, or how to handle the situation. Whether you’re an author, a speaker, a thought leader (or all three!) here’s how to deal with haters

How To Deal With Haters

A quick note about hate. Hate is not the same thing as constructive feedback. While constructive feedback can make you feel seen, giving you insight into ways to improve your work, haters often just make you feel shitty. 

Criticism that makes you feel like a failure, or that ridicules you, isn’t worth listening to. While we can learn a lot from the perspectives of those who read our work, when it comes to hate, it’s best to learn to shut out the noise. 

Here are our seven tips for how to deal with haters as a writer.

1. Find (and Keep!) Your Support People

Most likely, if you have published a book, you have a team of supporters that helped you through the grueling process of drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. If that’s the case, lean on them. 

When haters come out of the woodwork and try to bring you down, it becomes more important than ever to lean on those that do like your work. 

If you don’t have friends, mentors, advisors, or a community to rally behind you and your work, a first step can be to try to find these people. Publish Your Purpose is an author-first hybrid publisher of nonfiction books that seek to change the world. We are a supportive, inclusive community of thought leaders, speakers, and authors. We’d love for you to join our community.

2. Take Good Feedback to Heart

When you receive good, or even great, feedback, it’s important to believe it. Many authors tend to focus solely on the bad feedback they receive, completely blind to the sea of great feedback they are surrounded by. 

Exercise: If you are dealing with a hater as you read this, go back and find a piece of good feedback that you received at some point. Whether it’s a positive review, an encouraging text from a friend, or a piece of fan mail. Cherish that feedback, and remember that someone out there thinks you and your work are really great.  

3. Don’t Read Your Goodreads Reviews

As an author, chances are you love Goodreads (guilty as charged over here!). It is an incredible resource for readers, where you can keep track of books you have read and peruse reviews of books before picking your next read. 

But that’s just it. Goodreads is a resource for readers, not authors. What one person might write to a potential reader of a book, wasn’t meant to be read by you! It’s best to leave Goodreads to the readers to avoid fretting over negative reviews that will only stress you out. 

4. Have a Loved One Monitor Your Amazon Reviews

The same (see #3) can be said about Amazon reviews. Because we are dealing with the worldwide (and wild) web, anyone can review your book, even if they have never read it. Obsessively reading every review, and looking for approval from the faceless masses isn’t good for you! 

Tip: We’d recommend having someone else, a trusted friend or coworker, periodically monitor your Amazon reviews and send you the good ones. Let them send you the ones that offer constructive feedback too, that can help you grow as a writer. But no, you don’t need to be reading those one-star reviews that don’t even make any sense.

5. Read What The Haters Have To Say About Classics

I know we just said to avoid reading Goodreads reviews, but for this tip, you’ll need to hop back in there. (Or, maybe you couldn’t help yourself and you read those reviews anyway.) Open up the profile for a book that is a well-known classic. We’re talking about The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald or a recent bestseller like Atomic Habits by James Clear. What you’ll find is that everyone, everyone, has haters, even (and sometimes especially) the most successful among us. 

For you, that means don’t stop! There is no sure way to get rid of haters. In fact, the more successful you become, the more haters you’ll have to deal with. All you need to do is learn how to deal with haters because if you’re in this for the long haul, they aren’t going anywhere.

6. Talk To Other Authors About Their Haters

It can sometimes feel like you are the only author out there dealing with haters. But, as we have already mentioned above, everyone has haters! Bring it up with authors you trust—talking it out and swapping horror-hater stories can help you feel less alone.

And, here’s a horror-hater story from PYP founder Jenn T. Grace:

“I was speaking in New York—in person—about my upcoming memoir. After I shared one of the most vulnerable parts of the book in relation to my daughter’s mental health needs, one person said, “If you were her biological mother you would have never done that” in response. In retrospect, they were rude and mean—but at the time, it felt like a knife to the heart. When I refocused on the positive feedback I received I realized this person’s comment says more about who they are and the story in their head, than anything to do with me or my story.”

7. Hey, They Might Be Jealous

When it comes to hate, those that hate are usually just projecting. Haters might be jealous of the success you’re having, or frustrated at themselves for not writing (even though they secretly wish they would). 

It’s important not to take hate too personally, because most of the time it’s much more about them than about you. 

Remember, happy and successful people don’t need to put others down to feel good. It’s better to put yourself out there and in a position to be hated on than to be the hater. Be proud of what you have done and the courage it takes to put yourself out there.

8. Find the Humor

Now that you know that a lot of people deal with haters—especially successful people—have a laugh. Watch some of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.” Maybe even start reading some of your own hate comments on social media and reclaim your space. 

 

9. Get Professional Support When You Need It

Unfortunately, there is a lot of hate on the internet, and it is becoming easier than ever to make others feel small, or even to threaten their safety. In this article, we are talking specifically about dealing with haters that are going after you and your book, thought leadership, or speeches. If you need to report a hate crime, go to the US Department of Justice website here.

Dealing with haters is tough. And, “turning your cheek” or “rising above it” is sometimes not humanly possible or even a good idea. Maybe you need a social media detox (or a social media manager!) or professional mental health support. Please, please ask for help when you need it. We need your creative heart out there in the world, so take care of yourself and your mental health. For national mental health resources, click here

The Best Way To Combat Haters? Don’t Give Up

Trying to pick yourself up after a particularly nasty review or a conversation that wrecked your self-confidence can be hard work. The best thing you can do is refuse to give up on yourself and your work. 

When in doubt, pick up your pen and write. 

You can start by writing in a journal about how you’re feeling, or jump right into that next manuscript, using that nasty criticism as fuel. We have been there, and we believe in you!

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