How to Handle Negative Criticism by Taro Meyer – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Taro will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

I have two friends who are amazing editors. Neither are professionals, but both have a gift for story and both were incredibly helpful as I was writing Emma G. Loves Boyz. I’d often helped them with their writing, but this was the first time I had turned to them for feedback. Initially, if either said anything I perceived as negative, my stomach would churn and all my insecurity would come up. I once even said, rather aggressively, “Well if that’s what you think then I can’t do it. I might as well stop right now!” Luckily the recipient of my misplaced anger laughed, and I rewrote what he had rightly criticized. After a while, I was able to acknowledge that my reactions were counterproductive and that by being defensive, or protective of myself, I wasn’t fully taking in what they were saying. I was limiting myself. I decided that the way to deal with the criticism was to stay absolutely open: not judge the comments; not get offended, or insecure, or defensive, but to stay quiet inside and allow their comments to settle in. Once I did that, I could listen to their ideas and not take them as a measure of failure. I could ask questions without being guarded. It wasn’t easy to do, but keeping open is extremely helpful when you trust the people you’re sharing your work with.

Negative criticism in reviews is another issue. I know people who don’t read their reviews. I wish I could ignore them but I can’t. I’ve been in show business my whole adult life so dealing with reviews has been a constant challenge. I began my career as a singer and songwriter, starred on Broadway and on T.V. in soap operas, became an audiobook producer/director and finally an editor and writer. But reviews are reviews, whether they’re for your book or your performance or your directing. I was always nervous when the reviews came out. That never went away, but I had an experience early in my career that helped me put things in perspective. As a young singer I was appearing in a club in San Francisco and got a bad review in the local paper. I was devastated. The day the review appeared, I ate a huge box of cookies and used up a large box of tissues. I called my dad who felt terrible for me and sympathetically asked if I should really continue with my career…which made me get out another box of cookies.

But two days later, the extremely important national entertainment industry paper, Variety, gave me a fantastic review! Both reviewers had seen me perform on the same night. They’d seen the same show, but the first reviewer, I learned, was a jazz guy. I wasn’t a jazz singer, but he reviewed me from that perspective. The Variety reviewer however, was more into theatrical music, which was my style, and he assessed me from that POV. I called my dad immediately after that review came out. And I didn’t eat any more cookies.

We all have filters through which we see things. We have individual tastes and predilections and so do reviewers. Still, a negative review can be helpful. After you get over the stabbing pain in your heart, take out the dagger and see if you believe their criticism is valuable. Does it ring true? Can you use it to improve your work? If not, have a good cry for about three minutes, slam a door, then tell yourself there are much worse things in life than a negative review; go read your good ones and get back to work on your next book.

mediakit_bookcover_emmaglovesboyzEmma G. is CRAZY about Aaron, lead singer of Boyz3000. Of course, she doesn’t actually know him, but so what? Feelings are feelings. That is until Josh appears… and he’s soooooo CUTE. Navigating her two crushes and her middle school life, especially with eighth-grade hater Renee around, is a challenge. And oh yeah, she’s got to earn money for an AWESOME trip to the Bahamas to see the band of her dreams. Hello???? How much can one thirteen-year-old take???

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“You know that thousands of girls like Aaron,” she said. “Right?”

“So??”

“So it’s statistically almost impossible that a pop star boy will date a fan.”

I should have known she’d say something like that. I wanted to say, “Okay, just forget it.” But instead I said, “Whatever! I mean I just love his singing and his writing. That’s all.”

But that’s not all. How do you change what you feel just because some stupid statistics say you don’t have a chance? An article in Tigerbeat said Aaron had dated a girl from his high school for three months! And she wasn’t a star! So who knows what can happen? When you feel something, you have to believe! Your feelings are totally crucial to your life! When I look at Aaron’s face I get those stomach flutters! And feelings CANNOT BE IGNORED.

I started thinking about stomach flutters instead of the essay and wondering why they happen with just one particular boy. Why can one boy make your stomach go CRAZY????

I called my cousin Elyse to ask what she thought because she’s older and experienced.

“No one really knows,” she said. “That feeling just hits you. But you want to make sure that the boy you like, likes you back.”

“How can you tell?”

“Well,” she said after thinking for a minute, “sometimes boys don’t want you to know they like you. So they look at you like they are trying to look like they aren’t looking at you or liking you, but really, they are.

About the Author:Taro Meyer is a Grammy, Parents’ Choice, and Audie Award winning Audio Producer who has been producing and directing YA audiobooks for over 20 years, including The Princess Diaries Series starring Anne Hathaway, the All American Girl Series starring Ari Meyers, The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, Eldest, Brisngr) and Judy Blume’s The Pain and the Great One, Here’s to You Rachel Robinson and Tiger Eyes among others.

She co-produced two touring companies of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s smash rock show Christmas Eve and Other Stories and their TV special The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, receiving Gold and Platinum Albums for her work with the team. She was associate producer of the award winning anti-bullying movie, “The Contest,” and co-produced the premier showcase of off-Broadway’s Little Willie.

As an actress and singer, she starred on Broadway in the musical Zorba, in numerous regional and off-Broadway shows, and on TV’s All My Children, Another World (for which she also composed music) and the mini-series Memories of Midnight, amongst others.

Meyer wrote and produced the upcoming children’s album: Mighty Musical Fairy Tales, starring international artist Patti Austin; an updated, joyous musical version of Classic Fairy tales, accompanied by an illustrated book, The Ugly Duckling.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

  3. Lisa Brown says:

    congrats on the tour, the book looks great, and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  4. Thank you for that amazing post! I love your positive attitude. I can imagine how hard it is to receive negative feedback on your art. (It’s very hard for me to give a bad review on a book because I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings…) I really enjoyed following your book tour and I wish you the best of luck with “Emma G. Loves Boyz” and all of your future projects! 🙂

  5. Tammy Dalley says:

    Thanks for the chance!

  6. Eva Millien says:

    I enjoyed following the tour and learning about Emma Loves Boyz, sounds like an excellent read!

  7. Rita Wray says:

    I have enjoyed the tour. Sounds like a good read.

  8. amy bowens says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt! Thanks for sharing

  9. I’ve really enjoyed following the tour for Emma G Loves Boyz.. the excerpts and interviews along the way have been entertaining to read. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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