I’ve never received one as I’m not published, and I imagine they hurt like nothing else, but what do you do when you get one? Do you go and try to defend your writing? Trying to get the reviewer to understand where you are coming from? Do you respond and thank them for their review? Do you just ignore it?
I personally think option #2 (thanking the reviewer) is the classy way to handle things. You could ignore it and that would be acceptable as well. But option #1? SO WRONG. Everyone has a right to their opinion even if it reflects negatively on your work–your writing–that you spent long hours sweating and slaving over a keyboard to create. Why is this wrong? It makes you look stupid for one, unprofessional for another, and readers/reviewers generally have a field day with this sort of behavior. Getting a reputation for being defensive of your work will stay with you for a long, long time…if it ever goes away. I’ve seen it happen more than once. It isn’t pretty.
I was thinking about it and this is the only fair comparison I can think of. It would be like getting a rejection from a publisher and then corresponding back and trying to defend your book to them, because in essence isn’t the publisher in their own way giving you a review of the book? Maybe not as thorough but it’s a review nonetheless. If you were to argue your points to the editors/publishers/agents, just how long do you think you’d last in this business? Not very would be my guess.
In the same manner, if you argue your point to reviewers/readers, just how long do you think they’ll buy your books, thus keeping you in this business? Same answer–not very long would be my guess.
What are your thoughts?