Thursday, March 31, 2011

How Not To Handle Criticism

Everyone who works in a service industry, such as insurance, will at some point in time work with the public. After all, they are the ones who ultimately pay our salaries by purchasing the services or goods we as a company offer. Even if you're not in a position where you directly deal with the public on a routine basis, such as customer service, you need to have the proper people skills so as to follow the old axiom: don't mess with the meal ticket.

Sooner or later, you're going to face criticism of your work. It's easier said than done to simply shrug it off if you know you're doing the right thing the right way. However, it is a necessary skill to have if you're going to last for very long.

The above comes to mind when contemplating one Jacqueline Howett. She is an author who recently released his first full-length book titled The Greek Seaman.

Now, something everyone who puts a piece of work out there, be it creative or work process-oriented, has to accept is that others have the right to criticize their work. You take it for what it's worth. Some people offer a critique out of sincerity, while others do so out of spite and/or malice. In either case, it comes with the territory.

What's the one thing you never do in the face of criticism?

Have a public meltdown.

Which brings us back to Ms. Howett.

A review of her book was posted on a blog devoted to such things. In the review was this:

If you read The Greek Seaman from the start until you click next page for the last time I think you’ll find the story compelling and interesting. The culture shock felt by the newlywed bride, Katy, who finds herself far from her native England, living on a cargo ship with her seaman husband Don is a good story in itself. Katy adapting to this all male environment with a crew of mixed nationality, most non-English speaking, is compelling. Whether Katy and Don will survive the criminal conspiracies the ship owner and captain have planned is yet another conflict that should keep a reader in suspense to the end.

However, odds of making that final click are slim. One reason is the spelling and grammar errors, which come so quickly that, especially in the first several chapters, it’s difficult to get into the book without being jarred back to reality as you attempt unraveling what the author meant. At times, you’ll be engrossed in the story when you’ll run across a flowery description of the emotions Katy is feeling about her situation or her husband. These are numerous and sometimes very good. Chances are one of these sections originally pulled you so deeply into Katy’s world. Then you’ll run into one that doesn’t work and get derailed again. Reading shouldn’t be that hard.

Shortly after this was posted, Ms. Howett responded. Repeatedly. A sample below:

My writing is just fine!

You did not download the fresh copy.... you did not. No way!

As to annoymous

Al was given the option of a free copy from smashwords the following day to download in any format he preffered.

Look AL, I'm not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine. You were told to download a new copy for format problems the very next day while they were free at Smashwords, so you could choose any format you wanted to read it in and if their were any spelling mistakes they were corrected. Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i insisted. Why review my book after being told to do this, and more annoying why have you never ever responded to any of my e-mails?

And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don't fool me AL.

Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?

You never downloaded another copy you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail

Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.

Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here!

The reviewer responded with very detailed, gracious comments pointing out the errors he was referencing.

To which Ms. Howett responded with language that cannot be repeated here.

I'm thinking she most likely isn't improving sales with this approach.

P.S. Here is the book's description as written by the author:

What is an eighteen year old doing traveling on a massive merchant ship anyways, hadn't she gone to Greece on tour in a ballet as a dancer? These are questions Katy asks herself while traveling the high seas with Don, her chief officer who she marries. However, little do they know, a smuggling ring is also on board for this ride, on a blue diamond exchange, and when explosions and threats to sink the ship also happen, they must try to save themselves. True story.

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