How to React to Bad Feedback on Your Book or Social Media Posts

I’m really happy to say that my recent piece on Ungoals, which I titled, “Why I Hate Goals,” got some widespread engagement, both positive and negative. The good responses were very nice to read, but the bad ones got everyone fired up (including me) and that fueled things along quite nicely, thank you very much!



Why am I happy about that? After all, who wants to be criticized? Isn’t is bad for business to have people saying not very nice things about you and your book?


Good question:

These are very good questions, and I’m sure lots of people could weigh in with wildly differing opinions. (We are living in a world where everyone can comment, after all.) But remember, I look at these things through the eyes of a media strategist and publicist,  so I have a particular viewpoint that is all about generating interest, visibility and engagement for authors and their books. Now and then it’s good for me to experience it too so that I remember what I’m asking you to do. <smile> Controversy can be good. Engagement is very good because you’ve broken through the noise and the apathy.


It’s so noisy!

I don’t need to tell you that we live in a world that is so noisy, many people want to just block everything out. Example: I saw many have a knee-jerk reaction to all the noise and clutter around the first of the New Year and took action by unsubscribing from every single newsletter they signed up for. Rather than thoughtfully keeping the ones that were still of interest and discarding those that no longer provided value to them, they moved into “all or nothing” mode. With that kind of environment, capturing people’s attention long enough for them to see what you’re up to, is a huge win! Then to get them engaged, commenting and sharing with others shows you are on the right path with your material.



As far as my Ungoals piece goes, it was very obvious who read the blog post and who didn’t by the content of their written responses. For some, their reaction was to the headline only, and not the written piece itself so they said things that didn’t apply. (This also speaks to our noisy world. Not everyone is going to read what you write!) Point being, it’s important to stay on top of the comments and engagement so that you can address them appropriately.


One person who was particularly critical of my post not only fired away at me, but then went on to actively promote his own business which, wouldn’t you know, is all about helping people set goals for their businesses. (You never would have guessed, right?) He even included a link to a splash page to sign up for a program he’s currently featuring.


Ok, that’s just wrong on so many levels.


My response to him was simply, “Did you actually read the article?” Quite a number of people

“liked” and made comments indicating they had read the piece, and called him out too for not reading it. I have to admit, that was rather nice to witness, being human and all…


Teachable moments:

As usual, I like to look at experiences as teachable moments for my clients and for me, so Here they are:

  1. Whenever you’re scrolling a social media news feed, don’t make the mistake of reacting to a headline without reading the article first. Either skip commenting entirely, or comment only after reading it. Trust me on this. That uninformed person is the one who is going to look foolish; Not the person with the clickable headline.
  2. If and when you object to someone’s story, it’s really bad form to disagree and then use that as the time to post a link to something you’re selling. Think of someone’s social media wall as the front door to their home. Would you drive by and spray paint your salesy link on the front door of their home? Of course not, but people do it in social media all the time. Don’t be guilty of that.
  3. Reframe negative comments, criticism, or someone just simply disagreeing with you from thinking it’s bad to the idea that it’s really something good. You actually got someone to stop and pay attention to what you are doing. That is a big deal. Congratulations!
  4. Look at their feedback as either evidence they don’t understand your point of voiw so it’s an opportunity to explain your position further, or as a response you might actually learn from; And then say so. There is something very appealing about a person being able to say, “You know, you’re right. Thank you for giving me something to think about.” That will also deflate their sails if they were hoping for an argument with you.
  5. Get excited that someone took the time to say something. Hooray! In a world where the noise is training many to ignore most everything, you had a breakthrough. Nice work!


I still hate setting goals…but I am very much into setting a direction. There is a huge difference, by the way, and I’ll got into that next week. But I’ll leave you with this:

If you set a goal of, “I want to be a great speaker,” when do you actually reach that? When you give your first talk to 10 people? “There. I am a speaker.”


Or, is it a direction you want to move into? Do you ever actually reach the status of being a great speaker? Maybe….but it probably isn’t after your first talk.


You’re setting a direction. More next week.


To your success!



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