Some thoughts on criticism and bad book reviews

My good friend/author/photographer/digital darkroom expert Rob Sheppard recently sent me this note. I thought it was well worth sharing.

Explore the light,
P.S. This picture has nothing to do with this post, except that it was in one of my books, Flying Flowers.

• • •

Hi Rick --

I am a big fan of Seth Godin and have been reading his book, Tribes (which you actually know all about). Anyway, I read his section on criticism and thought about of our experiences with reviews on He says this:

(Talking about criticism and bad reviews of his books) "One bad review doesn't ruin my day because I realize what a badge of honor it is to get a bit of criticism at all. [By and large, most books are ignored.] It means that I confounded expectations -- that I didn't deliver the sequel or the simple, practical guide that some expected. It means, in fact, that I did something worth remarking on."

That is an interesting idea and a different attitude. He ends this section with a very unexpected idea:

"How can I create something that critics will criticize?"