Responding well does not necessarily mean following the negative feedback to the letter. It doesn't necessarily mean changing anything. Responding well involves:
- accepting that someone did not relate to or enjoy your book;
- working out whether that person's view is one which should give us cause for changing anything. For example, if this is feedback before publication, and if you asked for that feedback trusting the person's view, if you now don't accept it you should wonder why you asked for a view. Or, if this is a review or comment after publication, again, decide whether perhaps the person has a point, whether he/she was indeed the intended reader, or not, or whether perhaps this has given you an important insight into something you'd like to do better or differently next time;
- accepting that you won't please everyone and that some people are simply not meant to enjoy your work;
- not bloody well reacting negatively, at least in public. That is known technically as #authorfail.
TimeRiders, but I know plenty of people who are. So, I'm going to buy the book, and have a sneaky peek before giving it to a friend who I think will like it. So, that's one more sale.
Now, unless Alex is a very strange person indeed, the moment when he saw that Catherine had not immediately been hooked by his book cannot have been the best moment of his year so far. However, I think you will agree that whatever he felt, discretion won over vitriol and his response was absolutely the best one he could possibly have given.
As you know, I write reports for people through my Pen2Publication service. Over the almost three months since it started, I've written some reports that must have been really hard for the recipient to read. (I should stress that I've also had the opportunity, and taken it, to write glowingly, too!) It is to the credit of all the writers that their responses have been impeccable and gracious, in every case. I have had writers thank me for pointing out the problems, and going away with enthusiasm to re-write their oeuvres in the confident belief that the criticism was constructive. I only take clients who I believe really do want the truth.
Maybe, when Catherine tells Alex what it was that failed to engage her (which she has promised to do, once she's had another shot!), he will choose to do something a little differently next time. Maybe he will at least feel her eyes looking over his shoulder when he redrafts. Or, maybe, he will take the view, "win some, lose some." It looks to me that his books are fabulously successful and that he can afford to "lose some".
On the other hand, he won some amongst Catherine's blog readers. And he may do here, too.