There’s no feeling I hate more than seeing an email titled “Decision on Manuscript: XXX.” Sometimes it’s great news, more often than not it isn’t. The shock of a rejection can be bad enough, but the worst part is knowing that lurking below the editor’s signature are the most dreaded part of academic publishing: the reviewer’s comments.
I’ve had my share of good and bad reviews, but this week I received a couple that really blew my hair back. I mean the kind of review where after the initial hurt feelings I was left to wonder, what broke this person’s soul? My dear Second Reviewer (it’s always the second one!), what trauma so blackened your spirit that you thought this was an appropriate thing to write? (I know, the answer is graduate school, it’s a rhetorical question).
So I’d like to ask our readers: what are your strategies for dealing with not only harsh but clearly mean-spirited reviews? How do you try to glean the useful criticisms without getting too hurt? Does anyone have a story or anecdote so terrible or absurd it might make the rest of us feel a little bit better?
I’ve found it helps if you pretend that your reviewer is Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.
When that doesn’t work, there’s this wonderful California pinot noir that I recommend putting in the fridge thirty minutes before opening.