How to handle critics

“When I was a little kid,” Mickey Spillane said, “we had moved into a school where there was a library that ran underneath the windows–and I remember the teacher saying, ‘Children, someday you’ll be able to read this book, and she held up a copy of Moby-Dick. And I said to the teacher, ‘I like this book!’ She says to me, ‘You certainly didn’t read this book!’ And I said, ‘Call me Ishmael.’ She could never get over that!”

I love that story.

Here's how Mickey Spillane handled critics.

“I have gotten the worst reviews in the world,” he said. “So we made this big ad out of the bad reviews, quoting from them. Then underneath, we’d have a line like, ‘This book sold six million copies.’ The top of the ad said, Mickey Spillane says about his new book, ‘I hope this one gets lousy reviews.’”

The meanest critics can be the best advertisers.

Read more lessons from Mickey Spillane's life here, or read my notes on one of his biographies here.


Recieve new posts and my monthly reading list emails.