Norman Mailer on Negative Reviews

In 1955 Norman Mailer received a fusillade of negative reviews for his third novel, The Deer Park. Most novelists will tell you that there's no point in responding to scathing reviews, however mean-spirited or unjustified you might think they are. You just come across as thin-skinned and whiny. Mailer, however, hit upon an unconventional response to his critics; he tried to co-opt them. He wrote and paid for an ad in the Village Voice quoting the worst slams against him. Later, he explained his reasoning in Advertisements for Myself:

I had the tender notion—believe it if you will—that the ad might after all do its work and excite some people to buy the book. 

I doubt Mailer's ad accomplished his goal, but you have to admire his ingenuity.