How do you handle it? First, there are several different kinds, right? There's criticism that's legitimate and helpful and only feels like rejection (and only at first, usually like an hour later, I'm like "They're right, that's good insight") and then there's the opposite end of the spectrum that's over the top, hateful, and personal: "I hate your book and your mom."
It's bound to happen to extremes for a writer. Have you read some of the reviews on Amazon? I'm telling you, writers had it so good before the technology explosion-- sure, they had to deal with bad reviews in various newspapers, but now? Joe Schmo can write "This book is stupid and your face is stupid." And it's left up, as if it's a credible criticism. His stars (or lack thereof) score against your book.
So here's my secret (or not so secret to my dear friends): I don't handle criticism well. But I want to. And it's not because I think my work is perfect-- it's more the opposite-- I'll take it to heart, believe every word, ESPECIALLY the bad stuff, which just doesn't work when you're a writer.
I think I've got to develop a thicker skin as well as an intuitive filter that can weed out legitimate criticism and focus on the helpful stuff versus the unhelpful.
How do you handle criticism?