We, as authors, talk about thick skin and not letting negative reviews or comments about our books bother us… For some, however, that’s near impossible. I’m included in that ‘some’. It does bother me. Deeply. Personally. And, it’s not because I expect or hope to please everyone that reads my books. No, it’s because I hate knowing that someone found incredible fault in something I’ve done. It’s because, I hate disappointing anyone. It’s because… It’s because I am who I am and when I look at it the right way, I can learn something.
If a reader can’t finish one of my books…
If a reader finds my writing amateurish and inconsistent and jumpy and silly and stupid and any number of other descriptive terms, well… What kind of writer would I be if I didn’t at least try to see why they felt that way? Especially if it’s more than one reader?
I write books. They aren’t always going to be popular. I don’t expect to see my name in lights or even on the bookshelves in a book store. I have some very loyal readers which I am more grateful for than I can put into words. I have very good friends that help me through the tough writing times when I cry and scream and want to quit. And believe me, there have been quite a few of those times… They aren’t pretty either.
I never leave the starting gate on release day with jubilant expectations and celebrations. I am often sick to my stomach with nerves and uncertainties. I feel that way when I see a new review, or a new reader comment in my inbox. I would like to shrug off the negative thoughts of readers and reviewers, but I can’t. It’s just not in me. I will mope and pout and obsess. I will get over it, but it will haunt me and their words will stick with me through the writing of each following book. It might not be a healthy thing, but that’s me. It doesn’t keep me from writing but hopefully, it helps to make me a better writer on the next book. Honestly, I think it has. I think I’m improving. Obviously not enough for some, but… You really can’t win them all.
I don’t want to win them all. There really does need to be someone or quite a few someones that dislike my books. If I got all 4 and 5 stars from readers and reviewers, well… I’d just keep doing the same thing which wouldn’t be bad because everyone was loving what I was already doing, but I wouldn’t be improving or learning anything. It’s only through the disappointments and did-not-finishes and knocks on my writing that I will learn and become better. At least, that’s the attitude I adopt when the bleeding stops.
It’s the same with rejections. When they come, it’s hard. It’s really hard. It hurts. It makes you want to quit. It makes you want to even stop reading. But, you don’t. You keep going. You learn what didn’t work, you improve on it, you move forward with your new knowledge, and you create something even better. Yes, sometimes you have to say ‘well, it just wasn’t right for them’ and move on. But sometimes, you have to really look at what you’ve turned in and try to see where they stopped reading and said ‘No.’
I love what I do. It bothers me, deep down inside and up here on the surface, when a reader says that they’re disappointed in my book. I want to understand why. I want to learn from those mistakes. I want to write a better book.
With all that being said, if you really like my book and feel it deserve a 4 or 5 star rating or review, PLEASE! I could use some positive vibes…grins. But if you don’t, that’s okay too and I welcome your thoughts, though I may be looking at them through my fingers as my hands cover my face.