With a big, proud smile on your face, your work is published, and you sit back waiting on the glowing reviews to start pouring in. Only they don't. You get a couple of lovely reviews, then bingo, you get one you don't understand. What? The reviewer says my plot is weak. Heavens! And there are editing errors. That can't be. No, they're wrong. I did so mean for my main character to do that. That's his/her personality. The
It really is true you need to have a thick skin if you are going to write for the public. I don't always take criticism well. How many of us really do, if we're honest? Constructive criticism from a trusted peer or friend is just fine. Years ago, I learned if I wanted to improve my craft, I needed to listen to what these people I highly valued had to say. I did, and I got better. What I am really referring to here is a jab in the ribs from someone we don't even know who offers nothing helpful along with the painful jab.
So far, I've been blessed. The reviews for my books have not been bad, and in fact, most have been very, very nice. However, I know that an especially painful one is on its way. It happens to everyone. With eyes almost halfway shut, I look several times a week at my reviews on amazon, just knowing it is lurking there.What will I do when I read it? Well, since I have developed a thicker skin, probably not much of anything. I will be momentarily disappointed, then move on. After all, it is only one's person's opinion.
We don't all like the same kind of ice cream
When I wrote my first Faylene in High Plains book, I tried to explain to a few people what I was doing and trying to accomplish. I don't do that anymore. There are all kinds of writing styles, voices, and purposes for writing a novel. If someone enjoys the ones I have written, I am very pleased, but if they don't, that's okay, too. We don't all like the same kind of ice cream. Why should novels be any different?
If you are upset over a bad review, read the reviews on some of the classics. You'll find some really bad ones there. I know, because I admit I have done this. I wanted to see what regular readers thought of these works of art. You just can't please everyone, even if you are Harper Lee or Tennessee Williams.
So, when you get your first bad review, celebrate! Eat a bag of M&Ms or sip a glass of wine. You've reached a writer's milestone.