As a writer, just like any artist, you can live or die by the reviews of your work. I’ve had 5 books published since March 2015 and many reviews. Nearly all of them have been positive, but there have been a few that have stopped me in my tracks.
First, a disclaimer: I’m going to be honest and tell you I really don’t care all that much about reviews. I know you’re probably thinking I sound conceited or snobby or even elitist, but when all is said and done, I write stories for myself. I’ve said before if I’d never been published I would have been fine because I still would have written down all the stories in my head, despite the fact no one would ever see them but me. I write for me. Me. The fact that other people like reading what I write is a humongous bonus to my ego, but in the end, I’m my biggest fan and critic.
Okay, that really does sound conceited, but I don’t mean it to!
So, on to the clunkers.
My Valentine’s Day book 3 WISHES was a simple boy meets girl-misunderstanding story. Chloe thinks Matt is taken and, to boot, has a baby on the way. A miscommunication that drives the story. Part of the plot included the issue of Chloe’s father’s affair with a much younger woman. One reviewer gave me a one ( 1) star rating because she said I wrote the wrong story. I should have centered the plot on the affair and not on Chloe and Matt and that it detracted from the story I wanted to write. Okaaaaaaaaay. How dumb does that sound? The book was a ROMANCE, not a woman’s fiction novel about infidelity. Now, a one star rating sucks, no mistaking that. But the real issue was the statement I’d written the wrong story. That one made me mad. It was my story. I wrote it the way I wanted. If this reviewer wanted a story about a cheating husband, SHE should have written one.
Okay, rant over.
Another reviewer for the same book said that it wasn’t funny “at all.” I put that in quotes because that’s exactly what she said. Okay, I realize not everyone gets every joke, every innuendo, every nuance of a pun. People’s funny bones are tickled by different things, I get that. But she’s the only one who mentioned the humor in a negative way. All the other reviewers stated it was funny and filled with amusing moments and thoughts. I guess my humor just didn’t work for her.
It’s a good thing my skin is thick, my ego solid, because there’s no such thing as a perfect review for every book you write. I’ll admit that even some of my favorite authors have written books that I didn’t like, but I didn’t put up negative reviews about them, and second guess their talent or story telling. I simply held my tongue and continued reading their newest books when they were released. One very real fact of life my mother drilled into me growing up is that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself. SHUT THE **** UP, in other words.
Not everyone is like going to like everything you write. Fact of life as an artist. But do you really have to tell the world how much you didn’t like something? Have we become a society that just panders to the negative, degrading and insulting one another’s work?
I sure hope not.
Now, having gotten all that off my chest, I’m going to open my ego for another round of – hopefully – nice comments and let you know that my newest book THE VOICES OF ANGELS, is a Netgalley offering this month. If you are a Netgalley member you might want to check it out. Click here for the link.
And, please, if you do read and review it – be constructively kind, not maliciously cruel. My ego is intact, but it’s still fragile at times. Thanks for listening to me b***h.