Saturday, November 8, 2014

What to do when a reviewer HATES your book.

Writing is hard. Like, really, really hard. True, there exists a mysterious sub-species of writer that can churn out thousands upon thousands of words a day that people just eat up, but for us mere mortals, the process of writing a story is an arduous and sometimes soul-crushingly difficult task. We cook up pages and pages of brainstorms, then hack through the thicket searching for the actual story. We dig into our hearts and souls and expose our greatest fears and desires to bring our characters to life. We slog through edits and revisions and rewrites in an effort to plug up all those plot holes and keep the pacing just right.

But despite all this - and our secret belief that we are each deities creating little universes between the pages - we are, ultimately, only human. And no human can please everyone. Some readers will love you, others will hate you. And some just won't get you.

It's often said that releasing a book is like sending a child off to kindergarten. I'm not a parent, but to that, I say this: at least parents don't have to sit by quietly while others judge their babies, helpless to do anything to persuade or defend. And unlike kids, who can improve over time, the book's already printed. It's done. Can't put it into tutoring and hope it gets better scores on its spelling tests.

So when a reviewer on Amazon or Goodreads or one blog or another simply hates your book, you're left with an awful feeling of rejection, self-loathing, helplessness, and indignation. It sucks. A lot.

So what should you do? You should...

  • Argue with the reviewer in a public forum
  • Harass the reviewer on social media
  • Stalk the reviewer at his or her place of work
  • Track the reviewer down and hit him or her over the head with a bottle of wine
  • Whine about ALL reviewers and how unless they're paid critics, they have no business having an opinion
  • Send the reviewer dog poop in the mail
  • If the reviewer is also a writer, fire bullets into the reviewer's book and mail it to them
  • Keep calm, carry on, shake it off, and just keep swimming

Hey, fact is, people are different, and you'll never never never please everyone. So don't fret about one person's dislikes and keep doing what you do best: telling your stories.

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