A writer spends months, sometimes years, of their lives pouring our hearts out into words. We write, we rewrite, we ponder, we digress, we cry…we walk away. Then, of course, we return to the fight. The fight for the right words, the perfect phrase…everything from the setting, the backdrop, the characters, the storyline. All have to fit perfectly snug in their places to make the puzzle we call a novel complete.
And then after months or years of painstaking work, we release our babies into the world and hold our breath for the first reviews to come in. Then they come…slowly at first and then more and more. Some bring a broad smile to your face, some fill you with an overwhelming sense of pride that finally all your hard work is being appreciated, noticed. Some…thankfully only a few, leave you with the sense that the reader didn’t ‘get’ the story at all and very rarely…some are cruel.
What do you do about those? Many authors simply close the window on their computer and walk away…irritated, but silent. It’s what we’re supposed to do…not respond, not fuel, not fall into the trap that some readers set for the author. It’s hard…extremely hard to be honest…just to walk away and remain silent.
I have seen it happen over and over again on Goodreads and Amazon, authors who receive a negative review responding to the reader in an attempt to defend their work. Once that fire is lit, the gloves come off and the claws come out. A flood of anonymous readers jump on the band-wagon attacking the author for trying to defend their baby. Once that occurs and the gates open, the thread takes on a life of its own and the comments reach well into the triple digits. This is not the kind of promotion an author wants.
As the author of two series, three books that are published and getting ready to release one more in each series by the end of this year, I too have suffered through reviews that are unflattering to my work. Only a few, but they are there for the world to see. Does it bother me…yes, of course it does. I would be lying if I said it didn’t. Do I or have I ever responded to them…Never! Have I wanted to? Hell Yes!!! I would love to respond and defend my baby and tell them that they didn’t understand my work. But I can’t and won’t. Simply because I don’t want to ignite a fire that can perhaps burn down my career. Honestly, it’s as simple as that.
Do I bitch about them? Yes…But only to friends and family members…OFF LINE! Never, ever, ever, do I say anything on any social media outlets! I try…and try hard to maintain professionalism at all times when I’m on any social media outlet. Sometimes it’s difficult, but as a published author, it is a must.
So I do what most writers do, I ignore the negative, focus on the positive and return to my computer to begin the process all over again. The never ending cycle of the joys of opening your heart and pouring it out for all the world to witness. I love my job…it is a dream come true for me. And like every author, artist, and creative individual knows, you can’t please everyone all the time…but it’s a wonderful feeling to know that you can please people most of the time.