Sunday, October 9, 2011
Baaaaaad Reviews: Teaching Perseverance
And for fun, I checked out the reviews for one of my favorite books, Nora Roberts’ “The Reef.” There were plenty of negative reviews. I thought how could there be? This book was excellent. Yet there they were. Almost thirty three, two and one star reviews—one person even called it the worst book they had ever read, another said it was disappointing and yet another said the story didn’t go anywhere! It just goes to show you everyone sees things differently, has a different opinion, just like taste buds, and there is nothing you can do about it, except move on and not let any of it get to you. And don’t take it personally, unless there are some despicable ad hominem attacks, which are uncalled for and can be removed from the review sites, upon request.
When we put a book out there, it’s in the public eye, whether we like it or not, kind of like running for office. And all of our good points and our bad are up for inspection. Most people tend to concentrate on the good things and offer constructive criticism, but some wish to only focus on the negative. They may be motivated by a variety of things. Maybe they’ve wanted to write a book and couldn’t or maybe they’ve just had a bad day. The important thing is to keep your “eyes on the prize” and don’t let anyone deter you from your goals. It’s amazing to read the biographies of famous actors who have been rejected hundreds of times but keep going or if they finally do get a part, they describe the dozens of bombs they’ve appeared on, either on stage or in the movies. The same is true of writers. Jack London collected 266 rejection slips. When HG Wells wrote “War of the Worlds,” some described it as “horrid.” The first “Chicken Soup” book was rejected 140 times until it finally found an independent publisher.
We can’t erase very bad review, no matter how much we want to. We can cry, yell, pound our fists, flail our arms, and swear like a sailor. But we should never, ever stop writing and doing what we love. If there is any valuable constructive criticism in the review, we can learn from it. I will never stop writing, no matter what. I love putting myself in the main character’s role too much. I love slugging it out with the bad guys and the good guys, putting my heroine in jungles and snake pits, and enjoy writing the sexy love scenes. So stay strong and persevere, no matter what anybody says!
What’s the worst review you’ve ever got? You don’t need to mention the book. And what is it that they hated the most? Or if that’s too painful, I understand. How about describing your reaction and what you did in response? Did you learn anything?
Next week: What is your Heart’s Desire?
Also: Book Giveaway of “The Montezuma Secret.”
Five Stars on Amazon and Goodreads