Okay, friends. It’s time. I’m ready to have The Talk with you.
This may or may not be a good idea. I’ve heard that it’s something that authors need to stay away from, to not even acknowledge, but sometimes, I think it’s good to talk about the things that we’re told to not mention.
I’m talking about unflattering reviews.
I use the term “unflattering” rather than “negative” because, when you think about it, no review is really “negative.” The person bought your book, they read it, they gave it a shot, and they expressed their opinion. That’s not a negative thing at all. I’m thankful to anyone who gives my books a chance, regardless of whether or not they like it. I’ve read plenty of books that I didn’t like that other people simply loved. I love lots of books that others can’t stand. It happens. No one is going to like every book and not every book is going to please every reader.
That being said, unflattering reviews can still hurt, as any artist, musician, author, or actor can probably tell you. They hurt, perhaps worse than ordinary criticism, because the arts are a labor of love. They’re the most personal example of self-expression that we have. I got plenty of criticism in high school and college, but I didn’t really care, because I didn’t pour my heart and soul into my term papers.
The other night, I was exceptionally tired. I’d been outside all day. I was dehydrated and hungry. And I received my first “unflattering” review. I’m not going to lie to you. It hurt. I ended up talking to my sister for hours about it. And she ended up giving me the best advice I think that anyone could possibly have given.
“Well, you can either keep writing, or you can quit.”
I swear, she is so much smarter than I am. It was exactly what I needed to hear. There was no sugarcoating it. No beating around the bush. And you know, I realized there was never a question. Of course I’m going to keep writing. I can’t not write. I think my world would stop if I ever gave up writing.
Unflattering reviews will happen. Naysayers will always be there. But I’ve found that for every one person who doesn’t enjoy your book, there will be at least three others who do. And those are the ones for whom you keep going.
Thank you all for everything you do. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your words of love and support. I love you all.