An Open Apology

As an author, nothing makes my day quite like someone taking the time to tell me that they enjoyed my books, and it never becomes any less thrilling than the first time I heard it.  As a reader, I love finding books that I can’t get enough of, that I can’t wait to share with others.  When you read a good book, you want to tell people about it!

I’m always eager to read books that my friends have recommended to me, especially when those books are written by a fellow independent author.  I want to support them.  I want to give them the same kind of hype and exposure that traditionally published books get.  I want independent books to go mainstream.  I think they deserve to go mainstream.

Unfortunately, not every single person is going to like every single book.  Even if a book comes with dozens of glowing reviews and reads like a dream, not everyone is going to like it.

Being an independent author myself, I always feel so guilty when I don’t like a book.  Okay, there are some books that I very openly and unabashedly loathe, but I try not to mention them too often because I don’t believe in tearing other artists down, nor do I believe in criticizing what others choose to read.  If a book gets you reading, more power to you!  And to it!

After reading the book that inspired this blog post, I’ve been trying to figure out how I would want someone who didn’t enjoy one of my books to handle it.  I know there are plenty of people out there who will write honest, carefully worded, critical reviews.  There are others who will leave a one star rating and a hasty, “This book is awful.  I hated it.”  I hate to be critical, just because I KNOW first-hand how proud the author is of their work and how much time and effort they put into it.  I KNOW.  I’ve been there.  I’m still there.

But I can’t bring myself to lie and write a review praising this book when, to be honest, I barely made it through.  It’s not that it was a bad book.  It just wasn’t my style.  It was simply too crude, too graphic.  I may be close to thirty, but I don’t enjoy books with explicit sexual content at all.  I’d much rather read YA fiction.  I also don’t enjoy male characters who view women as property and who only look to bed them senseless.  Even if they get redeemed somehow in the end, I can’t, for the life of, me understand why any woman would find that appealing.  But I know that to a lot of readers, these books are guilty pleasures.  I have my own guilty pleasure reads.  But most of them feature cute, sweet, small-town guys who are probably dying of cancer or something (yes, I’m referring to every Nicholas Sparks novel ever written).

So, to every author whose book I’ve read and have not enjoyed, I’m sorry.  I wanted to like it.  I did.  And I so appreciate the love and the passion and the time that you put into your work.  I’m so glad that you did.  Sadly, I am not the book’s target audience, but I know others will be.  Please don’t stop writing.  I wish you every success.

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