My favorite color is red; it used to be orange. My son’s used to be yellow, and now it is blue. My daughter went from purple to a cerulean blue. My husband…I’m not even sure. He’s kind of neutral on the topic.
And here’s the deal, do I care that none of them like red? Am I insulted?
No, I accept it. I don’t expect everyone to love red like I do–or malamutes or salsa or any of the things that I love, and books are no different.
Even when I write those books.
I know going in not everyone is going to love my books. I know going in that some people are going to hate my books. Some people, quite honestly are going to think I and my books suck.
It’s just a fact of life.
How about clothing?
How are you supposed to wear a baseball hat? Bill over your face, or bill over your neck? Is one wrong and the other right? Maybe in some people’s opinion, but really, the choice is just a matter of style.
And while someone might rant about how ignorant someone looked with their ball cap “backwards” (in their opinion), it is just that…their opinion and that rant only says that the style isn’t for THEM.
I can live with that too. I, frankly, don’t wear a ball cap at all anymore. I wear a visor and only when walking my dogs.
But back to this article…when you get reviews that say your characters are too stupid to live, your writing amateurish, or even, that you don’t know how to use a comma–remember, all of these things are a matter of opinion (yes, even the comma), just like choosing red over blue or baseball cap forward over baseball cap backward.
Books aren’t math. There isn’t a right or a wrong. There is only opinion. (With the exception of typos, etc. of course. And even many of the things people might pick apart as editor misses aren’t really wrong–they’re style.)
Getting upset because someone doesn’t think your book is beautiful makes as much sense as getting in a brawl over pizza versus mac and cheese or coffee versus tea. (Even I can’t state an obvious right choice in those debates.)
Still, at first read, bad reviews, may sting. If they do, try these three steps:
1.) Read the review again–really read it, and see how much it says about your book versus how much it says about the reviewer, because, quite honestly, most reviews (especially the bad ones) say more about the person writing the review than the book itself.
2.) Go to Amazon and look up your favorite book of all time. Read the reviews. Next, pick a book you hated, one you thought was the worst thing ever written, and once again, read the reviews. Then shake your head at both.
3.) Now for the good part…get yourself a cup of tea or coffee or cocoa–whatever your favorite is–sit down in front of your computer and write your next book. Your readers are waiting for it.