You don’t like me?

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I work with middle schoolers. Before that, I worked with preschoolers. Therefore, I have spent the last 20 years saying, “You don’t have to like everybody, and everybody doesn’t have to like you. You just have to be kind.” This has probably come out of my mouth at least three times a day in the two decades, so you’d think I’d have learned it myself.

About two weeks ago, Mad Kestrel received its first unpleasant review, and I let it break my heart. I knew good and well I shouldn’t, that a review is one person’s opinion and not a sweeping denunciation of my skills. I tried reading my good reviews. I attempted to focus on the book I’m finishing. I tried visiting other writers’ reviews (many of whom were savaged way worse than I!) I danced until I was breathless.

Nothing was working. Until I dropped in on Jim Hines‘s Livejournal yesterday. He pointed out that a negative review indicates the book is at least being read by a wide swath of people. Other commenters also pointed out that low-starred reviews are often the ones that convince readers to buy.

It helped. A lot.  He gave me a reasonable viewpoint, a way to accept the review without torturing myself about it.

So what have you done to cure yourself of the “yucky review blues”? Or if you’re still waiting for the chance to suffer from them, what do you do to make any kind of blues go away?

And just a reminder… Joshua Palmatier, author of the Throne of Amenkor series, will be guest-blogging here tomorrow. Please come by and check out what wisdom he has to offer!

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4 comments to You don’t like me?

  • Misty, don’t let the mortals get you down.

    Long before I decided I absolutely *had* to exorcise these stories and characters [been gestating them for decades] that are now active WIP’s, I was a freelance illustrator who also did a lot personal ‘Fine Art’ on the side —

    Most of my personal art has been received pretty well. Then one day some knuckle-dragging troglodyte took it upon himself to vent at one particular painting I’d done, and he verbally bashed me as well for having created something that he disagreed with,…

    Rather than feeling bruised and abused, I felt kinda, you know, invincible — that a painting of mine had the power to reach deep into this ‘spectator’ and rip out of him so raw and visceral and passionate a reaction.

    On days when I’m feeling ineffectual I’ll remember that moment and smile — with wicked glee. 😀

  • I just try to avoid reviews. My poor delicate Irish skin and all, y’know. :)

    -Catie

  • I am not as emotionally evolved as Radish. I wish I could be. I really do.

    But like Catie, I have thin skin (no Irish, however). For years I more or less trudged the same path she does. I used to refuse to read *any* reviews. None. Not good ones, not bad ones.

    Lately, I have read a few and just shrugged. It was weird. I just didn’t freaking care any more. Good or bad, it was unimportant to me.

    For blues, I take a lot of St. Johns Wort.
    *grins*
    Faith

  • Bad reviews still bother me, but after nine books I’ve gotten a ton of them and I’m still here, writing books, making a career of it. So screw ’em. Their reviews apparently don’t mean all that much. That’s the best revenge. Write what you love, write what YOU know is good, and don’t worry about the fools and troglodytes and people who are envious of your success.

    ‘Kay?