In the book business...you have to develop a tough skin. Everything is so subjective. One person could love your book and want to read it a million times. Others just can't understand it and barely read a chapter. I've built my tough skin over the last few years. With agents and publishers, I've been rejected a zillion times and the one yes completely erased all that hurt.
But now that my books are out there for the world, the tough skin is even more necessary. Now there are reviews. I have gotten some not so great reviews and I honestly do use them as motivation to keep working hard. I don't take them all too seriously because I know I can't please everyone and would never ever even try.
The other day though....one extremely harsh review really stung. Not because of what was said...I expect it....but because of who wrote it. It was someone I know. A friend I made online several years ago on a message board community.
Now I NEVER expect my friends to adore my writing. I know it's not for everyone. I am always completely grateful when someone I know reads my books. Honestly, I am super nervous too. If they don't really like it, then I feel like I need to refund their money or something! LOL! But even my mom didn't love my first book. It was a little too steamy for her liking. I understand that. I get that.
What I don't get is why a "friend" would write a completely harsh review on a public forum. I expect it from strangers. I don't expect "friends" to put out negativity on my career. I would never ever expect a friend to lie and say they loved my book if they didn't, but if they really did hate it, as a friend, shouldn't the proper thing be to do nothing at all???
It just did not need to be said. And the more I thought about it and the things they had been said, I don't think they even read romance. If they did, they would understand the genre and understand that it is not odd for characters in a romance novel to fall in love after only four encounters. (And BTW...this was a romance novella...it was only 40 pages....so yeah...the people had to fall in love fast!) But the soft porn comment got my blood boiling a bit. And the review hadn't mentioned one good thing at all. Even if this "friend" hated my book, shouldn't they still want to see me succeed?
I know many writers do not read reviews at all...for this very reason. And I did not engage with the person. But I do like to read reviews. I can't help it...the good reviews are like crack and keep me motivated...confirming that I am right to be pursuing this dream.
I don't want to discourage people from sharing their true feelings, but there are right and wrong ways to do it.