Thursday, February 9, 2012

I have tough skin...but sometimes......

In the book 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 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 was only 40 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.


  1. I think it goes back to what Grandma used to tell us: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Sure, if you're a professional reviewer, post the review and be honest. But if you're just some random reader, and particularly one who doesn't normally read that genre, then keep your negative thoughts to yourself.
    That personal was spiteful and mean, though I have no idea why. Who knows, maybe she's jealous because you've done something you wanted to, and she hasn't followed her dreams? I think you said somewhere she'd taken down the review, which tells us all that she KNEW it wasn't cool to post in the first place.
    I have a SIL (who I'd like to call me EX SIL, if I could just divorce her and not my husband, LOL) who made a point one day when one of my friends posted on my FB page a nice comment about one of my books, to comment with "I'm just not a reader. I can't see myself EVER reading one of your books."
    Which goes right back to Granny's advice...

  2. Oh. (You thought I was done? LOL) And this person who posted the review? 1st, she didn't know what she was talking about. 2nd, she let you know just what type of "friend" she is--which is not a friend at all. 3rd, it's perfectly okay to write her off after this if YOU so choose.

  3. That is hard. I understand constructive critisism and it's to be expected - but to rip into someone like that, especially someone you know? Not cool!

  4. I worry about that, too, but you know how I look at it (and we'll see how time tests this little theory of mine)?

    I look at it like this: If it was ~that~ bad, said friend would never have finished, and would never have bothered to post about it, either positive or negative.

    What you did, dear sweet Stephanie, was elicit an emotional response from your reader. In this case, it was distaste.

    But what is that? It's a response. While it wasn't the response you hoped for, you at least roped them in and forced them to finish your book/novella.

    THEY COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! Mission accomplished!

    Do you see the difference? If it had truly stunk so bad, eyes would have rolled on page 2, end of story.

    Which is why I never have understood bad reviews.

    Since you're an E-Rom writer, maybe you can appreciate this analogy: It's the difference between a woman kicking a man out of bed before the deed, or waiting until afterward.

    - Eric