Monday, February 9, 2015

Do You Like Me?

Or Not? Reviews

Putting a book out for the public is a daring adventure in many ways.

If like most writers, the author has a close and loving relationship with the book, this is the moment she's "kicking it out of the nest" to send it off for a life of its own. No more rewrites, no more second guessing, the book needs to find its own way in the world.

Some books try to take flight and simply crash land, forgotten on the bookstore shelves. Some take short flights with hard landings and some soar, landing happily in homes of readers everywhere.

It's always nice to have a successful flyer, of course. But the world of readers is filled with people of many tastes and they all do not see the words the same way the author does.

Hence, the consequences of  "The Reviews."

Sooner or later, some reader out there is going to need to express his opinion about the book.

Good reviews are always a pleasure for all. A Five Star on Amazon makes most authors glow with pleasure. Even a Four Star makes them smile. Three Stars? Well, OK, not so bad.

But what about the Two Star and One Star critiques that pull apart plot, character, writing style, and just about everything the author has labored over for months and years?

Hey, it happens. And every reader has a right to his opinion. Should the author be crushed by negative reviews? Sure, they can hurt ego and damage pride. "The pen can be mightier then the sword."

It's not always easy to take negative feedback in stride. But even William Shakespeare had his naysayers in his time and there's certainly no question about his legacy or ability to write.

I think competing my horses taught me more about coping with negative criticism and losing better than anything I've ever done. I've had my ups and downs with plenty of first place ribbons in my collection and just as many empty slots where no ribbon of any color sits.

My current little herd of horses has been a humbling experience that way. Because my two competition horses could never quite be trusted to be on their best behavior in the competition arena, I learned to accept small victories in place of winning the class. Sometimes just getting safely into the arena and finishing the class was enough of a success to keep me happy. Most of the time, I knew my failings even before I saw the scorecard from the judge.

My books are a little different in that I don't know their failings until I get the scorecard. Each negative comment is a learning experience leading me to think about what I might do next time to make it better, or whether I've still done the best job possible and that judge just doesn't like my style.

We all like to win and usually prefer it to losing, but taking the bad with the good can only make us better. Learning lessons from the negative review can just make better writers.

No comments:

Post a Comment