On Writers and Reviews

As the release date for Stones creeps ever closer, I find myself growing ever more anxious. The cover is out in the world, with my name on it and guys…I’m kind of freaking out.

I think I’ve officially entered the “What in the name of fluffy unicorns have I done?” phase of publishing. Has anyone else been there?

If you were reading my other blog, you might know that I started writing this book at seventeen. Do you know how long that is? Nine years. Nine! That’s almost a decade, and now I’m just going to throw my baby out into the world and let her be judged and dissected and poked and prodded??

(Maybe no one will notice. But, my mother has been telling every living person she knows, so maybe not.)

Insanity. Madness, I tell you.

I know there’s very little left of the story 17-year-old Jessica envisioned; I don’t think there’s an original sentence left, but these characters have been with me since the beginning (most of them, anyway. The telepathic cat got cut).

Needless to say, I feel very affectionately towards Aurelia & Co. and it distresses me that someone out in the world – or the internet – might not feel the same way.

Which brings me to the other point of this post: reviews.

I’m supposed to be working on writing a scene that fleshes out some character development, but in the name of procrastination, I’ve been reading negative reviews of popular books on Goodreads.

Is this productive and/or healthy? I don’t know.

But I’m rationalizing this frenzied research by saying I’m preparing myself for the worst. How bad can it get?

Hahahahahahahahahaha.

Now, I like to think that I’m pretty thick-skinned. My writing has been taking punches since my first Intro to Creative Writing class in college, which I handled very gracefully, with only minimal griping behind the professor’s back. But these were very supportive environments, and mediated so things could never get too nasty.

Ever sorted the reviews of a book you liked by the users who gave 1 star? Yeah.

Most of the time these reviews are well-structured, eloquent, constructive, and sometimes amusing. And sometimes I agree with them. I’ll admit it; I don’t like every book I read, even though I know the author invested a lot of time and energy into the writing of it. I know they probably feel the same way I do about their “babies”.

I’m sure a “What the hell is this shit?” still stings, even for the most established authors.

But, here’s the kicker: established authors with popular, traditionally published books have 15,000 positive reviews, glowing with praise, to balance out the 800-1000 negative reviews.

As a soon-to-be indie author, like all the awesome indie authors before me, my work is going to live or die by reviews and recommendations. And one “What the hell is this shit?” review could dissuade many a potential buyer or new fan.

By no means do I have a perfect book (does anyone?) and I’m sure there will a typo or two (hopefully just two) that evaded the many eyes that looked over Stones.

Writers and editors are still human, people! 😉

But, I think I’ve crafted an entertaining read, at the very least, and no one will feel the urge to “hurl this book across the room with disgust”.

What about you, fellow indies? How do you feel about reviews and how do you handle them?

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4 thoughts on “On Writers and Reviews

  1. Allie P. says:

    I’ve had reviews that made me want to cry (in a good way) and ones that made me want to shake my head (and fist). I can’t respond to either kind. But a review usually means someone read my work and I try to keep that fact in perspective.

    Like

  2. I’m a few month or so behind you, and likewise I’m starting to think about reviews, and to get nervous about them! But I keep reminding myself that the best I can do is focus on the craft and the story and write the best book I can. that’s all I can control. At the end of the day some people like certain books that others hate and vice versa – it’s all about finding your tribe and the people who will enjoy the kind of story you’re telling!

    Like

    • That’s what I have been doing! Just trying to produce the best possible product for my audience. Writing is still subjective, like other art forms, and not everything is going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

      Good luck on your publishing journey! 🙂

      Like

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