“Without a doubt that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.”
If you are a parent and have a small child or baby those words can have a devastating effect. Has anyone ever said that? In a world where people kill each other because they are the wrong race, or religion or nationality, then yes, I am sure someone has said that.
What does that have to do with writing fiction?
The other day I had a fan contact me saying how much he/she enjoyed my first book Darkwater. He/she said they gave it five stars on Amazon (and they did). He/she also wrote in the email how they were looking forward to reading book two of the series.
So I waited anxiously for their review of book two (first mistake). When I looked at the books reviews (second mistake) I saw the person gave it one star. Then I read the review (final mistake and nail in coffin). Aggh! The agony they gave my book one star. The nearly 80,000 words I poured blood sweat and tears into was ripped apart. Oh the humanity!
Fortunately, God saw that one coming (he sees it all coming) and that very night I got another wonderfully written email from a fan thanking me for writing the Xenkur series.
Still the review bothered me. If someone told you that your baby was ugly (see how I tied that in). You know it’s not true and yet that doesn’t prevent the comment from twisting a knife in your heart.
That’s what a novel is to the person who wrote it. It’s there baby. They have worked countless hours, days, years writing the novel. It is their love, their passion. No one would take the time to write a solid novel if there wasn’t a hunger to create.
When I first started getting reviews, I thought it would be helpful to read them. Possibly glean some information that would improve the book and my writing. So I read every review. But, quickly found out there isn’t really anything to help hone my craft in the reviews, (even the five star ones).
So what is a writer to do?
It’s simple: DONT look at your reviews and DONT read them.
It’s great to get reviews, especially positive ones, but I no longer believe it’s important to read them. In fact, I think it is harmful to your craft. If your reading reviews and they say, for example, “I didn’t like the Bob character, he was to wishy-washy.” You may begin to second-guess yourself and your writing. That is the death-knell of creativity.
So write it the way you want do your best to create a quality novel. Remember it’s your baby. And if people love it, great! And if they don’t? Just keep writing. What do “they” know anyway.
I’m not saying books should not get one star reviews. Just be cognizant of what you’re doing.
I’m also not saying you should not post reviews. Reviews are the bread and butter of Indie authors and will help their income.
DW is an author and an artist. He has been creating paintings and photographs for over 40 years. He lives in Eastern Kansas with his daughter, a large epileptic dog, three cats, and a barnyard of chickens and ducks.