I'm very excited to be part of The Indelibles Indie Life series. These posts run on the second Wednesday of every month and include ideas and articles from a wide variety of indie authors. Check out the links below to learn more about INDIE LIFE.
I have only been doing this a couple of months. So far I have touched on the aspects of balance and quality.
Today I want to talk about attitude.
Being an author, you need a really tough skin. Your work of fiction is a part of you. It's born in the heart and grows over the days and weeks as you put the story together. Finally you have this baby that you want to share with the world...and that's when you're the most vulnerable.
Readers are honest and they have every right to be. You have put yourself out there and they are free to respond to your work as they see fit. Unfortunately that can be a really painful experience. Getting those five star reviews puts you on cloud nine. You feel elated that someone out there thinks your work rocks. You have given them an escape from reality and they have enjoyed it. But then come the one and two star reviews and these sting. Your work is torn to shreds as readers find every mistake and reason not to like it. Ouch! It really hurts.
It's in moments like these that you have to decide what attitude you'll take. As a child I always loathed criticism. I didn't fight it or try to justify it, I just believed it. This whole writing experience has taught me that I don't have to do that anymore.
Reading is subjective. I don't like every piece of fiction I read, so why should everyone like my stuff. I know some authors say you shouldn't read reviews at all, but I feel that if someone has taken the time to write a review for me, then I should take the time to read it...even the bad ones. Yes, they sting, but sometimes I have learned things that I can tuck away for future projects. I have to remind myself that it is just someone's opinion. Sometimes I want to respond, to write to the reviewer and explain why I did something the way I did, but I don't feel like that will get my anywhere. If anything, it'll just make me look desperate for approval. I don't need their approval. I have it from various other places. I wouldn't have even published the book in the first place if my beta readers hadn't told me it was worth it. No matter what, I have to brush off the biting words and focus on the five star reviews. And then I keep writing. I keep working on my craft and I make sure to never let my attitude slump into a place that will stop me from doing what I love.
Writing is a tough job. It can be lonely, frustrating and it takes a lot of work, but if you love it enough, you'll stick with it.
How do you cope with negative reviews?