Today Amanda Bridgeman is back with part 4 of her guest blog series on being a successful writer – understanding!
All that hard work, all that heart and soul you poured into your story, dismissed within a few strokes of an angry reader’s keyboard.
But you must never respond to these reviews (even if the things they claim in the review are incorrect).
Just stop and think about the last time you read a book and thought ‘that was crap’ or ‘that was boring’ or ‘that wasn’t my cup-of-tea’.
Or what about the latest film you saw? Did you come out of the cinema and post on Twitter/Facebook ‘That ending was rubbish’.
Or did you post while watching a TV show about how unrealistic that car chase scene was? We all do it.
We all spew forth our criticisms about everything in life and generally it’s an easy thing to do because we don’t personally know the people behind what we’re criticising.
When you become a published author and are placed in the public eye, your thoughts on this will change dramatically.
At least, mine did.
When you experience first-hand public criticism, you tend to shift and adapt your own responses to things with this in mind.
I am more mindful now about ‘shooting from the hip’. I try to think about what I’m going to say publicly on Facebook, twitter, etc, before I say it.
Because I know now what it feels like to be on the receiving end, and I also know that once you say something on social media, etc, it is out there forever.
So when you have a reader/reviewer talking about your book and ‘shooting from the hip’, try to be understanding.
They don’t know you personally, they just, very honestly, didn’t like your book. And again, that’s the life of a writer.
Not everyone will like your book, just the same way that you won’t like everything that you read.
It is fundamental that you understand and accept this.
It is also fundamental that you don’t focus on the negative too much. You must focus your efforts on those that DO love your work.
After all, these are the people you write for, and these are the people who will champion your book.
You need to understand your market, you need to understand the industry, and most importantly you need to understand that not everyone will like your book.
Some authors don’t read any of their reviews – good or bad, but most, just like me, can’t help themselves.
We like to see what people loved about our books, and yes, if you’re serious about being a writer, you will also be interested to see what people didn’t like about your books, as it can be a useful tool in improving your writing.
I read an article on Stephen King once where he said (talking about beta readers), if one person says they don’t like something about your book, then that’s just their opinion.
But if five people say the same thing – you need to fix it. What your beta readers may have missed, the general public might not, and that may just help you with your next book.
Join Amanda tomorrow for the last part in her series: Gratitude.