when readers chime in….
I love hearing from readers, good or bad. I’ve been fortunate to get terrific reviews, with the exception of a couple out right attacks.
The bad comments I take with a grain of salt for the simple reason I’ve experienced many where I know for certain they didn’t read the book or they read it so fast they didn’t catch the tell tale clues. My books are not perfect by any stretch and I’m okay with that. I’ve been at this for 20 years and I’m still learning.
Regardless, reviews are subjective opinion and you can’t please everyone. Once a writer gets over that, it’s easier to take the harsh ones. No one wants to be criticized but that’s the way of a writer’s life. The writer is putting their hard work out there for you to be entertained. If they don’t do that, they fail. I’m the writer who always wants one more look at the manuscript before it goes out. I worked a month ahead of my deadlines for just that reason.
Also, before I was published I worked with a critique group of mostly military personnel and they were brutal. My skin grew thick quickly. They forced me to rethink and revise. I owe them more than they ever realized. I love it when a reader ‘gets it’ and this happened with my last book, Damage Control. The reviews weren’t great but a few got my theme through the story. Ah well, can’t win them all.
I think my advantage is I learned early, with my first couple novels, that once I give it to the editor, it’s not mine anymore. It’s theirs to edit, market, slap a cover on and sell. It’s out of my hands and this is the big part, Writers have NO control after that. They might talk a good game, but it’s the editor and marketing who control the release of a book. I sank a lot of money into promotion that it did little to no good. Being burned a few times keeps me scorch free. Besides, they don’t pay enough for me to promote much, trust me.
When a reader sends a note about loving my book, it’s a boost. Writing is solitary and it gets lonely at the keyboard. A note is like chatting with a friend I’ve missed, a kindred spirit. We revisit the story since by the time the book is released, I’m deep into the next one. Right now, that’s a historical set in 12th century Ireland during the Norman Invasion.