Recently a very dear friend received a crushing rejection. Several days earlier another close friend received a lousy review. I’ve suffered my share of both. I try not to let them get to me, but if I’m truly being honest? Of course, they sting.
I know some authors who never read their reviews. Me? I’m like a moth drawn to a flame. I click on every link Google Alerts sends me. I can’t get through a day without logging into NovelRank at least once or twice (or three or four or twelve times) to check my Amazon sales.
Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, came out the beginning of January. Reviews have been dribbling in. At the same time, I’m still receiving reader reviews for Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series. Midnight Ink did a month-long free Kindle download of the book in January, which is now resulting in lots of reviews being posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere.
I’m not naïve enough to think everyone will love my books. Why should they? Taste is subjective. I’ve tossed aside books after a chapter or two that other people have raved about, that reviewers have given high praise to, that have made “the lists.” And I’ve loved other books that have received poor reviews and made no lists.
No matter how many people love a book, there are always others who don’t. As a writer I know that there will always be someone ready and willing to rain on my Happy Parade, rejecting my manuscript or proclaiming to the world via Amazon or cyber-review sites, or in the print media that my darling, that precious newborn I labored so hard to produce, is a butt-ugly spawn of the devil. All I can hope is that more people love my books than hate them. Yet no matter how pragmatic I try to be, it doesn’t make the rejection or the bad review any easier to take.
Which brings me back to my two friends because this is what I told them: Not every editor is going to fall in love with your next book, and you’re never going to please every reviewer. It didn’t make either of them feel any better. I didn’t expect it to, but still we say these words to each other because that’s what friends do at times like this. We also first rail about how unfair life is and how so-and-so wouldn’t know a good book if it bit her in the behind. Then we offer a shoulder, a never-ending stream of margaritas, and heaps of chocolate -- not necessarily in that order. We do this for each other because we’ve all been there and will undoubtedly be there again. We, more than anyone else, understand the pain of rejection and scathing reviews.
And that’s something that I’m very thankful for, today and every day. I’m thankful for a community of friends who understands the fragility of an author’s ego. No matter how supportive our spouses, non-writer friends, and relatives might be (for those lucky enough to have supportive spouses, non-writer friends, and relatives), they really don’t and never will ‘get it.’ Only another writer can understand the emotional roller coaster of being a writer.
So I’m declaring today, March 8th as Thankful Thursday, and in doing so, I raise my margarita class and pass the cyber-chocolates to my fellow writers.
Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series. The first book, Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun, was a January 2011 release and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Death by Killer Mop Doll was a January release. Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.