Shiloh's Advice to authors….

*G*  Maybe we should make this a regular feature.  FYI, I have a very odd sense of humor and I’m about as blunt as they come.  None of this post is meant as an insult or meant to be condescending.  It’s just some insight that I’ve come to in the past uh…. hmmm… I THINK four years of being published.  And I think it’s something to take notice of, especially if you’re a new author.

You’re going to get bad reviews.  I’m sorry, but it’s a fact of life.  As much as I’d like to think that everybody is going to adore every word that flows from my fingertips, it’s not going to happen.

The sooner we learn to accept that, as authors, the happier a lot of people are going to be. 

You see a negative review… here’s what you do…. go to the browser, type in and then do a search for “the answer to life the universe and everything“… 

Yes, you get a weird answer and no, it’s not going to make all the ruffled feathers all better.   But there’s the thing… it’s just a review.  It’s one person’s opinion.  Chances are there are others out there who loved your book.  Life is too short to sit there at the PC, steaming, crying or just plain miserable because a reviewer didn’t like your book.  Or a reader. Or your great aunt Imelda.  It’s just too short. 

Believe me, I know how hard writers work on their books.  I’m not going to claim I sweat blood and tears.  I love what I do, and blood and tears implies agony to me.  Writing isn’t agony, and I don’t think it should be (I’m not big into the martyrdom thing so I don’t really want to hear how Author X suffers for her art)  But I do know how much work goes into it.  I know how disheartening it can be to see a bad review.  You poured all the time into it.  You want people to love it.  Almost like a baby, maybe, nine months of carrying it, you love it, thinks the baby is the sweetest, cutest most adorable thing on earth…and then somebody says your baby is ugly.  I’m going to get more irate over somebody insulting my child than a book, but there you go… a generic example.  After all that work, you want to think everybody is going to see the same wonderful story you saw in your head.

When that doesn’t happen, it blows.  All that time and this reviewer thinks they can bash your creation…. well, yeah.  They can.

I think too many writers forget something.  The readers spend their hard earned money on our books.  They work just as hard for their money as we do for our books and they want to enjoy what they spend their dollars on.  When they spend it on a book they think sucks, they have a right to be unhappy. If they want to go and tar and feather it on their blog, they do have that right.  Before anybody gets it in their head to say, you tell me that after your book gets trashed…. well, I’ve been there done that and I survived.  I mean, I’m a writer and I’m lucky enough to be published which means there is somebody out there who isn’t going to like my writing.  That’s just the way it works.

More, I don’t really think reviews are for ‘us’, meaning writers, anyway.  They are for readers. Does that mean an even bigger reason to get upset…possible sales lost?  Nah.  I don’t think so.  I’ve bought books based off a negative review before.  Lots of readers do.  I’ve loved books that others have hated and books others loved, I hated.  It’s all opinion, anyway.

You can avoid a lot of the heartache by simply not reading reviews.  If you can’t look at them objectively and see if maybe the reader or reviewer has some valid points ~I’ve learned some things about my writing just from reading reviews and hopefully I’ve improved~ then just don’t read reviews.  Period.

If you just can’t stop yourself…save yourself the trouble of looking like a fool and just suffer in silence.  Because when you jump on the reviewer, that’s exactly what you’ll end up looking like the majority of readers.  A fool. Or worse, a bitchy author.  I dunno about you, but I’ve seen some authors lash out at readers on the net and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I don’t buy authors who leave a bad taste in my mouth and I know I’m not the only one.  You can avoid losing readers that way by simply suffering in silence.  If you have to say anything….Thanks for reading/buying my book.  Sorry you didn’t like it. 

Believe me, that response will serve you better than You stupid, ungrateful, simple minded tramp, what do you know about writing!  Or any variation thereof.

I was over at Karen Scott’s blog and an interesting discussion started going downhill after a bunch of people decided to A) use it to hurl insults at a publisher B) decry it and announce they will tell everybody they know to never ever go there C) a combination of the above.  It was mentioned in a comment by Kathryn Falk, RT Extraordinaire, that she’d gotten comments related to Karen’s blog post, threatening to resign, one was considering suicide….

Uh…. if somebody is seriously considering suicide over anything that was read anywhere on the WWW, they need help.  Serious help.  Please get it.

The entire thing isn’t going to end anybody’s world.  People, this is a reader’s blog.  People have their opinions and they are entitled to them.  Just like you’re entitled to disagree and hate their opinions.  The world will keep spinning after a bad review.  One bad review isn’t going to mean the end of your writing career. 

Okay, that’s enough heavy thinking for me tonight.  Law and Order: SVU is on here in a while, so I need to get kidlets to bed and pour me a glass of wine….