Just lately I seem to be reading a lot of blogs and writers newsletters about the appropriate way to deal with bad reviews. I don’t know why… just seems to be the flavour of the month. Most of the time the advice is, if you get a bad review, ignore it. Don’t respond. Don’t get mad. Move on. You’ve got the next book to write and you could do more damage than good by interacting with a dissatisfied reader.
In my opinion, writing a book is a lot like raising children. After birth you do your best to teach them, educate and bring out the best in them. You try to give them good morals so that they can make the tough decisions in adulthood. However, once they fly the nest, they’re on their own. You have to trust they will live a full and wonderful life without your interference. In fact, trying to retain control will only push them further away.
In the same way, once writers finish that last set of revisions and send those final pages to the publisher, the book is out of our hands. We have to let it go and hope that it lives a full and wonderful life in the big wide world without us there to hold it’s hand.
Good, bad or mediocre, I do enjoy hearing how my books are doing, “out on their own.” Today, I got an email from a lady who lives in Florida, that just MADE MY WEEK. She told me that she was on vacation in Kaua’i and stepped into a used book sale fundraiser at Princeville Library in Kaua’i. There she bought my novel, “The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots” for a dollar and proceeded to enjoy it very much. She now promises to buy the rest of the books in the series.
For me, getting this message was surreal. It just seemed so amazing that one of my books had travelled so far from home. Since this novel isn’t distributed in paperback to America, I can only assume that this particular child of mine is on a gap year in Hawaii. How great!
On a side note, I was also very pleased to hear how much this lady from Florida enjoyed the setting. At the writer’s conference I attended in August we were all given the bad news that American publishers aren’t really interested in buying romances with Australian settings given, “American readers prefer books only set in America.”
Well! I think there’s hope yet.