Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bumps & Bruises

It's been about 1 month since Darkspell released--2 weeks since I've had my print copies!

Is life suddenly rainbows and pink clouds? Nope. The book dream doesn't stop here.

I had to wait a week before my printed versions arrived at my doorstep so that I could mail my signed and numbered beauties to awaiting fans. It was the very next work day, my entire family came down with the severe flu--including myself!

I've just shipped off over 30 books this past week, and I'm barely feeling better.

Okay, so here's the bomb: I had my first 4 "rejections" within a 2 week period before my books arrived. They are all from people I know! What I mean by rejection is that they didn't like Darkspell. These people are my close friends and family. Wait, don't go, I have something important to tie in with this lesson.

I've read somewhere--and I wish I could remember where--that if someone gives your book a bad review, it's because you've reached outside your marketing range. It's like submitting a query letter to an agent that loves horror and yours is a picture book.

Can you see what I'm saying?

I'd have to say that I am VERY grateful for these 4 people because it knocked the shock factor into me right off the bat, but now it's not so shocking anymore when I got a 2 star review--amid a sea of 5 stars--saying that it wasn't what she thought.

She's right. My book isn't her cup of tea. Just because it isn't, doesn't mean it's a BAD book. Like when you get rejected by an agent or publisher. It's NOT a bad book, it just doesn't appeal to their tastes--whatever they are at the moment.

One thing is for sure, this 2 star reviewer has made me realize something about "real life". She's honest and upfront. That's more than what I get when I'm stuck in a crowd of smiling people who know me and won't give me the time of day to say hi or at least say WHY they don't 'like' me. (Actions are louder than words, you know...)

What do you think?

For aspiring authors, it's pretty much the same type of rejection when you get your edits back, those nasty rejection letters and such, but being "public" now means that people have permission to make their thoughts public. Be ready!

Those who are published, how do you handle the bad reviews? 


  1. I'm hearing you on this one. I look like those bananas a lot of days.

  2. I agree. When I send my books out for reviews, I try to find reviewers who like the genre of my book or at least is widely read enough to appreciate it. Sometimes I am not confident they are going to like the genre. When that happens, I go out of my way to describe what my books are.

    Still, I have gotten a few low star reviews. Usually the complaints are nothing new to me. As long as the reviewer is honest and fair, I think I have walked away strengthened in the knowledge that I understand where I need to grow as a writer.

    As a writer, you tell the story you want to tell. There will always be someone saying "you didn't tell this part" or "I think that happened too fast." Their opinions don't make your choice wrong. Keep focused on the storytelling, work on your craft, and you will succeed in the areas that count.

    PS I am looking forward to reading Darkspell, but I haven't had the time to devote to it. It looks like a great book.

  3. Yah, the biggest comment I get back from readers/agents/whatever is (in my words) 'we like a lot about your book and writing, but your story is too high-fantasy for our normal reads/lists.' lol Yup. I like off-world fantasy :)

  4. I think when a dear friend read a beta version and disliked it, she tried couching it in nice terms: your writing voice seems to change, I prefer things that you wrote about xxx, etc. Turns out she doesn't like the genre. There was nothing wrong with my book, some of her ideas were good, but the book itself was not the cause - her dislike for historical fantasy made her react negatively.

    There is a ton of good things to be learned from bad comments - possibly the most important is that someone will always like and someone will always dislike what you've done as an artist. It really isn't about YOU. Got to admit, I'm still wrestling with that one, but you have a very good set of observations here. Right on!

  5. You sure are taking it well! I'm pretty sure most of my friends and family won't like the genre that I'm writing in - but you're right, it doesn't mean it's a BAD book. I haven't given myself the chance to be rejected yet...I need to be brave when the time comes:)

  6. What an excellent attitude!

    Not published yet, so no advice on handling reviews that I can give. One of these days! :)

  7. i had a bad review for one of my picture books, it knocked me a bit, but then i thought it's all part of the process. A friend said to me that once you put your work out there you have to let it go and be prepared for any type of reaction. I think trying to carve a niche in any creative field means you have to have skin so thick its practically like concrete. And love your own work.

  8. Reached out of your target market - that's an excellent way to look at it!
    Family didn't slam me (most of them haven't even read my book) but I got zapped before it was even released by a lackluster Publishers Weekly review - and on the same day I got one from Library Journal that rocked the house!

  9. I think you make an excellent point about 'outside your market.'
    Most of my rejections from editors and agents have to do with them thinking they can't sell epic fantasy and that they really want paranormal or urban fantasy. I can deal with that because I know the shelves are full of it.

  10. Oh, I remember going through this the first time. It was hard because mine came to my face at a book club where I was the visiting author. Honestly, I don't read reviews anymore because I don't feel they are my business. If a reader wants me to know how they feel about my book, they will send me an email, and I'm good with that.

    It's a hard truth that publishing is not the land of unicorns and cupcakes. It opens up an entirely new world of disappointments and successes, just like anything else in life. But it's certainly worth it. :)

  11. All I can say is big big hugs to you!!!! It's best to just ride the storm with style and grace as you do!! Take care

  12. Laura--oh so true! I know that, more often than not, authors suffer in silence. I've spoken with more than 3 published ones that felt discouraged or overwhelmed to a certain point. We just don't make it known because, I think we are something like role models, we can't complain in public because it makes us look bad and we can't recant the words once they're out.

    Rachel, you're awesome for doing that! What I do is send off a letter that introduces myself and my book along with a link (Wattpad) that has 10 chapters posted. I ask them if they like what they read, to get in touch with me. I think, like a query letter, we need to let the potential reviewer know what they "are getting into". Darkspell will be here whenever you can! ;)

    Paulette--it's frustrating to go through that, I know. We want good, honest and OBJECTIVE feed back. Thanks for your comment! :)

    Thena, that's tough! I think it works better when we can find someone who enjoys the same genre we write! I believe it will be a journey for me. I'm trying to stay positive on this one!

    Lady Gwen, I'm here if you need a mentor or a shoulder. Honestly! ;)

    David, thank you! It's a different animal that much is for sure. Lol. Ugh...

    Amphigora, that's SO true! We need to love what we are and what we do and it's someone else's problem if they won't/can't accept it. Oh, to always remember this!

    Alex, I'm so glad you had a brilliant review from Library Journal! Btw, how did you get it in there? I'd love the same treatment! ;)

    Susan, it's funny how the band wagon of seasons happen. Now it's paranormal and urban fantasy. When will be the time for the Old West again, Epic Fantasy? Remember those days? I believe it's up to us to set a new standard for those genres and get something brilliant to set the new wave!

  13. Michelle, you're right. Being a writer feels like a different creature to us because there are SO many factors that sets us apart from most careers, BUT the trials we face are no different than any one else's. Thanks for the thoughts. <3

    Jennifer, thank you for your sunshine! *HUGS*

  14. It's so important to have people who review be a fan of the genre. Because if they aren't, they're probably not going to give it a fair review. And no matter who you are or what you write someone probably isn't going like it. I think you're doing a great job keeping it all in perspective :)

  15. No author can please every reader. Even best-sellers are criticized.

    I don't like every book I read, but I would never give a two star public rating on a friend's book. Private constructive criticism is one thing, but doing something publicly that might hurt a friend is not good for the soul.

    I recently read a scathing review of a young women's first novel. I thought it was totally unfair and uncalled for. It made me wonder why someone would want to be so harsh. Like the vast majority of other reviewers, I thoroughly enjoyed the young author's book.

    You're doing great, Elizabeth. Don't sweat the small stuff. It happens to every author.

  16. Well, Elizabeth, you have just brought someone "into" your target market, from outside. I posted a link to your review on my sister's fb page (instead of sending her a message like I had planned) to ask her if my 13 year old neice might enjoy your book as a gift. In about 10 minutes, my neice had "asked" for the book for Christmas. She has always been a "real life" genre lover, didn't even really like " the Warriors" series by Erin Hunter...But she wants your book.
    Wondering if it is still possible to get signed copies?
    I might have to read it before I mail it to her! lol


  17. Ouch. You point is a good one though not everyone like the same thing. This is good because we all right different stuff.

  18. oh. ((big hugs)) that's tough stuff. :o( But you're right! Just like there are different lovers of different genres, there are different books for different readers! Hang in there and best of luck going forward! :o) <3

  19. Interesting blog. Good luck with your book. I will be back.


  20. That's tough. I'm glad you've gained some good perspective. I think I'm not going to even read reviews, actually.

  21. That's good you had the mental preparation of those first rejections. We DO have to realize not everyone will love our book. You are so right!

  22. Marcy, you're right. I can't please everyone.

    Jack, so sad for this debut author. I think that sometimes readers are jealous and don't like how most of the reviews are 5 stars so they just have to be the black sheep...kinda like the saying that goes, "There's one in every crowd"!

    Kim, of course we get get a signed copy to you! Did you get my email?

    Southpaw, so true!

    LTM, thank you! I need all the luck I can get!

    Cassiopeia, thank you!

    Angie, thank you! I love reading the reviews from those who rave about my book on my wall on Facebook! <3

    Carol, thank you. Yes, we do...


Welcome to my blog! I love reading your comments, so please don't be shy and comment away. Also, because of the outrageous number of Anonymous Spam comments I've been receiving, I have opted from that availability--I apologize for any inconvenience!