Welcome to L. Leander Author of Inzared
Those Wretched Reviews!
Ever since I published my first novel on Amazon I have become a zealot. I hound the site, looking for my numbers, reviews, ranking – anything that pertains to the book. I really thought something must be wrong with me, but after I talked to a few fellow authors I realize this is pretty much the norm. After you’ve worked hard on something you want to see results. Ahem, let me rephrase that. You want to see positive results.
The first few weeks of publishing have been a whirlwind. I’ve done interviews, radio shows and a free promotion for the book. Each day I log on to Amazon hoping to see another five star review. I racked up a few and maybe my head was getting just a little too big for my hat? I’ve enjoyed the feeling of writer worthiness; that I have somehow arrived; that they like me - they really like me.
After thirteen or so five-star reviews I got a couple of four-stars. I can handle this, I thought. It’s constructive and everyone is entitled to an opinion, right? However, I was a little disappointed to see my perfect score waver a bit.
I had my KDP promotion and gave away a zillion books (well I guess it was really only 10,000) but it seemed like a zillion! I was glad to do this, as I really hoped to get readers interested in the series and maybe a few would even leave reviews.
Ugh! I got my wish. Yesterday I logged onto Amazon and was horrified. I had a two-star review. I who previously had a perfect record (that is, until the four-star reviews) now had a two-star? What’s up with this? I thought. Who doesn’t like the book?
I bet I read that review four or five times, trying to glean some positive feedback. It didn’t really give me any. Just that the reader was “disappointed.” In what? I thought. Tell me more, let me understand why you didn’t like it.
I’m not proud to say it got to me. All of those good vibes the positive feedbacks had built up inside of me evaporated over that one two-star review. I felt unaccepted, disliked; kind of like the kid who gets bullied at school. I got writer’s block and couldn’t find words to put on paper (I’m working on the second book in the series).
I finally got the nerve to tell my husband. Like the good man he is he railed against someone who would be so stupid as to say something unkind about my novel. He is perhaps the only other person in the world besides me who understands the long hours of research and writing it has taken to even get the book written, let alone the hours of marketing and networking I am now doing to get it in the public eye. It made me feel better to hear him say the words, but deep down I know this is my battle, not his.
This morning I hopped on over to Goodreads and I’ll be darned if I didn’t have yet another two-star review. That’s it, I thought. I’m all done. What did I ever think I could write a book for anyway? I knew I’d never be great, why should I even work on the second? Am I a glutton for punishment?
So, I stomped around for awhile, did some other things, and sat back down to write. As usual, my characters had plenty to say and they talked faster than my fingers could key in the words. There’s no stopping the muse when it speaks to you. I came away from the writing session and looked at the reviews again. One actually had some constructive criticism. What can I learn from this? I thought. Not for this book but maybe for the next?
In summary I have this to say. We write because we have to. Not always because we want to. We cannot expect the entire world to like us, even though we’re likeable. We can’t expect five-star reviews every day. Even the best authors don’t get them. As a matter of fact, wouldn’t something be wrong with a portfolio full of five-star reviews? Wouldn’t it look fake? As a singer/songwriter I have boxes of rejection letters. I learned to take them in stride. Some publishers took the time to tell me why they didn’t like a particular song and others didn’t. I didn’t quit writing, but tried to take their advice to heart.
So, today I put on my big girl panties and a big smile and went back to work. There’s still a little hurt spot in my heart but it’ll heal. I know I’m not perfect. (I thought my book was, though). My hat now fits on my head again and life is back to normal. I saw a post on one of my Facebook groups the other day. Someone posted “I have just received a two-star review – now I feel like I’ve made it!” I’ve only got one thing to say – LIAR! I know it hurt you as much as it hurt me, but at least you’ve got the grace to smile and continue on. I’m trying. I’ll do better tomorrow!
Thank you for letting me vent. I’d love to have you visit me on my own blog or my website. Let me know you stopped by – I’d love to chat!
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Many thanks to L.Leander for being my Guest Author on this wonderful Wednesday and don't forget to come by for The Saturday Showcase where you can find out everything about her fabulous novel ~ Inzared
Until then, stay cool and read more!