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The dreaded R word: no, not rejection.

IWSG badgeThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the February 4 posting of the IWSG will be Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!

Reviews.

The word sends a chill down a writer’s spine. You’ve spent months, years, millenia (or at least it feels like it) working on your book/novella/story. You’ve clipped and snipped and fleshed out. You’ve edited and rewrote. You’ve gotten feedback and advice from people you trust. You’ve polished that baby until it shines.

Now you’re going to set it down carefully, gleaming and beautiful, before the masses, to gawk at. Your baby. Your precious, glistening darling. The outpourings of your heart, so sweetly woven onto the page with just the right words.

Inevitably, someone is going to make a face and stick their tongue out at it.

As the first pre-pub reviews of some of my work roll in, I’m torn between checking Goodreads and book review sites every ten minutes with big, pleading eyes like a dog begging for a table scrap, and hiding underneath the covers on my bed, not wanting to know, and never ever coming out again, ever.

No matter what, someone is going to hate my writing and they’re not going to be afraid to tell the world. Someone is going to pick my work apart and then shake it off like something gross clinging to their fingers. On the flip side, someone will probably (hopefully!) love it and won’t stop gushing about how much they love it. Sending your book out for review is like wearing a new dress to a party: someone might say “wow, she looks like a cow in that!” while someone else says “wow, that fits your curves beautifully!” Everyone has different tastes. Everyone sees from a different perspective.

If you’re going through the hell of ‘getting reviews,’ or you will be in the near future, here is my advice to you:

  • Breathe. Breathe a lot. But don’t hyperventilate!
  • Drink: coffee, soothing tea, or an entire box of wine, depending on your mood.
  • Practice saying “I’m still published, no matter what you say about me.”
  • Remember that a bad review is just someone’s opinion…and so is a good review.

The most potent remedy for a review, bad (after which you cry) or good (after which you can’t stop admiring how clever you are) is to get your nose back to the grindstone and write. It helps ease the nerves and tension. And also, you want more stuff for people to point and laugh at, right?

A personal anecdote: two weekends ago, my best friend and I went to Chicago for a visit. We both desperately love Chicago and try to visit as often as possible. My Siren Song series of books is set in Chicago and the first one is coming out in March–she has read an advance copy. During dinner our first night there, unprompted, she suddenly expresed to me how much she loved a description of Chicago in the first book and how true she felt it was.

I will treasure that more than a thousand five star reviews. Always hold close the opinions of people you love, above all other’s.

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

25 thoughts on “The dreaded R word: no, not rejection. Leave a comment

  1. Someone gave me some good advice before I published my first book – once the book is out there, it is no longer yours. It belongs to the reader. I didn’t fully appreciate how important a bit of detachment would be until the reviews started coming in. It’s hard not to take the negative comments personally.

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  2. They say not to read your own reviews. Curiosity always gets to me and I have to. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. Good luck with your new release.

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  3. When I saw my first novel published, reviews truly set my heart racing. Bad ones turned my eyes into rivers. But these days I have a more balanced approach. It’s always accelerating to get positive reviews, but I honestly think a book without a single negative review is just unreliable. As a reader trying to discern the quality of a book from the cover is tough, so we trust reviews–to a certain degree. If a book has 5 reviews, the sample is too small, but if it has 100 positive, that’s bullshit. Hemingway has negative reviews, for Christ-sake! LOL

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  4. The reviews are part of the hazards of the business of writing. Maybe we should be more afraid if absolutely every review were stellar. A bad review lacks credibility if there is nothing to back it up. If a review is honest with good points to clarify what the reviewer is saying then it should be a learning experience no matter if the review is good or bad.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  5. So much easier said than done, eh? I dwell on things, I’m terrible for it. I still think about things people said to me 20+ years ago! I’m not good with reviews, I let them affect me way too much. But you’re right, the only opinions that matter are from people that matter.

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  6. It always great when friends reference your writing without you bringing it up. Writing can feel like such a lonely activity. It’s nice to know your friends do share in it just a little.

    Also, bad reviews may be opinions, but good reviews are indisputable facts. 😉

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    • Hahaha, I’ll have to remember that! And yes, its awesome to get a compliment without fishing for it. Goodness knows I’ve had my bait on the line so many times…

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I can only imagine how tough it is to not read the reviews. I’m unpublished, so the closest I have is contest feedback by people who don’t know me and don’t need to be nice. But my book isn’t in print so I can change things at that point if needed. I think you’re right to focus on a thoughtful comment from a friend. I find reviews helpful, but some are just so mean and not very comprehensive about the book.

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    • Yes. I haven’t gotten any really mean reviews yet, but I know they’re always possible. I’m going to try to remind myself that if someone is mean, it’s their problem, not mine. I think as writers we face a constant battle of wanting other people’s opinions on our work and then dreading hearing those opinions.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I would say don’t pay too much attention to the reviews, especially the bad ones. You can’t exactly rewrite your published book to make one cranky reader happy. Unfortunately we can’t please everyone, but it’s important to focus on those readers who we can please.

    February IWSG Co-host

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