This 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!
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.