Thursday, August 12, 2010

When the bad hits the fan...

by: Joelle Charbonneau (for Dave on his fabulous honeymoon. Congrats!)

This week, I had a day where I found it hard to get words down on the page. On Tuesday, I was trolling some of the publishing trade reviews and found a review for the book of a close friend. It was the first review I’ve seen for the new book and it wasn’t good.

I have to admit that up until this week I’ve been burying myself in work trying hard not to think about the reviews that my book will get. I got the first one last week – thankfully, it was pretty good. More reviews are coming. Just knowing they are on the way makes me a little queasy.

Regardless of what my reviews will be, I know I’ll be okay with them. One person’s opinion will not make me like my writing more or less. The book is what it is. It won’t stand the test of time like Agatha Christie, but hopefully, it will make a few people laugh. That’s what I hope for.

Yet, the review for my friend left me reeling. My heart went out to that writer and to all the other writers with bad reviews in this week’s version of that publication. It hurt to see a reviewer tear apart hard work. The book may not be the writer’s best. I don’t know. I haven’t read it, although I will as soon as it hits the stands. Still, I wish my friend and all writers the strength and belief in themselves to keep writing even when the reviews or even editors and agents say your work isn’t strong. And if you have a trick to keep going when the bad hits the fan, feel free to share.


John McFetridge said...

It really depends on what the review says. A lot of reviewers, especially of genre books, have a pretty specific idea of what they're looking for. So, if that's not what I'm trying to do it doesn't bother me that they didn't like it.

The industry reviews, PW and Kirkus and so on, usually review books with an eye to, "Will it sell a lot?" as they are reviewing for bookstores. That sets up a whole different set of problems - what it means is they're comparing the book to others that have sold well and judging if it is similar enough to those.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

I agree with your opinion of reviews. The trade reviews are for bookstores. That's where the sick, sighing from me came in the other day. I don't mind reviews in general. A person is entitled their opinion, and personally, I believe that if I do my job right not everyone will like my work. In fact, I hope that some people love it and some people hate it. Then I've written something strong enough to evoke a reaction.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's part of the business, but let me tell you when I see a bad review of my kid's book, I put my guns in the holster and the saddle on the horse.