Reader reviews can be hard to take. For one thing, sometimes the review isn’t about the book, it’s about Amazon. Or the delivery timing. Or stuff way beyond the control of the author.
But sometimes, the reader simply doesn’t like something about your story.
When I wrote Scales of Justice, I was excited about how the story turned out. I thought I had a fairly rich character set, if not my stoic and secretive protagonist. My antagonist had legitimate reasons for why he is the way he is. And of course, I had cowboys and dragons. What more could you want?
Well, according to one reviewer, quite a bit.
A lot of negative reviews can be dismissed. There’s no accounting for taste after all. But sometimes the review is spot on with the critique. And this time, I took a bullet between the eyes. The reviewer’s remarks were pointed and correct, and I wanted to crawl under my desk and vomit. Then wallow in it.
What they said wasn’t bad. It wasn’t hurtful. But it did hurt. Because if I had been a better storyteller, a better writer…those things couldn’t have been said.
Some of you helped me with the story, and I appreciate it. But I guess there’s something to be said about having more eyes on the pages. Critique partners might have been helpful, or maybe giving more time before publication for a few trusted sources to continue sounding off and letting me know what was wrong with the story.
Unfortunately, the reader did it for me.
Next time, I’ll do a bit better.
How about you, fellow writers? How do you respond to feedback which isn’t stellar?