Sometime in the very near future, reviews of my book will be appearing in the wild. I’ve gotten a lot of well-meaning advice from friends to the effect of “don’t read them.” But let’s be honest, here. I wrote this book. I sent it out for three rounds of Beta. I rewrote parts of it extensively. I sent it into the world and signed the contract to get it out to readers. How could I not read reviews?
I am totally going to read them.
Some of them will be positive. Those I’m going to love. Some of them I’m going to quote, either on Facebook, or on this site.
Some of them won’t be nice. Those, I’ll do my best to shake off and move on. I think I can. One thing about being raised by a woman who beat me down nearly every day–I’m very good about hiding my hurt.
And yeah, they will hurt. How could they not? When one has poured oneself into a project for as long as it takes to write a book, and then a reader says it stinks, how could that not hurt? But that doesn’t mean they meant to hurt me.
The bottom line is, no story works for everyone. I happen to really like William Trevor’s Fools of Fortune, but others find it dreary and depressing. I love space opera, others find it silly. No big deal. The world is big enough for all sorts of things to coexist, even things that are oppositional.
Accordingly, I will never respond to any negative reviews. And I ask you, readers who like my stuff, to follow my lead. Don’t engage. Don’t comment and tell them they’re wrong, don’t say anything, and for the love of all you hold dear, please do not send me links.
Send me links to positive reviews, by all means. But leave the negative ones alone. Either I’ve already seen them or I will eventually.
I try to live by a philosophy I call “Let people like things.” Even things I don’t like. The opposite side of that is “Let people dislike things.” I love the Ant-Man movies. My wife doesn’t. That’s okay. More than okay, it’s how the world works.