So earlier this month I sent off Surviving on a Whisper for review on a professional reviewing site. It’s a great thing for authors—especially self-published ones such as myself—to do in order to get opinions and publicity. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day when I’d get the email notifying me that my book had been read and a review was posted. I mean, how exciting!
Here’s the thing, though: the reviewer gave it 2 out of 4 stars.
I’ll admit, I was crushed when I first read it. 2 out of 4? That’s my lowest rating I’ve gotten so far. I read through the highly anticipated review only to feel dejected, then stupid, which made me quickly try to hide my dejection. After all, you’re never going to please everyone, right? It’s impossible to truly get your book out there and not meet opposite opinions. I should’ve known that this would be coming sooner or later.
But I guess I didn’t, because it threw me for a loop. I was split into two halves: the defensive side and the doubtful side. After all, everyone who’d read it so far had loved it. What was wrong with her? Didn’t she realize how great my book was, just like everyone else? I noted the reviewer’s issues she pointed out—a lot of the things she said were right. Cue me deciding to throw my whole author idea away and set the dumpster on fire. How stupid was I? Did I really actually think I could write a decent novel? What was I thinking?
The embarrassment was scalding, so much so that I couldn’t read the review or post about it for weeks. I tried not to think about it, as that would only bring on more waves of stupidity and embarrassment. I stopped seeking reviews from other similar sources. The doubt had been planted and I didn’t want to open another review like that again.
Today I finally bit the bullet and opened the review again. I winced several times as I went through, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time. The reviewer was super nice and was very constructive in her criticism rather than tearing me apart—something I hadn’t noticed the first time. A few of the points she brought up I had an excuse for in my head, but most I understood and now appreciated the new points of view. She gave me great advice to keep in mind for the future, and even pointed out that she loved my character development and wished for a sequel.
Of course, part of me still wants to bury my head (and my book) in the sand—I mean, how embarrassing! Another part wants to rewrite the whole book with her advice. Another part is both excited and disheartened by the comments from fellow readers who expressed sadness that my novel failed to deliver for the reviewer, but compliments that I was so young and well wishes that I’ll improve.
I sent my book off for more reviews today—I am simultaneously more and less confident than I was the first time. Yeah, one person saw flaws and mistakes. At least I know I can take that now, right?
Yeah, I know. Just wait until my next bad review and I’ll be crying. But, hey, such is the life of a writer.
You can read the aforementioned review here.