This is what my husband told me after I became seriously heartbroken after another two-star review for my eco-fantasy novel, Water. His point was, my book will not be for everyone, just as Picasso’s work isn’t for everyone. I understand that. Hell – I embrace some of the more critical reviews and have made my novel better because of them.
To give you some perspective, as of today on Goodreads ‘Water’ has an average 3.86 stars out of 77 ratings. Here is the breakdown:
Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to have 77 ratings at all. But why am I so obsessed with the fact that I have a below four star average?
Probably because I, myself, hesitate to read anything that has below a four star average.
Why do I spend countless hours gritting my teeth and analyzing the one and two stars and significantly less time celebrating the four and five stars?
Because I am human.
As authors, and especially as indie authors, we can say we have a thick skin all we want. But years and years of work go into one novel, and very often, we have given up so much to make it a reality. So when someone tears our baby apart, basically encouraging others not to give it a chance, it hurts.
But this is the reality of putting your creative work out there. Musicians, actors, and artists all go through the same thing. Under constant criticism, good and bad, how do we find the motivation to continue? Here is what I will try to keep in mind:
- I can’t stop writing, any more than I could stop breathing. Even if the outlet of self-publishing wasn’t available to me, I would see my series through to the end – and then start on another series.
- Despite his haters *glares at husband*, Picasso remains the top ranked artist (based on sales of his works at auctions as of 2004 according to the Art Market Trends report).
- There are plenty of very popular and successful books with sub four star ratings on Goodreads to include Fifty Shades of Grey ,every single book in the Twilight Series, and plenty of Amanda Hocking’s books.
To be clear, I am not comparing my novels with these books – I aim to be better. I will also keep in mind that I don’t play it safe with my novels. I tackle tough issues; rape, violence, relationships that escalate too quickly, suicide, mental disorders, as well as gay characters. If that wasn’t enough, my third book of the series, Fire, which releases this October, opens with a birth scene. Squeamish? You won’t last the first chapter.
So I will take a deep breath, vow to stop starting my day by checking Goodreads, and….well…I will: