Sunday, May 19, 2013

Good Reviews, Bad Reviews...and Selling Out.

I read a post this morning before going to church and it really got to me. An author felt as if she had sold out by writing erotic romance. 

Oh, really? Are you kidding me?

Her other books, the ones that tanked and led to her great downfall, would benefit in the long run. The readers of her erotic romances would now buy the books she really wanted out there. In essence, she did what needed doing to get her true art, sold. She doubted, however, she would ever recoup all the money she had pumped into her masterpieces.

Hello...? Anybody home in there?

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, yes? When those opinions apply to yourself and your life, you are even more entitled to them. Therefore, she passed her opinion about herself and her writing and announced to the world her erotic romances that have been praised made her a "sell out".

I began to wonder what made her go off on that tangent. Why would she consider herself a sell out and not a gifted writer with a God given talent? Why wouldn't she celebrate her ability to be able to find another genre she wrote so well in that she connected with a large readership? Perhaps, it is the half-full versus half-empty theory. Look at a glass as half full and you're putting a positive spin on things; when it is viewed as half-empty, it has negative connotations. To me, she insulted not only her readers but herself and her talent. My personal affront came when she referred to the Goodreads audience as mother effers. Wait, what? I'm not only a writer and a reader but a member of the Goodreads community and I take umbrage to being called an MF. There's no need to lash out if others are passing opinions on comments you put out there for the world to see. And it is definitely uncalled for to call people out of their names as you did.

As for you calling yourself a sell out. So be it. You're the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror every morning. Whether you see a sell out or a gifted writer is completely up to you. 

C'est la vie.

Tomorrow is release day for Picture Perfect and we are waiting with baited breath for the reviews to come in. We've had two so far and both had us jumping up and down in happiness. However, I'm bracing myself for the not-so-good reviews, too. Reviews are necessary. They can propel your mood to incredible heights and send you crashing back to earth in one day. The good ones urge you on and the less than stellar ones give you pause. They help you to learn and hone your writing skills. We, as writers, thrive on knowledge and new discoveries. An AHA moment where everything falls into place. I've discovered, over the years, it takes all types of reviews to sharpen your thinking and toughen your skin. Okay, I admit it, I might sniffle if a review attacks me as a writer, instead of the storyline, the characters, the pacing. Oh, all right. I'm caught.  YES, I sniffle at all of them.

Reviews are necessary. They allow other readers a glimpse into your story. I have read more than my fair share before I come to the end of a book, especially if they have spoilers and I'm at a point in a novel where I'm on pins and needles. It all started years ago when I read a book and three quarters into it when everything seemed to be going well for the H/h, the hero had sex in a garden with another woman and the heroine found them together. That was a nasty surprise and my heart broke for the heroine. Besides my being innately nosy, I didn't want that type of shock again.  

Reviews are necessary. They give credibility to your writing. I'm a wreck right now. I want nothing but glowing, four or five star ratings. In the real world, that just doesn't happen. What one reader finds brilliant, another will see as rubbish. As a writer, the very thought that someone might dislike your work as art is painful. . As a reader, I can relate. I've loved books others have hated and hated books others have loved. Sometimes, I can't even pinpoint the reason why I didn't like a book. I just didn't. The books I've had that experience with make me wonder about my reasons for not liking a book more than the books I can readily explain what made me dislike it.

Years ago, I would send a note of thanks to every reviewer (not reader, mind you) who took the time to read my books. Positive, negative, or somewhere in between, I thanked them. These people didn't have to read my book, after all. Nowadays, it is a no no to comment on someone's review of your book. So I don't. But, here, on my blog, I can thank each and every one of you. For better or for worse, you took the time to read my book and took more time to gather your thoughts and express your opinion. Thank you.

Now, someone, please send me a bottle of scotch to drink when I receive the not so good reviews and a bottle of champagne for the kick ass ones.


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