Well, it can’t all be sunshine and roses, can it? After a dozen excellent-to-very good reviews, today brought the first bad one. Lucky number 13? I’m not quite masochistic enough to link you to it, though it should be pretty easy to find if you are interested. In short, the reader simply did not like the style of the book [it made her scream], did not enjoy Destinee’s voice [and by, “did not enjoy,” I mean, “hated like fire”], and thought my sentences were too long.
I’ve wondered how the first bad review was going to hit me. I certainly want everyone to like the book. I’d like everyone to love the book. That’s not the way the world works, though. On the whole, I appreciate that the reviewer took time out of her life to read the book, and to write the review. I can’t hold either of us accountable for her taste–if you don’t like something, you don’t like it. It’s not right, or wrong, it simply is.
So how did it hit me? It was a shock, and then blindingly painful for about 30 seconds, then it was over. Of course, I’ve had some practice at rejection. Like the time I got blackballed by all the sororities on campus the 3rd day of Freshman Rush Week. THAT is mass rejection right there. Also, I had enough “no thank yous” from agents and publishers before Tiara Trouble sold that I realized there would be bad reviews in the offing.
A bad book review means you wrote, sold, published, and marketed a book with enough success that someone could come along and say, “Ew.” It means you wrote, sold, published, and marketed a book. Even a bad review is a reminder of your accomplishment. I have accomplished something WORTH taking the time to say, “Ew.” That’s not a bad thing.
When I wrote for the college paper, I got paid to review music, movies, and art shows. I remember getting this album by a new artist, listening to it and gagging into the typewriter that it sounded like a bad rip-off of Sinead O’Connor. I gave it a terrible review. The rest of the world loved it, and I think you could probably name five more Sarah McLachlan songs off the top of your head, than Sinead O’Connor tunes. And commercials. A band I loved, the Fatima Mansions, whose album I gave a rave review, are…nowhere. There is no accounting for taste.
I sent the reviewer a thank you for her time, and now I’ll focus on the text message I got today that read, “Just an fyi…my boss’s wife is ordering your book to give as Christmas gifts because she loves it. Oprah, here we come!”