The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.
~ Ernest Heming
Everyone is a critic. Authors must grow a thick skin.I am both an author and a critic. I'm not proud to say I have been unkind at times, but being an author has made me more aware of criticism and how hurtful it can be. I've read some harsh and nasty public reviews of other author's novels online.
I found these reviews on Amazon:
Sorry but I think this author needs to find another profession. Could not go on after the 3rd chapter! Reads like a child wrote it.And another, after a paragraph of why the book didn't work for her, she ended with:
I won't recommend this book to my friends.I am grateful these reviews were not aimed at me or my book, but I feel for these authors. The naysayer in me is resistant to believe these reviewers understand that out there, in the intangible world of the Internet, authors (especially us new ones) are reading these mean-spirited reviews.
I won't buy a book from this author again.
But hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion.And frankly, I want to hear them. I want to know what people like or don't like about my story. But you don't need to degrade and humiliate someone and their work to get your point across.
Barbs like the ones above are meant to tear skin.
Writing a book is hard! No one goes into it thinking, I'll spend years writing a terrible book! (at least not that I know of…) Imagine devoting years of your life to a project only to have someone take two minutes to leave a review like either of the two above?
It's a difficult task to put together a believable plot, dream up interesting characters and weave everything into a flowing story line. Don't forget details and imagery. And one must not forget to be on top of spelling, proper grammar and punctuation! If you do it right, you'll pay a professional editor to work through the manuscript with you. Then, you get it published, right? Um, no. Even after writing and emailing out dozens of query letters to any literary agent who might be interested in our genre, most of us new authors get familiar with rejection letters.
But in this new age of publishing, we do have another option -- Independent publishing! Here, though, we're on our own. There's formatting, marketing, building an audience ... blah blah blah — a whole slew of elements to consider that the public doesn't see. For the first time author, it's like walking blindfold through a field of landmines. And that's all before the general public gets a shot at critiquing our book!
Despite setbacks and some unflattering comments, we writers forge ahead. It's our passion for the written word that keeps us going. Sometimes bruises even help us write better. For a writer like myself who enjoys well-crafted and intense emotional scenes, such bruises can be turned into words and fed through my characters' voices. If I am doing my job well enough, you will be able to feel them, too.
In closing, don't be afraid to be honest. Just don't be mean. No one benefits from being torn down.
Image: ‘Once upon a time’ isolated on blue — Stock Photo © Yukchong Kwan #3321691