I just received a Google alert mentioning my last book, Kinky Gazpacho:Life, Love & Spain
. I clicked on the link and found an absolutely glowing review of my memoir by a random blogger. She loved my story, loved my writing and even mentioned that she couldn’t wait to read my next book. It was the kind of unexpected review that makes us writers feel like we must be doing something right. But before I could even take the time to bask in the warm, fuzzy feelings, I realized there was a comment on the review. So of course, I read it. Big mistake.
The comment was longer than the review and for every positive point made, this angry reader had three or four in rebuttal. This person absolutely hated my book and took the time to carefully detail exactly why it is was the worst thing in the world she’d ever taken the time to read. She was quite thorough.
So, as we creep closer to the pub date for my first novel, I am wavering between excitement and dread. I can’t wait for people to read Substitute Me
, because I think it’s a really good story and I love my characters (And the New York TImes just ran an article
yesterday that claimed nanny novels are still hot! Sadly my book wasn't mentioned in the article, but we can talk about that later.). But on the other hand, I know the book isn’t perfect. I know there are flaws. I’m sure some people will find the storyline distasteful. They may ban the book in certain libraries in the South (I’m exaggerating … sort of.).
I did receive my first media mention in the just-out August issue of Essence magazine. It was a very positive review. I was thrilled. But just as quickly, I realized, this is just the beginning of ‘review season’ and I must prepare myself for the worst. I know if I’m not prepared, those negative comments can really wound my sensitive writer’s soul. What’s more, bad press has the power to curb my enthusiasm for my publicity efforts.
Since this is my third book, I know the drill. I know everybody has the right to his or her own opinion and just because one person hates my book, doesn’t mean another person won’t fall in love with it. I have to remind myself of all of the books that I have hated, tossed aside in disgust or fallen asleep while trying to read. Some of those were the very same tomes that others gushed over and consider to be masterpieces.
I know I can’t let one or two bad reviews derail my master plan for getting Substitute Me
into the hands of every woman in America. I just have to be ready. I’ve actually been following another author, who like me, has only written non-fiction but has just published her first novel. She’s a social media fool and takes any and every opportunity to get the word out about her book. Just for fun I checked the reviews on her book and they weren’t so good. Clearly this hasn’t stopped her and it hasn’t stopped the robust sales of her book. Lesson learned. Deep breath. Bring it on.
How do you all handle negative reviews of your work?