So there I was, one week before the good people at Swoon Reads decide which manuscript(s) to publish and it had all been going well on the site. My ratings were great and my reviews had all been pretty positive. Then today I got a bad one. It was bad and it was long!! Jeez, it was long; possibly the single longest paragraph I’ve ever read in fact. She didn’t hold back either. It was like being repeatedly hit over the head with your own hardback!
And so, as I sat at my computer feeling a tiny bit tearful I realised I’ve learned a few more things about the process of writing. Here are the things I learned today in the order they went through my head.
1: I am the worst writer ever and I was only kidding myself that I was any good.
2: What right does this upstart have to criticise my book when she’s never tried writing one herself. I bet hers would be so much worse.
3: Most people who read a book will not have written their own one. These are the people we are writing for, not other sympathetic authors. Other authors are probably more likely to pick up on the themes and subtext of your story or at least see what you were trying to do. Your average reader may just not get it at all.
4: Everyone is entitled to their honest opinion and criticism is ‘constructive and helpful’.
5: Even though I’d love to reply with an equally long and detailed response in the same acerbic tone as hers, I am (deep breath) a professional and will reply in a professional way even if what I actually want to ask her is ‘Why in God’s name did you read the whole book if you were hating it so much?! I will always try my best to suck it up and be nice, no matter how hard that may be.
6: Even best-selling authors who’ve sold millions get slated. Not everyone will love (or even understand) what you’ve written. I know this when I go to my book groups and give them a book I’ve totally loved and half of them hate it – or the other way around.
7: But I’m not a best-selling author and maybe my book really is complete rubbish after all…
8: It could be worse. If this was the X Factor I’d have to deal with the rejection on live TV!!
Anyway, this time next week I expect we’ll all find out what the Swoon Read staff really think and which ones they loved. It’s their opinion that counts in the end. I wonder if they know how strung-out we’re all feeling right now. I hope so.