Sunday, April 12, 2015
When a Bad Review Comes-a-Knockin'
Posted by: Steve Vera
As sure as the sun will rise in the east, somebody's gonna hate your book. It doesn't matter if you're Stephen King, Ken Follett or J.K. Rowling, someobody's gonna think you suck.
It's one thing to know this intellectually, quite another to feel that scalp shriveling, stomach slithering sensation when reading a nasty review (dig that alliteration?). The first time it happened to me I wanted to jump into a woodchipper.
It's then that you realize how delicate your ego really is, that all the accolades and shoulder-slapping you've received climbing the ranks of the literary world don't mean squat when you're staring a troll dead in the eyes. They think you're a moron, trite, immature, have too many eyeballs--if they could blast an ion cannon at your house they would. They hate you.
So what do you do? Just take it on the chin? Blubber about? Suck it up?
Well, one of my best friends in the universe helped me from making a call to my nearest neighborhood woodchipper and I'm forever in her debt.
"Who's your favorite author?" she asked me.
What the hell did that have to do with anything? And what kind of question was that anyway, like there's not a kazillion authors I love; that's like asking what my favorite song of all time is. Besides I didn't give a crap, I was hurting--wounded. She then picked up a knife and began fondling it.
"Why don't you just choose one of your favorites?"
Well, since she put it that way it would have to be Mr. Stevie King. He's a grandmaster. An icon. A legend. Know how many homework assignments I blew off finishing one of his books?
Satisfied, Katie then goes on her computer (after putting down said knife) and Googles Stephen King. Lemme tell ya, not everybody thinks he's a grand master. All I had to do was go down and click on his one star reviews (which were plentiful but a scant micron in comparison to his legions of five stars) and within moments I began to feel better. Some of these people savaged him. Thought he suuuuuuucked, in fact my favorite was a single review that went on for like three pages articulating every facet about Stephen King's writing they detested finishing by saying that he should forever be inducted to the Hall of Suck. For real, that's what they said.
Once I read reviews of my idol that made mine look downright obsequious I felt fifteen thousand times better. The moment you put yourself out there, there's gonna be somebody looking to pounce. Besides, I bet that if we polled one thousand people right now and asked them if the whole universe should implode and every living entity within it die a horrible and painful death, there's always gonna be some yahoo nihilist that raises their hand.
So what's an author to do? Or an artist? Or a figure-skater? Or a chef? I'll tell you what, summed up in one uranium isotope of utter wisdom, a word so powerful it could change your life.
If the trolls are flinging mud it means you're in the game. You're in the arena. And that's more than ninety-nine percent of humanity.
Sometimes you just gotta say fuggedaboutit and focus on the other ninety percent of the kick-ass reviews you've gotten. And grin. Write the next masterpiece. You only fail if you quit.
B&N: Through the Black Veil
Carina Press: Blood Sworn
Steve's just a guy who wishes he could fire lightning out of his fingertips. Afflicted with wanderlust at the age of seventeen, he's lived in seven states, briefly served in the U.S. Air Force as a Pararescue Trainee, and has a profound aversion to mint chocolate chip ice cream. What bio would be complete without a cat? Steve has one. A great, fat, good-for-nothing but entirely lovable furball who has his own gravitational force.