Monday, September 8, 2014

Perspective


My book got its first two star rating on Amazon a few weeks ago. Good and bad reviews are part of the deal, but I must admit, it stung a little.            

Other than the initial sting though, I was pretty okay with it. It shook my confidence momentarily, but I remembered the advice of a few of my favorite writers.

Jody Hedlund shared her thoughts on the topic, "My book won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay."  (My paraphrase.)

Ann Gabhart lent further insight when she said, "Rejection is not fatal."

Jody and Ann are right. Bad reviews and rejection - they aren't the end of the world. You can't please all the people all the time. It's all about perspective.

It's been a good reality check, this less than stellar review, for it offered an opportunity to review priorities and what motivates me. Here is my short list. See how it compares to yours.


Faith - I believe that God is in control no matter what. Nothing takes Him by surprise.

Family and Friends - It's good to know your loved ones are on your team.

I. Must. Write. - The need to express myself no matter what anyone else thinks.

The Importance of Sharing - I feel led to share various experiences and bits of info with others.

The Take Away - There's often something to learn from a negative review, constructive criticism, or a rejection letter. Challenges sharpen our skills and help us grow.

Balance - Knowing there will be ups and downs helps maintain a better outlook.

Blessings - Remember and count them daily.

How do you handle rejection or bad reviews? What helps you keep a good perspective? What's on your short list?

It's been crazy busy around here, with a manuscript submission, the start of my teen writing classes, and a wedding on our property over the weekend. So I am taking a break until September 22 when Sarah Sundin stops by to talk about her new book. Hope you can join us. :)

Enjoy September!

Happy writing,

Karen


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

31 comments :

  1. Hi Karen - it's always difficult having something that not well received .. but like all things in life - people see things from a different perspective ... so there'll be others that think the book is great ...

    Have a great week and enjoy the end of summer - cheers Hilary

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  2. Jody's right. Not every book is for everyone and that can influence a review. Have a great break.

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  3. I don't put much stock in negative reviews. If you look at the reviews of Stephen King's books, there are lots of one and two-star ratings :)

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  4. For every person who doesn't like it there are dozens and even hundreds who do. Focus on those people instead.

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  5. God is in control! And not everyone will like our books. That's all right - we didn't write them for those people.

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  6. thanks for sharing your feelings about this. it will help when I get my own low ratings. Enjoy your wedding enjoy your busy times!

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  7. You hit all the right notes with your observations, Karen. When I was submitting my book I had to keep reminding myself that it didn't matter how many rejections I racked up. All I needed was one yes (and got it--yay!). More than one agent/editor told me (in their rejection letter) to remember how subjective the process is and not to give up, to keep submitting, and I'm so glad I did.

    In one of the RWA workshops I attended in July the point was made that a series of five star reviews do not ensure a bestseller. A book is actually better served by a range of review scores, because that generates discussion which ultimately generates sales. Be thrilled, we were told, that someone cared enough to write a review, even if it isn't positive. The key words are "cared enough" and if they did, others will, too. Of course, I don't have a book out there yet. Ask me next year, after my book is released, how I'm handling bad reviews. Gak! I hope I can be objective about it.

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  8. Love Alex's comment. Don't worry about those reviews, amigo. PLEASE! YOUR BOOK IS 5 STARS. Remember that. XOXOXOXO

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  9. Karen: Your books are aimed at a very select group of people. Those who need this information will be thankful for it. Alex, Dianne, and Jody are correct.

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  10. Hilary,
    Thanks for your kind and supportive words! You are 100% right; we are all so different that we won't all think and see things the same way. :)

    Natalie,
    I think of Jody's words often. She included that thought in a good post on her blog. Maybe I'll share the link here sometime. :)

    Diane,
    You are so right! It's an interesting adventure for us writers, isn't it? :)

    Alex,
    You hit the nail on the head, that's for sure. We do have a target audience, a good thing to remember! :)

    Terri,
    I am glad you thought it helpful. I think we all feel it at one time or another. :) Best wishes with your book!

    Lisa,
    It helps to know writer friends agree and understand. :) That info you shared is wonderful - really something to think about and remember!

    Robyn,
    Ah my faithful amigo, you are such a sweet support for me! Whatever would I do without you? :)

    Cecelia,
    This is so true. And something I think we can all remember when we get rejection letters, etc. It's so nice to have the support of other writer friends. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  11. Keith,
    You know, I often look at bad reviews and they sometimes seem like from those who don't care for the genre or other things like that. Something to consider but not get hung up on. I like your approach.
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  12. Hi Karen! I am so sorry about your two-star rating. Boooo! Rejection? I know all about that. I had one query rejected within twenty minutes over email. Yow. That was not fun. I did have one magazine rejection that really stung, and I have to admit I was sad for two weeks. I'm so glad you are picking yourself up faster than that.
    I read somewhere that our 'voices' fit in all different places. And the reverse is true too. Just because the negative nellies are writing, doesn't mean there aren't plenty of positive reviews that have gone unwritten.

    Darn them anyway. They need to write a positive review! But the point is, what you have to say has merit and value. Keep living that truth and listening to your heart that tells you to keep writing. That voice should guide you, it has much more power than any Amazon star ever will.
    You go girl!
    Ceil

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  13. Hi Karen -

    Welcome to the club! I wasn't thrilled either when a reader bestowed a 2-Star review on The Moses Conspiracy, but the upside: people were reading it. Some less than great reviews also make the 5-Star ones more credible.

    Hugs,
    Susan :)

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  14. Karen--sometimes it's good to step back and take a look at the bigger picture...You have a book in print! You have material that others want/need!! You met your goals and didn't quit. And, though I haven't read your book yet, I'm confident it is very well written. Your list of priorities and motivations are right on. Congratulations on your book. Hope you take time to celebrate the work you've done :-)

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  15. Ceil,
    Aww, you are so sweet! Appreciate the encouraging words. It's funny how we get up or down from another's words, even those we don't know. Bottom line - God knows what is happening and will never forsake us. Keep your chin up too, for you have many wonderful thing to share! :)

    Susan,
    LOL - yes well, I can think of other clubs I might prefer, but it's all part of the process. I remember when you got that first bad review. Not fun, but we move on, right? :)

    Kenda,
    Yes indeed, the big picture is fantastic! Thank you, friend, for this very good reminder. ) Thanks so much for your kind words and for cheering me on!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  16. Karen, I have little to add to all those wise words written already on the topic. Glad you follow your dream and wish you a safe and enjoyable journey. Not all highways and by-ways are as pretty as each other, but that doesn't make the trip less enjoyable.

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  17. Hi Karen....Loved your list. Don't let bad reviews make you feel "less than." Everyone's opinion are just that! Opinions. We cannot please everyone and if we can please some, some of the time, great!

    Have a wonderful break. Susan

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  18. I feel more balanced after reading a bad review. They used to sting so badly. Have a wonderful break.

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  19. Anita,
    Thank you so much! It really is a journey, isn't it? So thankful for wonderful friends like you. :)

    Susan,
    You are so right. Thanks so much for your kind support. :) Very much appreciated!

    Medeia,
    That is a good way to look at it. I appreciate your insight!:) Thanks so much!

    Enjoy the week,
    Karen

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  20. Some reviewers give negative reviews without rhyme or reason which annoys me...but as you say-you can't please everyone.

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  21. It can be hard to read a bad review- or to receive a rejection letter. I am usually stung at first, but once the sting settles I have a chance to grow and realize that not everyone is going to like what I write and that I still have lots of room to grow. I think the quotes you shared are very helpful in keeping things in perspective. I also check out some of my favorite authors (like JK Rowling). I may think she is out of this world- but her books have received all kinds of reviews. Just goes to show that reading is subjective.

    Have fun with all your happenings. :)
    ~Jess

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  22. Wow. Some very good stuff here. Thank you for being vulnerable with us and showing us how you worked through it.

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  23. Nas,
    I suppose they all make sense to someone and the world would be a boring place if we all liked the same things! :)

    Jess,
    I think you are right. It's a great way to grow and refine and accept this as part of the writing life. :) Subjective is right! You just cannot please them all.

    Rhonda,
    Thank you, and you are welcome. :) I am a work in progress over most everything these days! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  24. We writers are vulnerable creatures, and both rejection and two star reviews sting. Enjoy your break, Karen.

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  25. Our writing is so personal to us that it is hard not to take criticism personally.
    However, I do realize now that readers/reviewers do not meant it that way.
    Now I mentally prepare myself for the criticism whenever I have a book come out, so it doesn't take me by surprise and it's all the more sweeter when someone says something glowing. :)

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  26. Rachna,
    We are indeed. But we're always learning too, right? And building character (and characters!) along the way. :)

    Jennifer,
    I think you are right about taking it personally. Once upon a time rejections and bad reviews sent me into quite the tailspin. I've gotten much better and take it in stride overall. :) That's a good way to look at it - not letting it take you by surprise. Glad you shared that!:)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  27. Hi Karen,

    Just let those annoying rejections and reviews make you better-not bitter or feeling down in the dumps. Keep on doing you!

    Blessings,
    Clara.

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  28. Hi, Karen:

    We writers can be sensitive by nature. I think some people criticize for the sake of criticizing, while others mean their observations to be constructive. When I get criticized for something I share with someone, I try to take it as a learning experience, even when it stings. We'll always have critics, my friend. I think your supporters outweigh your critics anyway, so let's concentrate on that. :-)

    Enjoy the break and congratulations to the happy couple who got married on your property recently!

    ~Janette

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  29. Clara,
    I've been thinking of you - so glad you stopped by! It has made me better and I'm learning more everyday about building character. :) Thanks so much for your encouragement.

    Janette,
    You are so right! I just read a two word (negative review) for a friend's book. This reviewer seemed to have an issue of some kind, for why wouldn't one elaborate as to why the book prompted this two word negative review. As a reader, I don't pay attention to those kinds of reviews, yet I know it stung a bit for this author. And so it goes when we put ourselves out there, right? So good to see you and count you among my friends! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  30. Beautifully put, Karen. You are so right. And while the pain was only momentary, it's a good excuse to remind ourselves how diverse and different we are all, despite our similarities. Best to you.

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  31. Joylene,
    Best to you as well! Appreciate your thoughts and insight. :) You are so right!
    Blessings,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!