Friday, September 24, 2010

The Perils of Putting Yourself "Out There"

The last two books I picked up, I put down before I finished reading. One turned out to be way more violent than I was comfortable with, while the other was poorly written with an inconsistent POV. They were both paperbacks, so somewhere, an agent and an editor both loved them. I wanted to love them. I didn't.

Readers will want to love my book, but some won't. Some will think it's crap.

That hurts, no doubt about it. Yet, as a writer, I have to be okay with that. Putting my words "out there" for others to judge is tough because some readers will love it and others won't.

I want to make everyone happy, but I can't. You can't either.

In the end, what matters is that you've done your best, gave it your all, listened and incorporated suggestions as you were able, and that you love the book. If, after six million rounds of revisions, you don't love the book you're left with, then you've lost your way.

You. Must. Love. Your. Book.

Get readers, get suggestions, get feedback. That's all good stuff. But if the world loves your book and you don't, you won't be happy. You wrote the story that was in your heart. Polish it, make it better, but don't lose sight of the story you love. Because "out there", someone else will love it, too.

How have you dealt with negative feedback? Was there ever a point where you felt like giving up because of it? What did you do?


  1. I love my book, but I know that I have a very specific audience and most others will not like it. BTW, I love violent books, as long as it fits the story.

  2. Cyndi, Thanks for commenting on my post. Just so you know, the sadness is not all of the story, by far. There is redemption, too, as the son who appeared to be the weakest not only survives the incredible ordeals but begins to really show his own strength.

  3. Yeah, Cyndi, if there's no energy for the creator behind the creation then it will definitely translate to the page. Honestly, this is one huge reason that I'm adoring this current trend toward more self- and e-publishing. I find that, so often, agents, publishers, editors, committees, get a hold of a hot new property, exploit it, change it, drain it of life until the author himself barely recognizes it. If the author ain't diggin' it at that point, why should I as a reader?

    Jason McIntyre

  4. Good post. Coming to peace with the subjectivity of art is an important step for authors. At the very least, it makes negative feedback much less painful. I think you nailed it when you said that we have to love our books. If we love them, that is enough. Chances are lots of others will share our tastes!

  5. Fortunately most of my negative feedback has also been very constructive. I expect whenever I get published - there will be plenty of people who won't like my books. Like my dad ALWAYS said when I was young - that's why they make so many flavors of ice cream...

  6. Jolene,

    Isn't it great how it always comes back to ice cream? I love that! hahahahaha