Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Dreaded One Star

It had to happen. It was over two years ago I steeled myself with twitchy fingers while waiting at first patiently, then a bit impatiently, then throwing things around in Hulk rage impatiently (gods of mischief aren't gonna toss themselves) for the first reviews of my books to come in.

Funny thing about reviews, people only write them of their own, free, unasked will if they either love it/hate it/or hope they'll get something out of it. It's rare for the average not running a book review site person to drop a well articulated three star review for the hell of it.

But back to the point at hand. Anyone who dares to put something they've created out into the world knows that a dark cloud always threatens on the horizon. If you could please all the people all the time, people would bitch about how pleasing you are. Aside from caffeine and sloth gifs, complaining about things is what powers the human spirit.

So I knew that the one star bullet was coming for me, it was just a matter of when and where. (I didn't go looking for it, it was gifted to me by Smashwords brilliant plan to e-mail authors when their books receive reviews.) It could have been worse, it wasn't a piece I was charging any money for, I didn't spend three to four months drizzling my soul into it, and the reviewer didn't write my name on a piece of paper and then set it on fire (that's a tale for another time).

But despite all that it doesn't change the sting, the unabridged and un-coddled truth that someone didn't like me! Oh the wounds and arrows and other slings that bite into the psyche wrenching my soul in twain that a cookie? Mm, breakfast. Sorry, where was I? Oh right, the damning truth that one star isn't the end of the world. Unless it's our sun and it's heading towards the Earth, then End of the World orgy time.

Rejection hurts, or so every poor nice guy who never gets the girl stories tell us over and over and over. You can't recover, your very DNA is altered with each rejection. Soon you're covered in failure tumors and the only cure is holing yourself up in a basement wailing about how the amontillado won't love you. But then time passes, the grass prods up through the snow, birds return to Capistrano, and the hippo of failure recedes into the water. Besides, there are many more spectacular ways to fail just around the corner.

Which isn't to say that upon having a moment's good mood, hopes and dreams, milk and cookies crushed an author doesn't have to smile wide and brush it off. Contrary to the rising demands of the review sector of the internet, writers aren't all emotionless automatons pumping out words based upon focus grouped algorithms. (James Patterson excluded) If you stab me in the eye with a quill, do I not shriek "What the hell are you doing?" You didn't like something, fine, own it, but also accept with that that you did make someone sad. It's the darkside of reviewing but it's there and you can't divorce it from reality until those emotionless author bots are created. (Nothing but Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey books. You've been warned)

All the internet wants is a good blow up. Authors Behaving Badly falls easily into the genre of "You didn't grieve in the proper way so I am suspicious and suspect you're some kind of horrific monster." Because you got upset that I said I'd rather wipe my ass with this book than read it, I shall have every person I know on Goodreads boycott you for time immemorial until our grandchildren's grandchildren crumble to dust. Which then causes the author to come back even madder than before, then more reviewers jump in until everyone feels bullied and we get a grade 5 shit storm which fuels the ravenous internet.

What's my point? Just be good to each other. Let authors grieve ever briefly over something that kind of sucks and know that a bad review isn't the end of the world; giant space mutant hamsters are.

And to end this on a final pointless note, here's a book cover for my black protagonist YA fantasy I'm trying to get into a serial format now. (You want to get over rejection fast, try querying)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey. If someone makes a bad review that's relevant, that simply means they actually read it.

Critics are just disappointed fans.