Don't Read The Comments
A few weeks back, my friend reminded me of a book I've written and published on Amazon. "I keep forgetting to purchase it because I don't have Kindle on my computer," she said. I asked her what was she talking about because I had forgot that I even wrote a book, let alone two.
"That book you told me you wanted me to make a cover for but ended up using a different cover instead." Oh. That ONE. My very first book that I decided to publish on a whim. "Yeah, I think it had some good reviews on it the last time I saw," she continued. Reviews? What? Why? I wasn't expecting anyone to even buy my book let alone write a review about it. I said "oh, okay, I mean I guess," and laughed it off and moved on to the next subject.
I'm not even sure how we even got on the topic of Amazon and my books but when she brought up the reviews, I made a mental note to NOT read them. I figured that would be easy to do since I had already forgot that there were books out there with my name on them. Why would I go out my way to read them since I didn't even remember they existed?
So here I am on my blog, updating my site with random gadgets and I see that I unconsciously put a link to my books on Amazon. Suddenly, I remembered what Jackie said and I couldn't resist. I click on it and see the book she was talking about has one review and three stars. I said "okay, well three stars ain't bad for a first book, I guess. Especially since I published it just because." But I had told myself I wasn't going to read the comment on it. I wish I could've kept my word but I kept staring at those stars and wanted to know what that person had to say about my work. Curiosity killed the cat and it sure did kill me.
The review wasn't harsh but it wasn't something I wanted to read. Knowing that I don't do well with negative criticism, I knew better to stay away. If you're ever wondering why I take forever to get back to comments here, that's why. I'll see comments and think to myself, "it might be bad, let me not," and revisit it another time. But with blog comments, it's typically all in my head being that I haven't had any negative commentary. However, book reviews and blog comments are two different things.
I was offended by what the reviewer said being that the book I wrote was based on real life experiences. S/he referred to it as slow moving and predictable. When I read that one and only review, I said to myself: "Well, since this was my ACTUAL life, I went at the pace it went (which in my opinion I made the pace faster in the book compared to in real life). Was it predictable? Probably but at the time as I was going through, I sure didn't see it that way. But what does s/he know?! Maybe they should write a book and see how that goes."
Being on both ends of the spectrum as a reader and a writer, I get it. But I've mostly been on the reading end. So, I too, have critiqued a book or ten in my life. Granted, those critiques stayed in my head because I wouldn't dare say them aloud; I already know what that feels like. I clicked off (and unpublished them) and was quickly reminded why I don't read the comments on anything that has to do with me. I wouldn't say it's because "I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit" because that's not the case. I also don't want to place full blame on my borderline personality disorder even though there may be some truth to that. But I've just never been one to accept negative criticism probably because I have a perfectionist nature. It's one thing if I think my shit is trash but other people can't think/ feel the same way about it. It just takes a certain kind of confidence to be a writer which I'm still working on.
But to be honest, though I want to be an author and will have to deal with both positive and negative reviews at some point, I didn't publish that book for anyone but myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I can start something and actually finish something. I wanted to prove to myself that I can follow through on what I said I would do. Did I want to finish the book? Absolutely not. Especially since it was supposed to be a fictionalized story that turned real really fast (thoughts and words hold power. Be careful what you take from life experiences). At that point, I did not want to finish because I knew how the story was going to end. But I felt that I owed myself that much to at least see it through, even if it was trash.So I wrote, edit, uploaded, and hit publish.
I probably shouldn't have read the comments though and continued about my life.
Photo credit: getty images