Friday, January 27, 2012

Painful Words

A few weeks ago I was browsing the sites that have my books for sale. I don't typically make it a habit to obsess over how many purchases or reviews I get in a day, I try very hard to only look once a month. If I didn't give myself restrictions, I'd go crazy. After the first few months of having the books for sale, I gave up on looking for reviews. It seemed that people don't like to leave comments about books. It's frustrating. Imagine my surprise and excitement a few weeks ago when I finally noticed a new review on Zombies! I did a little happy dance in my chair before reading it.
I cried when I finished.
It took me almost two days to not be hurt by this guys words. I understand in my head that bad reviews are a part of this field. I expect to get them. I'm even glad to get them. I realize that not only did this person read my book, but he was so moved by it, he felt he had to post something. Of course, I'd much rather it be something positive, but I'm not so naive as to think that will always happen.
I never really thought of the implications of negative reviews and what effect they had on a writer. I always assumed that writers expected criticism, it's a part of the process, it helps them grow, and they looked past it to the bigger picture. I've personally never been mean in a review, and always try to find the positive in a book I may not like, but will also tell people why I didn't like it.
I knew I was going to get bad reviews. I was waiting for them, and waiting, and waiting. It took almost a year for me to get my first bad review. That has to mean something, right? I thought I was prepared for it, I knew it was an eventuality. I didn't expect it to hurt nearly as much as it did.
I've had so many people come up to me and ask when the sequel for this book is going to come out, hoping I'd get on it asap, and then tell me how much they loved it. I've been excited to write the sequel, plotting it out in my head with the direction I want to go, and even planning to end with a third short story. I have the whole trilogy mapped out and waiting to be put onto paper. As soon as I told people I was writing the sequel I was humbled and overcome with the excited joy I saw in their eyes.
Then I read my review. It really took me by surprise with the vehemence this guy had for Zombies. Every time I sit at the computer, or place my pen to paper, all I can think about are his painful words. My characters feel like they're cowering in a corner, bruised and unwilling to share the rest of their story with me in fear of continued retribution. We (the characters and I) weren't going to continue the story. Zombies was originally only meant to be a short story, but with how much people talked about and loved it, we've decided to continue. It still amazes me how one person can wound so deeply with harsh words.
People keep telling me to let it go, to not give him the power to affect me. Honestly, I'm flattered that I affected him so strongly. I've been looking at the positive side of this review, and am truly grateful for his words. It helps me to look at my writing in a completely different perspective, and see it in a different view. I'm glad to have gotten that review. I just don't know how to get my characters and my muse back on speaking terms with me.