Writing: The Three R’s… Rejection, Reviews, Reactions

Let’s face it… I’m a pussy when it comes to rejection of any sort.

As a working writer, it’s expected—not every piece you write is gold and, even if each piece is, editors are fickle. I know this because I am one, so rejection is par the course. Actually, it’s more like rejection is the rule and acceptance is the exception and while I have a logical mind, I react emotionally. Could be a character flaw, could be my greatest asset; the jury’s still out on the matter.

In that vein, I thought it’d be hard to receive a bad review on Necromancer. After all, my novella, Men of Five, got panned in a single review and that ate me up for a month. I bitched, moaned, complained (all quietly, of course, neither in a public forum nor to the reviewer until this inoffensive blog post) and vowed—fourteen times every five minutes for thirty days straight—to never write another word. But then again, I’m not sure what I expected when I sent it out into the world to be read. You see, my wife, mother of my children, misery-maker in my life, said (and yes, this is a direct quote), “I hate that story.”

Yeah, just goes to show that you can’t please everyone. Having been married now for a dozen years, you’d think that’s a lesson I’d have learned just by living, right? That’s where the whole reacting emotionally comes in.

I know that I can’t please everyone.

I know Necromancer is not going to appeal to every reader.

I know people are going to hate the main character.

I know people are going to hate the ending.

I can go on and on about what people aren’t going to like, but why should I? Some people just aren’t going to like it.

When it was published, my anxiety went through the roof. The worries over what people were going to think and, if readers received the novel poorly, how does that affect future publishing endeavors. I had a mixed bag of thoughts, to be sure.

And then the reviews started coming in. Good reviews, four and five stars, and they produced a happy writer. But that elusive “this book sucks” hadn’t come in yet. I waited and waited, obsessively checking Amazon and Goodreads, looking for it, anticipating it. Who else does this? Am I the only one? I certainly can’t be… but maybe so. I also do it with submissions once a deadline has passed. You know, always looking at my email, even though I didn’t get a new mail notice. Ridiculous, but remember, emotional.

And then it happened. That first bad review came in. I saw the two-star rating and my heart galloped up my throat while my stomach tried to jump ship via my crotch. And then I read the review. And yeah, those feelings intensified and I wanted to double over and cry while vomiting.

That lasted for about five seconds.

Then, I read the review again and then a third time.

I realized the reader had valid points to make on their own experience. And sure, it still sucked to get a two-star review, but who am I to invalidate that just because I wrote the damned thing the reader didn’t enjoy? I rank and critique books, movies, and television every day:

“I didn’t much care for this TV show… ”

“That book by so and so had a real shitty ending… ”

And yeah, I’ve heard that before from more successful authors at numerous conventions/panels I’ve attended. Hearing it from them is great, but you don’t really get what they’re saying until you experience it, until that first bad review smacks you in the head and says, “You ain’t that great.”

So, I got over it right quick. Of course, for me, that means about a day of moping—hey, better than a month—and now, almost a week later, this blog post.

The bottom line is that people are reading it and having an experience (good or bad) and, as a writer, that’s all I can ask for. Thanks to everyone who’s given Necromancer the time of day and then that extra little bit to get out there and review it.


Note: All the reviews are available either at amazon.com or goodreads.com. I always recommend reading reviews before buying products, as it’s just plan smart. However, when reading reviews of books and/or movies, just beware of spoilers. The reviews for Necromancer have more than their fair share ~ Chris

One response to “Writing: The Three R’s… Rejection, Reviews, Reactions

  1. Seek validation from within, my friend. Of course, I say that but don’t live it.

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