I’ve been hearing from a lot of new authors devastated by online reviews. And let me tell ya: Been there! It’d be one thing if the reviewers didn’t care for your style of writing or pointed out inconsistencies, but sometimes it seems so personal. And when your friends tell you not to take it personally, it’s very tempting to hang up on them or throw them outside and lock the door.
I can think of two ways to avoid negative reviews. Either write a book so lame no one wants to read it, or write something so watered-down no one can misinterpret it.
But if you aim to write something with substance, you need to come to terms with the fact that readers are human. Every person is going to experience art differently based on their points of view and life experiences. (True, some people will intentionally misrepresent your words to bolster their arguments, but I won’t even attempt to get into their heads.)
For your amusement, I’ve trolled through some online reviews of my own book to highlight the opposing ways people can read the same set of words.
Hated it: THIRTEEN REASONS WHY removes all accountability from Hannah and places it all on the other characters…
Loved it: Hannah isn't completely innocent, and she doesn't pretend to be. [S]he also points out some sticky situations she has gotten herself into - and how they backfire on her later.
Hated it: This book is trying to promote that everyone else is responsible for someone's actions.
Loved it: I think it also became important for us to know that, yes, Hannah is a victim, but she is also responsible for her own actions.
Hated it: …it is just so boring…
Loved it: It is a fast read and will keep you on the edge of your seat…
Hated it: Get out the violin. Give me a break.
Loved it: You'll cry, several times, while reading this story.
To really understand this post, go read the most glowing reviews of something you hated. You just might find yourself thinking, Did they even read the same book I did???