Over the last week I’ve managed to add another 1,000 or so words to the age play story I’m attempting, and I have also been writing the plan for another story that I had a very basic draft of. I don’t want to get too much into writing something new because I know that in a week or so I will have to break off to make amendments to my story set partly on the Titanic, The Delinquent Bride.
Last night I checked in on Amazon and had a look at my last book, The Highlander’s Maiden. I like to check out reviews to see if I can learn from constructive criticism that has been left. It’s also very nice to see when someone has enjoyed something I have written. However I was very disappointed to see that I now have five 1-star reviews for that book and it has now been suggested that my entire book was written as if by a 4-year-old child.
I had raised concerns a little while ago with my editor when previous reviews suggested I wrote like a 7th grader and others suggested the book was written as if by someone younger. James told me he had no such concerns with my writing and pointed out that when a reviewer suggests that my stories glorify violence and abuse against women, that clearly is someone who has not read the disclaimer and is not expecting there to be spanking within the story. I can understand that, and those reviews I accept are for that reason. Also when people talk about historical inaccuracies, I get slightly angry with myself because I really do try hard to not make those types of mistakes and I really do research a lot when doing something in a time that I am not familiar with.
But the several reviews I have had now that suggest a small child is writing my books really do knock my confidence. I don’t know how to handle those because I can’t dismiss them as someone who is disappointed because the story is not quite what they expected, nor can I take it as constructive criticism and work on a particular failing they have highlighted. When The Lady and the Sheriff received these type of reviews, I didn’t write anything for several weeks, my confidence was knocked so badly and I almost considered not writing anything else, believing that I was not good enough. However I love writing and eventually I did start again.
Now I’ve reached the point again where although my books are selling well, much better than I could ever have imagined, I wonder if the fact that my very bad reviews are seriously outnumbering any positive feedback should be telling me something. I can understand that sometimes people will leave bad feedback simply because they can, but surely not as many as I’m getting? And surely people who have never read my books reading the various reviews which advise people not to waste their time or money, stating they will never read this “author” again, will not do me any favours at all.
I love writing and really do want to continue, but I feel awful when people say they wish they could have their money back as I feel I’ve ripped them off when that happens and I wish there was something I could do to make them feel less “cheated”.
It has been suggested that I simply do not look at reviews, but when people have gone to the trouble to leave feedback I feel that I should at least read it and try to improve my writing based on the comments. But sometimes, it’s just impossible to take anything constructive from it and the only thing I could realistically do based on the feedback is give up, which I do not want to do.
James and Korey have some excellent writers publishing their books with them, and they all receive excellent reviews, with the occasional bad one which pales into insignificance against all the other good ones. I don’t want to be the one whose bad reviews outweigh the good ones that all the others get.
I think I will shove my writing to one side for today and relax and enjoy the weekend. I don’t think writing in this frame of mind will be very constructive at all. I do realise that when someone puts their writing on the internet, especially when people are paying for it, they are leaving themselves wide open for criticism, but I receive so many more bad comments than others that I’m serious beginning to wonder if its worth it.