Just the other day I had my last Chapter meeting for RWA until September. We had a panel of speakers give us the low down on their pros and cons of traditional publishing, hybrid publishing, and self-publishing. It was nice to hear their opinions of publishing and how things have changed so much since 2008.
Image Courtesy of Microsoft
One of the gals in my group mentioned of how one of her manuscripts had been pitched to an editor without her knowledge. She didn’t find out about it until she received a nasty letter from the editor that broke her heart. Even though she knows that the editor does not like Romance, they were so negative about the book in what she felt was an unprofessional manner and sent the manuscript back anonymous.
What do you do when this happens?
You go to your peers and vent about it. Your peers will understand. As a writer, your peers are other writers.
Then we asked her if the negative comments were of any consequence to the story as in bad editing or story line or what not. When she couldn’t come up with any damaging statements about the overall writing, we told her to toss the critique aside. It only means that the person who wrote that was in a sad sort of way that day and they knew it. That was why they wouldn’t sign their name to the critique.
Why? Why Write?
Have you had bad critiques or reviews? Have they bothered you so much that they have torn you up inside? Should you let them get to you?
I think not.
If they were constructive then you will know it. They will point out the issues with your story, and not point to a person with a bad attitude. Even if it is just one useful line in the whole damning review, it can become helpful to you instead of hurtful.
A pro about self-publishing is that no matter what, you hold the power to revise your stories as many times as you see need fit. There is a big learning curve to overcome when you choose to become a self-publisher of your own work. It will take years to understand every aspect of publishing.
So when you do get that damming review or critique you should look at it and decide if it contains one ounce of constructive criticism. If it does, learn to swallow your pride and use it. If it does not, don’t pay it any attention and know that for all it was worth, the person that wrote that was probably having a bad day.
If you can’t let it go then you need to ask yourself why. Why does this one person’s opinion bother you so much? Should it really matter that much to you to make you feel sick inside? It is just one reader, right?
Then if you are still unable to see constructive criticism then you need to ask the next question.
Why do you write?
Are you out to try and please every person you have ever met? I certainly hope not. Where is your identity if you do so? We all have reputations that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Are you going to be the one that takes your book and hit the one star reviewer over their head? I certainly hope not. I bet you are better than that.
Image Courtesy of Microsoft
So why do you write?
What are you trying to do? If you are in this for the money then you need to find a different profession. Go be a doctor or a lawyer. Wait, aren’t they switching to writing too?
Anyways, I write for my own entertainment. I like to amuse my own brain, create worlds, create people, monsters and creatures. I like to play the What If game. I like running different scenarios and seeing which one holds the most excitement. How can I make myself chuckle?
There are only a few writers who are going to be Nora Roberts, Huey Harvey, or Amanda Hocking. It happens but not to the extent that some people like to believe.
They say that even the advances from the traditional houses are getting lower.
So if you are being bothered by rejection after rejection, ask yourself why.
But most of all, ask yourself why do you write?
When you can answer this question, you will see your perception of that negative blurb change as you drop your defensiveness and look at your work with the same magnifying glass that the readers hold in their hands.
My ROW80 Check In:
Writing slow and steady, but I am getting somewhere, finally after struggling with letting one single word out of my brain since NaNo. We will see if I decide to skip NaNo this year. It will all depend on whether I can finish writing Sleeping on the Beach before November rolls around. You can follow my first draft on Wattpad. See the link in the side bar.
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4 thoughts on “What If and Why Do You Write?”
As they say, slow and steady wins the race. 🙂 It’s a shame someone was that cruel on a crit. I hope you continue that forward momentum. Don’t worry about NaNo just yet. So, I’ve heard mentions of watt pad and went to check it out after reading your post. Do you like it? Is it just another method of connecting with potential readers?
Ryan, Wattpad has been around for several years. It has just been recent that I have learned how to post chapters of a work in progress on the site. And, yes, it is another way to reach other readers. In fact, recently there has been several books picked up by top publishing houses. The stories are not only read by readers but they are allowed to vote for the story and leave comments.
Thank you, Linda, for a thoughtful post that really dissects how to understand our reactions to a negative review. My work has been positively received — but I did get a very negative review to an excerpt for a story I’ve been working on. I tore the critique apart, looking underneath the slurs and pejoratives to find a few constructive ideas. It seemed that the reviewer delighted in finding the nastiest way to present his/her critique, and that hurt. But luckily, after a few days of dismal doubt, I remembered I love writing for the sheer fun of researching, drafting, revising, and sharing my stories.
Good job on commenting about self-publishing and the work involved. As a writer committed to self-publishing, I was quite amused when a reader recently commented, “You mean you typed the whole thing?” I wanted to say that’s only the beginning, sweetheart. Finally, thanks for the link to Wattpad. I will check this out! May you have a wonderful week.
Beth, I am glad you enjoyed the post.