I just got my first horrible review. No, it’s not of one of my books. (You were probably wondering how I’d managed to be an author this long and not have a horrible review yet!) No, this was a reply from a client to my edits. And unlike other clients who sang my praises and thanked me in their books, this client became horribly offended at my obvious lack of basic reading ability, and questioned my qualifications. Heck, she questioned my patriotism by the time she was through telling me off. And it hurt.
With my several years in the book business, I thought I’d developed a tough skin, a hard outer shell that came from years of working on both sides of the desk. I’ve actually learned to laugh when someone writes a horrible, profanity-riddled, one-star review of one of my books.
But then this happened. For the first time ever in my career, a client took such offense at my editorial suggestions, and has cut me off from her project. And I’m heart-broken.
I got into this business because I was tired of the gatekeepers telling worthy authors who had written stellar books that their work wasn’t marketable. But from time to time, I do get a client whose work just isn’t…ready. Yet. It could be ready, maybe someday down the road after a few rounds of rewrites and critique groups and hard-core editing.
There are two ways to take criticism when it comes to your book. Either politely dismiss it if the person providing the feedback doesn’t know what she’s talking about, or learn from it, and see if there’s some nugget of truth in the critique. In either case, there’s really no room for anger or hurt.
As with reviews of any kind, whether they’re of your book, your job performance at work, or even the casserole you made for dinner, remember that they are just the opinions of another human being, someone who may be right, or may be wrong. Evaluate their words and their meaning and apply them as they fit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mercy Pilkington is the CEO of Author Options, a full-service solutions provider for authors and publishers. Her sense of humor leans a bit to the sarcastic side, hence her overuse of the word crap. She is looking for romance titles that do not involved chiseled men with giant penises, and no more vampires unless there is something stunningly different about them that doesn’t involve sparkling. www.authoroptions.com