Apparently, light switch is two words. I had to google it. ;-)
So, good news can send me into the stratosphere and bad news can put me down in the dumps. I've always been like this. My mood can change instantaneously, and the worst part is usually everyone can tell. My face is a mood ring.
In a perfect world where I'm perfect Finn, I should be happy. As my boyfriend puts it, my debut novel has over 4 stars on both Goodreads and Amazon, I should be happy. I. Should. Be. Happy.
But, gosh darn it. One negative review and I'm like super down for a long time.
Most of the authors I asked on social media said to ignore reviews, but it's so hard. I want to interact with my fans. I want to read the good reviews. It's just when I check, I remember what my rating was the last time - I have a good memory for some things - and then I know if it went down or up. Ahhh.
I wish I could just forget about it, but the positive reviews really, really uplift me.
The frustrating part is that they were honest, which I appreciate - I don't want lies - and I can understand that they didn't like my book. I know not everyone is going to like every book. I do appreciate detailed criticism more than just a 1 star rating with no comment (it happened).
I know I certainly don't like every book - that's literally why I started writing in the first place. I felt what I was reading was not a realistic portrayal of a gay relationship. It was missing something.
But I also didn't leave a negative review.
The more frustrating part is my most recent criticism could be applied to a number of immensely well-reviewed and popular books, but those criticisms aren't written because (I feel) they are establishment authors. Is it easier to pick on the new kid? Is there a mob mentality to MM romance?
I recently felt like a last book in a recent series was the worst of the series, but most of the reviews seemed to say it was the best of the bunch. I didn't understand it at all.
I've read plenty of dual POV where I couldn't tell the two characters apart. I've read plenty of books where the sports is barely mentioned even though the MCs are both athletes. And repetition? Everyone does that. I've read the same phrasing in like three books by the same author. If I read the phrase "so damn big" one more time, I'm going to explode.
At least I don't have a typo in my book (no one's pointed one out yet) - I've totally seen that in seasoned authors' books.
Why am I so salty? I probably shouldn't post this, but I have no filter. Oh well.
Some of the criticism, I totally understand. Could some of the words been cut? Absolutely. I didn't have $1800 to pay to an editor. Do some of the characters sound similar, or is the language repetitive? Yes. Again, I couldn't afford to pay a professional editor, so I relied on beta readers and friends. I changed literally everything that they criticized, so I did my best. That kind of criticism I can stand behind because I agree, my book could've been tighter.
That's the industry though. I can't please everyone and I certainly won't, and if you've read this far, thanks for coming to my TED talk. I am going to take a little bit of every criticism into consideration because I do want to be a better writer.
But honestly, I just like writing, and I'm going to write what I want to write, and not what people will like or what will sell.
I like writing stories that could be real, that feel real, and yes, in romance there is an element of fantasy, but my fantasy is grounded in reality. There are people of color, there are women, there is sex, there is profanity, there is sarcasm. All of this is real to me. If it's not your experience, then you won't think it's real. It's as simple as that.
I certainly wouldn't spend so much time with my characters if I didn't like them. But I do want others to like them too, and I hope you do.