What I've written ... this might hurt a little #BeHonest #GetReal
I wrote a hero that used substances and was in the midst of a relationship with addiction - it was immature.
I wrote a mob boss that had feelings - I should be ashamed of myself.
I wrote a hero who trusted the wrong people - he's loyal to no one.
I wrote a heroine who was in a forced abusive relationship while being intimate with another man - she's weak and a whore.
I wrote a heroine that was stubborn and heartbroken - she's a whiny brat.
I wrote a heroine who was strong-willed and didn't need a man - she's too strong, too much woman.
I wrote characters who had an instant connection upon meeting - that's lazy writing.
I wrote a couple that weren't visibly emotional people - they had no real love for one another at all.
I've used plots I don't understand.
I've used other people's plots.
I've written heroes who are pussies.
I've written heroines who are TSTL (too stupid to live).
My sex scenes aren't hot.
I should write more heroines like my other heroine.
I should write more like so-and-so.


As I go over the list above, I actually know this is just a small piece of the criticism I've received for my novels (the whole backlist, not just one title in particular). There are probably harsher pieces I could have used, but these ones stick with me the most for my own reasons.

None are verbatim, as far as that goes, because I didn't write this post to shame reviewers. Reviewers have a right to their opinions. Of course, I might not agree with their opinions and their reviews might hurt me, but once they buy the book and read, I no longer have a say. Their thoughts/feelings/words about my novels are their own. The way I write a character or a plot may be meant to be understood one way, while they take it another.

Again, I don't get a say.

I wrote this post for other authors. The authors I've talked to who ask how I deal with negative or harsh feedback; the ones who questioned how I can work for months on something only to see someone leave nothing but hate for it.

You know, my babies.


I have babies, three boys to be exact. My books aren't my babies even if it feels like they are sometimes. Believe me, there is an entirely different reaction I have when I get a bad review to when I see one of my children being put down or hurt. Once I put a novel out into the world, it's kind of like kicking a grown adult child out of your house. One that's maybe lived off you for too long without paying rent or whatever. They're either going to sink or swim. The world is either going to meet a nice, polite person or a jerk that could use a good smack in the back of the head.

Sometimes that reflects on you and sometimes it doesn't, depending on the situation. Try to keep that in mind the next time a bad review pops up for one of your novels. If you need a place to rant because you feel so unjustly done over a review, then find a safe person/place to do that. I think, no matter how thick an author's skin, they still need to talk their feelings out sometimes.

Because we are humans. We're not machines.

And that's perfectly okay.

So how do I deal with things like the list above? If, and that's a big if because I don't actively seek out negative reviews of my work, I find something that makes my hackles rattle, I find a safe place, safe people, who I trust. I talk to them, they reassure me I'm in the right profession and that I wrote my characters/plots exactly how those characters/plots wanted to be written. I wrote something I enjoyed personally. I wrote things that reflected my own personal experiences and helped me to heal. I'm a good writer--a damn good author.

I don't have to please everyone.

That's an impossible task.

Don't attempt it.


Because by my own admission, everyone can take or read something differently, I feel this bears repeating. Please note, this post is not intended to offend or shame. If you feel like it was directed at you in particular for whatever reason in a negative way, then please read the post again before commenting. If you still feel you need to address me personally for something directly relating to this post, you can contact me. If all else fails, please remember this is my little slice of home on the interwebz and I just invited you in. 
2 Responses
  1. sheila Says:

    Beautifully said Kris.

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