Friday, March 22, 2013

Slings and Arrows

Usually when writers offer advice about writing, it is about how to craft a good story or how to get published. I’m here to talk about something that happens after you get published. Not everyone is going to love or even like your work and now that anyone can post a review on Amazon or reach you by email, they are going to tell you.

I would love to say that all the emailsI get are like the one I got from a woman who told me her mother was 86 and had had a bad year, but that reading my books helped her through it. But they aren’t.

The other day I got an email from a reader in the midst of If Hooks Could Kill. She was annoyed at finding some typos and then went on to complain about the grammar which really was about word choices or my style. In that particular book there was a problem when it was type set. Whoever did it, took out all the italics in the book and so when I was proof reading the galleys, I was mostly concerned with finding everything that was supposed to be in Italics. It isn’t surprising I missed a few things. I answer all emails - even the negative ones. I sent off one to this woman apologizing for the typos and left it at that. Rather than defending my style, I just accepted that my books probably aren’t for her.

I have writer friends who get upset at negative reviews on Amazon or emails like the one I got. More than upset, they seem to take them way too personally. I don’t like them, but I accept that not everyone is going to like my books. Or me. That’s life and no reason to get all tied up in knots over it.

So, when I got an email from a reader saying she wouldn’t read another of my books until I killed off a certain main character she didn’t like - maybe hated was more accurate - I simply sent her an email and thanked her for having been a reader. Notice the past tense.

I don’t get angry and send evil thoughts their way. I don’t want to send bad vibes out into the universe. The best thing to do is just to shrug it off and move on.


Anonymous said...

How sad people have to send negative emails. What a great attitude you have. IF HOOKS COULD KILL is my favorite one of your books. Keep them coming.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I really identified with your post, Betty. I keep trying to develop a thick skin but it always seems to grow thin again when I don't want it to! I would love to have all readers adore everything I write, but I realize that won't happen.

Betty Hechtman said...

Thank you, llk 10 retired. You made my day.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, It is hard to keep a thick skin. Generally, I don't read reviews of my books.

Planner said...

I always wonder how major celebrities cope with headlines about their "terrible" performances, fashion gaffes, whatever. All these things are subjective, and you're right that the changing technology makes it easy for people to publicly express their opinions.

Personally, I like to give people positive feedback, knowing it will make them feel good, at least for a moment.

Speaking of positive feedback, I love your books (all of them!). They have brought joy into my life and re-sparked my enthusiasm for crocheting.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, thanks for the positive omments. Nothing makes me happier than to think my books have made someone feel good, and want to crochet.