I recently received a couple of low ratings on one of my books — WHEN I FALL IN LOVE.
Two out of five stars to be exact.
For those of you not familiar with ratings systems, that means those people ranked the book right up there with the classified ads in an out of town newspaper from ten years ago.
Put another way — they didn’t like the book.
I thought it might be helpful to share how I look at such evaluations.
I should probably let you know that I’ve had a number of jobs that lent themselves to criticism — classroom teacher, school administrator, high school basketball coach, and baseball umpire. In each of those positions some people felt compelled to let me know that I was doing a somewhat-less-than-adequate job at times.
Now I’m a full time writer.
If you choose to be a writer, understand that criticism comes with the territory. Expect it. Some won’t like the way you write. Some won’t like what you write.
Don’t take it personal. Don’t get defensive. Don’t let it ruin your day. Look at criticism as an opportunity to improve. If your “low score” includes thoughtful comments, read through them carefully and determine if they have any merit. If you don’t agree with the criticism that’s okay. If, however, the criticism strikes a chord with you and you feel they’re right, then you can improve. That makes you a better writer. That’s worth two stars isn’t it?
If all you receive is a score (i.e. two stars) or a verbal attack, then it’s not helpful. In that case ignore it.
I’ve received several good reviews on this book so it’s entirely possible the low scores were from people who just didn’t like the story. That’s okay. People are allowed not to like a story. I know I haven’t developed a fondness for blood-sucking vampire novels even though they are very popular.
My point is to encourage those of you who are writers to embrace criticism. If it helps you improve your writing, it is a valuable thing. If it just makes you feel bad, ignore it and write another story.
By the way, I loved those other jobs I had but if you were one of the people who felt I did a bad job … if you felt you received a lower grades than you deserved, or were assigned to a teacher you didn’t like, or weren’t given enough playing time, or had a strike called when it was obviously high and outside … to all of you I apologize. I hope you had a wonderful life despite those little failings on my part.
If you want payback for those failings, I would encourage you to buy (repeat … BUY) my books and rate them however you feel is appropriate.