Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Getting what we wished for


Ah, here we are, the holidays**! It’s the time for wishing and hoping and dreaming. And I know what a ton of writers are wishing for: you want to have your books sell like *insert famous author here.* And sometimes we aren’t very good at paying attention to what that wish means.

I’ll admit, this is something I’ve wished for. More than once―okay, I’m human, I wish for this just about every time I pay the bills. But there’s something else that comes with it that is completely glossed over when it comes to writing success. With every person who loves the book, there’s someone else who hates it, and possibly vocally.

There’s a surprising amount of hate in the world of book reviews, and I toggle back and forth about whether it’s a good thing or not, and now we will talk about Twilight. I know about half of you just rolled your eyes. Twilight is a perfect example of a divisive book series. Either you love Twilight, or you hate it. Oddly, I suspect that most of the people who hate it actually hate other things about it than the book itself, but it has, for whatever reason, spawned a large pile of hatred aimed at the book. These come in the guise of book reviews and newspaper articles. These come as ed op pieces decrying the downfall of teenage girls. This hate trickles down and we all sort of shrug and say that it’s normal for a book to have its detractors.

After reading some of the reviews, I wish I could give Stephanie Myers a hug. People are vicious. And when it’s someone big like Twilight, everyone says rude things like “it doesn’t matter because she gets to cry into her bags of money when she goes to sleep at night.”

It’s like people feel it’s okay to be mean and rude because of her success. And this happens to all books.

When you put a book out into the world, you lose a certain ownership of it. You give it to the world with a big bow that basically says “Go ahead world, send me your worst―I dare you.” And the world sends back a smorgasbord of responses. Worst? Yup. Best? Present and accounted for. In the middle? Sure you can have that too. And if you’re the writer, all of it is right in your face. Good, bad, ugly. And the only response you can have is to grin and bear it. Sit back, thank the world in general, and pretend the mean reviews didn’t hurt your feelings. It’s nothing personal. Welcome to publishing! Everyone gets bad reviews.

So, maybe you’re sitting at home, wishing your books could be published, or maybe you’re wishing your books could sell like Stephen King, or Nora Roberts, or Stephanie Myers. Just keep in mind that you should always be careful of what you wish for. Also, get back out there and write! Your next book isn’t going to magically write itself!

Oh, and enjoy the holidays!

**Wait, is this an attack on Christmas? Nope! I know there's more than one super important holiday right about now and it takes too long to list all of them at the beginning of a post! Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Years, Merry Krishna! And that's not even close to representative of all the holidays people celebrate this time of year (that doesn't even cover the sampling from the readers of this blog alone), which is so amazing! Feel free to send me whichever holiday greetings are appropriate for the holiday you celebrate!

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