Anyone that writes or creates knows that putting yourself out there as one such creator knows that the price to pay is criticism. As an author, I’m certainly no exception to that virtue, and in the two years that I’ve been published, I have to say, some days, the toll is pretty heavy. So heavy that I’ve literally always dubbed myself as a “4-Star Author.”
And I’m here to tell you some ins and outs on why it’s okay.
I have a habit of saving every single review that I’ve received on Amazon. Every. Single. One. Yes, that means the bad ones too. It’s probably not healthy, but it’s something that I have to follow through on. It’s my own personal tradition. Why? Because they’re reminders that people have read my work.
My first novel, “The One Left Behind: Magic,” the first of three, was a wondrous stepping stone into my career. There were so many lessons that writing it brought me. It taught me all the virtues of how to self-edit, how to properly craft a scene that stands above the crowd, and how my characters should be developed into their own person rather than an entity, which became a driving force for my style.
But it also taught me never to jump the gun with my author career.
Because I was so reckless and thought that I had a handle on my first book, I didn’t achieve all the basic steps, and as a result, I received a lot of criticism about my editing skills (which, admittedly, were pretty sub-par at the time), and the book currently sits at a 4.1/5 star rating on Amazon. It’s not bad, it’s really not for a first timer that knew almost nothing on the industry and how brutal it could be. I like the book a lot, and I treasure it always for taking me up the ladder. I will complete Frayle’s story.
My First Cry
I’ll never forget the first time I cried over a review.
I was twenty-two years old. It was in February 2017, roughly seven months after I published my first book, and I got a response from a very popular online magazine, InD’tale; my review had been posted that I requested several months ago. I was excited. A magazine I like and respect is sharing their opinion on MY work, and I get to see what they think.
And then I saw the scoring of 1.5/5. It completely dashed my confidence. I stared at my phone for several minutes, reading the review over frequently. And then, I got up, and I left my house, and I didn’t speak a word. I didn’t even know at the time where I was walking to, but I know that I walked around before stopping at the library across the street from my house.
And I cried for a few minutes. No sobbing, no blubbering, no drama, nothing like that. Tears of shock and moments of despair. Of disappointment in myself. I thought that I could do better. I always believe that I could, even now.
And that’s part of why it’s okay to be an author that gets one-star reviews, or even five, or four. Because there’s always a charm to do better. You can always create more magic with your own two hands, and you learn to take comments in stride.
Some Tiny Words
Now, occasionally, you’re going to get those critiques over the strangest things, about the smallest pieces of your novel, the most bitter of themes that you never imagined existed. You will face rejections, and sometimes, they’ll knock you to the brink. You may stay as a four-star author.
But, you keep your head. And you push on. And craft, and work, and you continue making your world shine.
It will be a long road, and sometimes you may come close to shedding those tears. But after every teardrop comes one step closer to reaching your start line, then the marathon to your end goal.
And that makes it all worthwhile. Someone will see you so long as you work for the things that you desire most in this life.