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Strange Lives

I try hard not to read reviews of my stuff but sometimes I can't help it. This particular review set snuck up on me. It was a really, really bad review of the Apex Magazine companion issue to my newest anthology, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind. This is close to me because I chose the stories to be sent to Jason (who picked the ones he liked) and Jason bought my inspiration story for the anthology. One place hated the issue. Hated just about everything about it and hated my particular story, Snipe Hunting, so much that all they could say was that it should not have been included. The other place liked all of the stories, found them entertaining and gave the issue a big thumbs up.

When I read the bad one first (which, really, is the best way to go about these things), I got hot and flushed and embarrassed and thought, "Oh my god…" And then I clicked on the other link and found the other "we like it" review. I sat back and thought, "Well, at least someone liked it." Smiled, shook my head and then shared both reviews with a couple of friends.

I am slowly learning that if someone doesn't like my work it does not mean they hate me. They just did not like it for some reason. Ok. I can live with that. My husband may want to punch someone because he loves me and doesn't want me to hurt but… really, I'm OK.

I think that was the strangest thing to realize about these two reviews is that I'm OK with both of them. Not depressed about the bad one and not over the moon about the good one. Obviously, I prefer the good one but overall, everything is just the same. I'm finally learning how to deal with reviews on a much more objective level.

Still, sometimes I think about the strange lives that authors live; wearing their hearts on their sleeves and hoping people will love their work.

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
baronlaw
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Just like you said you would.
The truly great thing is, you are making a living as a writer!
cuddlycthulhu
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
*nod* I hear you. This year I've become much more active in my submissions which means, of course, more rejections. It can be very hard putting our work out there but I'm glad you're taking both in stride.
anghara
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
As far as ANY bad review goes, if you don't get them then not enough people are reading you. If there are those who love what you do it stands to reason that someone, somewhere, will hate it. On the whole, your choices are to KNOW about it (and basically learn to take the bad with the good) or to close your eyes and go "la la la everyone loves me so there" and never think about the other end of the spectrum again.

Either way... it's an opinion. That's all it is. Keep it in that context.
mamapduck
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
Neither review sounds like an objective and thoughtful critique. If the reviewers respectively loved and hated *everything* it suggests that they might not be giving the collection the sort of scrutiny that is useful feedback. I mean, maybe the entire issue really was superlative or appalling but it's not my experience that that happens with magazines. If I hate *everything* in a given magazine issue it generally means I just don't like the subject matter.
eyezofwolf
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
I think you are definitely in a good place and doing well. You are making a career out of what you love to do. But you are a hundred percent correct about wearing your heart on your sleeve. I know how a negative review still pangs - I wonder if it ever gets easier.
anghara
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
"I wonder if it ever gets easier."

No.

But you learn to bear it.
talvinm
Apr. 29th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Robert Heinlein had quite a number of (not nice) things to say about Critics. He only worried about pleasing one critic: the kid with enough allowance and lawnmowing money in his pocket to buy ONE book and too many to choose from.

Remember: Shakespeare didn't write for the critics and reviewers either. He wrote for the people who wanted to go see a play. :)
seductionjunkie
Apr. 30th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
I think it may be the same for a lot of the film industry too, I know that when we make a film and someone doesn't like it, my first inclination is to feel like I failed. But there are so many people out there, that you'll always have people who hate the work for whatever reason, and people who will love it, for whatever reason.
I think the determination you show to continue on, regardless of the criticism, is admirable and inspirational.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )