Take it on the chin …

I’m feeling a little cliched this morning, with a semi-bruised ego to complement the full “Monday” effect.  It’s all about writing triumphs and let downs a person feels after distributing their work, indie or otherwise.  I appreciate sincere constructive criticism and fully realize my writing skills can improve.  Growth is a part of the process, along with some skin thickening.  Reading reviews of my book is a little test of fortitude along the way.

Readers’ tastes vary so much, and everyone has an opinion about what they consume.  It’s difficult to be optimistic when the inevitable scathing remarks are posted online, though.  There are always going to be people who point out the flaws and rightfully so.  Professional editing is expensive for an indie writer to pursue.  There are mistakes along the way.  Syntax can remain imperfect and spelling errors are still missed after a hundred re-reads.  I know my skills need sharpening, but I’ll continue to learn.  And improve.  And struggle.  And still feel a twinge of hurt when people don’t like what I write.  But it’s not about me, it’s about what I wrote.  I’m just lucky I could pursue Kindle Direct Publishing.  The year 2011 presented me this opportunity.

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I enjoy writing.  The stories reveal themselves to me.  My imagination runs wild with “what ifs,” and I want to share the fictional results.  I hope to take the points readers make about my books and how they’re told and become better at elucidating the story.

What point might readers take away from each one?  It’s easy for me to say there’s no underlying agenda, but critics won’t believe so.  That’s the point of criticism — to judge, from the critic’s point of view, what they like or dislike about a story.  They don’t know my motivation, if any, and can find fault with something I never imagined would be questioned.

My short fiction is not intended as academic findings or projected truisms.  The  stories are not rocket science or particle physics (thank you Howard, Sheldon and Leonard).   They are certainly not remarks about any group of people as a whole.  I would never purposefully stereotype, unless there might be a reason to do just the opposite.  Neither novella up to this point has any underlying psycho-analytic value to it at all!  Different make-believe characters are put together in a sequence of make-believe events.  That’s it.Image

However, I think I’ll always leave a slight air of mystery in future works.  Everything will not be wrapped up with a shiny bow at the end.  That’s not what I like to read about, and I don’t plan to write anything that has a picture-perfect climax either.  I am always asking myself “what if” and want readers to ask themselves the same question.

That said, independent publishing is new to me.  I put what I write up to scrutiny by going through KDP.  Asking a small fee for my short books means people want what they paid for.  One day I may offer more thorough character development and explanation in a complete full-length novel.  There will still be negativity then, too.  Until that time, I need to toughen up or not read the online reviews.

Accepting criticism, though, is also a part of the process.  Distributing your work unfortunately invites some tough evaluation, and it’s not always pretty.  But I’m learning, and I’m doing my best.  Some readers have liked what I had to say so far.  It’s fun, and I hope somebody else has a little fun with it, too.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Take it on the chin …

  1. reciperecords

    Fear Not Adorable Friend. Looks to me like the reviewer is a “career critic” – clearly dissecting your story makes him/her feel superior. I say – “have at it pony boy– and while you’re at it….pass along YOUR books so WE can pull them apart as well.. ” Yes, you are my friend & I’ll always support you Katy…I realize there is a certain amount of criticism that comes with having your “handy work” under the microscope….so embrace it & beware…..how brave you are to publish your work out there & I’m proud to be your friend :)

  2. I love that, “Embrace it and beware.” Sound advice, my friend. Thanks!

  3. At least it wasn’t a 1-Star rating like I received but without any true explanation at all!!! And I would be more than willing to edit/proofread your next piece for nothing. I am currently offering my services for free for another blogger who is going through Kindle Direct Publisher like we did. It’s easy to be a critic; it’s much harder to be critiqued. You have a great attitude. Keep writing! :)

    • I feel your pain, Paula, from having my own three one-star ratings on goodreads with no explanations. It’s almost better to NOT know why they hated it … lol!
      Thank you for offering to help in the editing process. That’s very generous of you. All we can do is keep on plugging, eh?

  4. deb

    sigh. this is the travail of every writer. up one day because someone paid us a compliment, down the next because of a harsh critique. it is so hard to get that thick skin you talk about. my advice: always look for truth in the critique so you can improve (if it’s a lengthy review, then maybe even take some notes in your own kind hand so you don’t forget important points) then never read the actual review again. take what you’ve learned and get back to what you loved about what you wrote. reread your work for yourself and enjoy it. chin up! :)

    • I totally appreciate your feedback! The reviewers who make good points can help us, as you say, but it makes you wonder why naysayers take such pains to criticize. And you’re right … it’s time to move on to the next work and try to improve the quality of each one. Thanks!

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