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.
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.
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.