Friday, 4 October 2013

Stop Worrying

An author whose work I enjoy is Susanna Kearsley, who writes timeslip romances linking her characters through time and distance in a spiritual way. I visited her website recently and found some excellent advice for all authors, aspiring, struggling and otherwise:

Stop Worrying

No book or story will ever please everyone. Don’t worry if yours isn’t loved (or even liked) by every reader. How many books do you know of that could be passed around a group of friends, a reading group, a room, and be universally loved? Not many. Remember the tale of the Old Man, the Boy, and the Donkey, and write your own story the way that it wants to be written.

After reading that, I realised I waste too much time second guessing myself and my writing. Ms Kearsley is very wise on this one, because what made me think that everyone who reads my novels, even avid followers of my chosen genre, are going to 'get' what I or my characters are saying?

I checked Ms Kearsley's numerous reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and she's right. To my mind, her books are beautifully written with some insightful emotions, but on average about ten percent of readers give her one or two star ratings.

Which tells me that an uncomplimentary review shouldn't put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, nor does it mean I have no right to call myself a writer  and resolve to ditch the laptop and take up baking - Therefore I'm going to stop worrying and work harder to make the next novel better.

Here's a reminder of the old Aesop's fable:


Jen Black said...

Hey - love the donkey!
Oh, and yes, you have to be strong enough to ignore the one and two stars reviews!

Melissa Marsh said...

I'm reading Susanna Kearsley's The Shadowy Horses right now. She's one of my favorite authors, too. And I agree - we simply have to let go of worrying about what everyone will think of our work. We won't be able to please everyone.

Anita Davison said...

Thanks Melissa for stoppy by my blog and leaving a comment, what a roller coaster ride it is being
an author when a good review can energise us for the next book and a bad one
make us resolve never to commit another work to paper again!
And of course my friend Jen, who always makes me think straight again!

Lisa Yarde said...

Ok, the donkey is the next best part of this post, second to the advice. Over time, rejections sting less as do bad reviews. We all get them, sometimes totally contradicting what another person said in a great review. Who's wrong in this case? Neither person - it's his or her opinion, not the final word on the merits of a story. I appreciate the time anyone takes to do reviews, because they're so hard to come by in the first place. Not everyone will like our works. The key is to engage and keep the interest of those who do so they'll come back for the next story.

Wendy said...

I just saw this post. Of course the Disorganized Author is speaking in general terms. I can't believe she has ever experienced a poor review. Having read her work I know for a fact no dedicated reader could find anything not to love in her intriguing novels.