I knew it would happen. Anyone who does anything subjective is going to have to face it, sooner or later. The Negative Review.
The kind lady who did not like my book didn't lambaste me. She isn't a hater. She just didn't like my story. I was bracing for this day. Ever since I hit "publish" on my first blog post four years ago, I've been expecting someone to tell me that it's all drivel. Then I put a complete work of fiction out there. A novel that came out of my own head, through my fingertips and onto your ereader. It's been out for over a year now, so I've been waiting with bated breath for that first "don't quit your day job" comment.
I want my readers to devour the story. I want them to laugh and cry, and smile through their tears, just like Dolly Parton's favorite emotion. (Name that movie). I want them to nod their head in recognition at the characters and let their coffee get cold because they're too wrapped up to sip.
It was not to be for one kind reader. She was very nice about it. Apparently, she didn't hate it so much that she wanted to burn me in effigy and then chuck her Kindle into the fire for good measure. She didn't say that I need to get my sorry ass back to kindergarten and start over. That would have been especially hurtful, since (you may recall) I was rejected for kindergarten. It would awful to discover, at this late date, that sharing and napping are not the only things I missed. Maybe that's one reason why this didn't hurt the way I expected it to. I thought I would really struggle with my first negative review (which I knew would show up someday). It didn't work out that way.
Maybe it was how mildly bad the review was. It was a very classy bash with no expletives at all. Maybe it was the realization that unless I get feedback on BOTH what really evoked something in a reader and what left you yawning, I won't know what you're thinking. It could also be I realize that if a shopper only sees good reviews, it starts looking like the only reviews are coming from friends. (As much as I loved the reviews my friends wrote, the ones from strangers sure made me swoon.) Maybe it's because there are a lot of kinds of books I don't like, too.
Or maybe..... I'm growing up.