You Can’t Please Everyone…Writer Beware

Without shining a light on the issues that gave me the idea for this post, I learned early on that my writing is not going to be right for everyone. I also know that some people will love some things I write and hate other things I write. It’s just the way it is.

Once I write something, and have it vetted by beta readers, agents, acquisitions editors and editors…it’s out of my hands. Nothing I can say or do will make a reader like it. Nothing I can say or do will make a reader not like it. Whatever they feel about my work is up to them. What I do is present my best effort, made better by those who helped the piece make its way to the marketplace. After that, it becomes something that is entirely and emphatically out of my hands.

I read reviews. I know that some authors say they don’t read reviews…and that others should do the same and avoid them at all costs. But I do read them. Every single one I come across. I listen to what the reviewer has to say. Sometimes–in the majority of cases, I suppose…which makes me eternally grateful–the comments are extremely lovely. A lot of readers like the end product that I have put out there into the world. Sometimes–in enough cases that I feel the need to improve upon my work at all times–the comments are hard to read and most decidedly uncomplimentary.

I can’t write something that everyone will like. That’s impossible. That will always be impossible…for every writer.

I take the good reviews as a notion that I am doing something right…I am touching readers with my words. I take the bad reviews as a notion that I can do better. Much better. I appreciate the harsh reviews as much as I appreciate the glowing ones. I attempt to take away from them insights that will make me a better writer. I hope that they are never written with malice or as personal vendettas against me as a person. And even if they are, that is entirely the reviewer’s option. They have a right to write whatever they wish about my works. I’m only grateful that my words are being read.

I will always read my reviews. I will consider deeply whatever the reviewer is attempting to say…good or bad. And sometimes, their words will hurt me deeply. And sometimes I will get a review that will make my day, my week, my month, my year.

Ultimately, I’m responsible for my words. I own everything I ever wrote and allowed into the marketplace. And the reviewers? They’re responsible for their words. Their words are not supposed to have anything to do with me. They are free to comment on my works as they see fit to do so.

My job is to take the ideas and notions in my head, gestate them to term and give birth to them. My job, after that, is to not get offended or take it personally if someone thinks one of my babies is ugly. Someone else will eventually come along who thinks it’s a pretty baby. And someone else, again, will come along and think it’s an okay baby with some ugly defects. This is how it goes.

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life
No pictures today. I welcome you to visit either AMAZON, KOBOBOOKS, BARNES & NOBLE, or CHAPTERS INDIGO to check out my books. Reviews can be found (or posted) on GOODREADS. If you take (took) the time to write a review of one of my 5 books (Summer on Fire, Sebastian’s Poet, The Reasons, Burn Baby Burn Baby, Half Dead & Fully Broken), I thank you. Whether you loved my work or hated it, liked it or were indifferent to it, I thank you. One of the greatest gifts I have is my love of writing. The added gift I have is in knowing that my words are not going out into the void without having ever touched another living soul. Any review I receive is validation that I have put myself out there. Yes, it’s a vulnerable position to put yourself in. But it’s a position I chose with both eyes open. I can’t do so without expecting a little rain sometime. When you go from writer to author, you give the world carte blanche to judge you. You say to them, “BRING IT!” And then you merely hope for the best…

3 Comments on “You Can’t Please Everyone…Writer Beware

  1. Never let a reviewer’s personal comments make you gun shy about writing about a touchy subject, or using hard language.

  2. Since I follow you, this post came up on my Reader. It immediately snagged my attention as it fell in line with an author Q&A I’ve been working on all day for a soon-to-be-published novel of mine. I’ll copy and paste one question and answer in particular that made me empathize with you:

    Q. There’s a laundry list of reasons why it could be challenged. What are your views on censoring?
    A. All right, back to the target audience question. First and foremost, I am my initial target audience. Am I happy with it? Do I like it? As a matter of fact, yes, I do. As for everyone else, you can love it and wallpaper the den with the pages, or else you can hate it and line the birdcage with it. You have your own mind, hopefully it’s filled with your own opinions and preferences, so use it. I have my own mind—filled with opinions and preferences—and I will not censor my work because shit shocks a few. The library of Earth is vast, read what pleases you.

    Anyway, back to you, Kevin. Are you happy with it? You know that’s all that really matters, right? There had to have been a moment when you were happy, satisfied, and proud of what you’d written. Remember that joyful feeling of accomplishment because that was a good day, and if you allow it, it’s also your shield on the bad days.

  3. @Dale Long – I wouldn’t change a thing for anyone but myself. (-:
    @Melswiggins – This is always the point at which I end editing…when I feel I couldn’t be happier with it. I can’t really say I’m overly happy with the end products…but I’m happy with where I decide to stop. When the story is told in the way closest to the way I want to tell it…yes, I am satisfied. (-:

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