In this continuing series, I will show you how not to give a fuck about your book rejections, bad reviews, and disappointing sales. Please see the table of contents at the bottom of this post for more in this series.
So, now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty of this series. The really HARD stuff. All of my previous suggestions are kind-of metaphysical/physical, right? Concentrate on your body or your brain and you’ll be distracted into not giving a fuck. But here starts the practical suggestions on what you can do for your career if you’re giving too many fucks and can’t stop.
This is the hardest one of all, so I’ll put it first. Just don’t look at your sales or reviews. Just don’t do it. I know it’s hard. I know. I really do. You spent all that time slaving over your book and you want to see how it’s doing. Because, somehow, we gain validation when other people love our work as much as we do. You yearn for someone to adore your main character as much as you do, flail over your world-building, or fall in love with the hero. And in creative endeavors, feeling the love and admiration from others feeds us and makes us work harder. I mean, who wants to write if no one is ever going to see it or love it as much as we do, right? (This is sarcasm, by the way. Writing for ourselves first is the most important thing).
But! But it’s not that easy. This is a case where you can be damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Those positive reviews can also tear us down if we suffer from Imposter Syndrome, that feeling that someone is going to figure out you’re faking it. You may look at the praise and think, “No. There’s no way this applies to me. I suck. How come they can’t see that?” I’m a phony, a total disaster! Ugh. I’ve been there. Those positive reviews are supposed to make us feel awesome! Sometimes, though, they don’t, in a destructive way.
Then there are the negative reviews that tear us or our work down. They’re harder to swallow than the positive ones, but we read them anyway. But I have news for you. Here’s the thing, random people on Goodreads, Amazon, or their blogs are going to have opinions of your work, and those opinions should have no bearing on how you write. I’ve heard lots of new authors say they read their negative reviews so they can “learn from them.” No. Don’t do this. Those random people don’t have the qualifications to give you real constructive feedback. They’re giving their opinion about how they felt about your work.
Even if they say there are typos or grammar issues, as long as your work is professionally edited, those reviews can be ignored. Why? Most people have NO CLUE how to use commas, transitive or intransitive verbs, quotes, or even adjectives properly. If you spend any amount of time online now, you’ll see this every day. The state of English grammar in this world is dismal. Unless your book is averaging 2 stars or lower, there is no need to panic.
I know this is hard. I really do. But the majority of professional authors don’t look at their sales daily or their reviews, and this is how they manage to continue writing and not fall into a pit of despair. Once you get into the pit, it’s VERY hard to get out. VERY. Don’t let yourself go there. Don’t look at your sales. Don’t look at your reviews. BE STRONG. You’ll thank me for it later.