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Full disclosure: I hardly ever look at my reviews on Goodreads. It's not a platform that generates a lot of traffic or sales for me, so it tends to get overlooked when I am promoting or reviewing what readers say about my work. Still, it came as a bit of shock to see the low star ratings piling up there.
Independent authors and publishers rely on HONEST (and thoughtful) reviews. Whenever I send out a story or a collection, I ALWAYS mention the thoughtful part. EVERYONE has an opinion. But, if you can't justify it, it's JUST an opinion. Most of these sorts of reviews say more about the reviewer than the work itself.
I saw a book dedication once that read: "This is not for you." That really resonated with me, and I might just make that a boiler plate dedication for future books that Sisyphus produces. Why? I write because I LOVE to do it! It's challenging and interesting and creative. Writing feeds my soul. If I can add something meaningful and enjoyable to the greater canon of horror, then that's icing on the cake. I don't expect everyone to like my writing (or the stories, because they are two separate things, people!). I try to elevate and promote those people who DO enjoy them. They lift me up. They motivate me to KEEP WRITING when I am feeling uninspired or burnt out, or when my body simply tells me "enough is enough". I am ENORMOUSLY grateful for kind commentary, but even more so for THOUGHTFUL comments.
Lezlie does that. She's the bomb. And not just for her glowing reviews, but because she's thoughtful about what she reads. There's substance to her reviews. They're smart and funny and insightful. And for those of us who struggle to get their work into the hands of people who might actually read and enjoy a piece, voices like hers are crucial.
I will be the first to say that my writing isn't for everyone (it may not be for you, right?). It's intentionally challenging to read. I write for a more erudite audience (chuckle...see what I did there?). I am unapologetic about my storylines or for the characters who tell the stories. I do my best to insure that the stories are well edited and proofread by MULTIPLE people before they are released into the wild. I never publish ANYTHING that hasn't undergone RIGOROUS revisions and edits and "internal reviews" (i.e. writing critique groups, beta/test readers, editors, etc.). I believe that effort shows in the QUALITY of the final product.
Am I perfect? Hah! NO! And, by extension, is my writing perfect? No. But I constantly strive to IMPROVE. What I ask myself every time I sit down is: Does doing this bring me joy? As long as writing does that, I plan to scratch out my thoughts for as long as I am able — regardless of the one star reviews.
The Nerdy Narrative was good enough to post this and start a discussion about it on YouTube. I would encourage readers to follow her review page and join in the discussion.
#TheNerdyNarrative #DenverHorrorCollective #horrorcommunity #goodreads
Review notes from Instagram Reviewer Danielle V. "luna13darke" I think my favorite comment from her review was "Ho. Lee. Shit." ;-)