Another crop of reviews are coming in for VULNERABLE and they’re freaking me out.

I can’t read it. I can’t. I thought I was all over this, but knowing it’s out there is just freaking me out. I got a 3 star review yesterday–(one of two, now) but I had to laugh at that one–she complained about all the sex, and I’m thinking “what a way to boost sales!” Anyway, I can’t read this next one. How am I going to do this? How am I going to keep writing when this shit just ruins me? I thought my skin was getting thicker…I thought I was getting all insouciant about getting hammered by complete strangers for stuff I thought I’d already apologized for, but I’m not.

I got the 3* review yesterday–there was a student in the room. I saw that the review number had increased, and I moaned a little…right in the back of my throat. And then the physical stuff started. The palms started to sweat, my chest got tight, I had this absurd urge to cry… I HADN’T EVEN READ IT YET!!!

“What’s wrong Miz Lane?”

“Review,” I tell her briefly, and she nods her head in sympathy. That was for a 3 star review that complained about the sex.

Now that I know this one is two stars, I’ve got a class room full of kids and I know that in order to function professionally, I can’t read this dumb thing–it would wreck me for the day.

I’ve explained this to them–I’ve told them all about getting the reviews and how it terrifies me–I tell them this so they know that I understand that getting their work critiqued is not a picnic. I’m always very careful to give them a strength that they can be proud of, besides some things to work on. I’m always very careful to emphasize that this is a rough draft, that I understand that there are extenuating circumstances, and that they will have a chance to improve their work.

I can’t explain that to people reading VULNERABLE. I mean, I HAVE explained it, but now it feels like I’m whining and I can’t do that anymore. And it shouldn’t matter. I feel good about VULNERABLE. It’s my first book–there are flaws, but I think it has moved people in a really wonderful way. I think every book I’ve written gets better–that’s all you can ask for in a writer, right? I think this last book (BITTER MOON) is going to kick ass. I think the sequel to it is going to rip your heart out and serve it to you on a gorgeously colored textured ceramic platter, and make you glad you ate it, because it’s your heart.

But these things are by no means certain–and my certainty grows weaker with stupid things like a slough of crap reviews, and I wish that were not so. Men can do this. I’ve seen men get crap review after crap review, and something about the functioning of their ego works so that they just keep believing in themselves until other people do. It’s harder for women. We’re not geared that way. We’re geared to self-reflect, self-improve, self-criticize.

I hate that sometimes. I really do.

0 thoughts on “Reviews”

  1. Wow, quite the melt down you had there. Feel better?

    Something to make you smile:

    The stone cold truth of our friendship:

    When you are sad — I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

    When you are scared — I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

  2. Netter says:

    You’ve put your heart and soul into these books, of course it’s going to affect you when people say negative things. Don’t apologize for it.

  3. Louiz says:

    Exactly, your writing is stunning and has obviously taken a lot of you with it, of course you’re going to be affected by reviews – and personally I think your work is brilliant (if that helps)

  4. Donna Lee says:

    It’s the same reason men with huge bellies can wear speedos on the beach and women obsess over a small bit of cellulite on their thighs.
    Vulnerable was a good novel. First or otherwise. I always wonder why critics aren’t out there putting their hearts and souls on the table for everyone to pick apart. (possibly because they have no souls?)

  5. Don’t forget to read that last sentence of the three-star review. I think it’s her most significant comment. It means a lot that she intends to “continue reading these stories despite the editing mistakes.”

  6. Galad says:

    I can not imagine the courage it takes to put your “baby” out there for the world to criticize. Vulnerable isn’t perfect but it is a great story. It convinced me to plunk down my hard earned money and keep reading. That’s a five star rating in my book!

  7. roxie says:

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticise. Sweetie, yu know there are rabid raccoons out in the world who want nothing more than to bite everyone. What most criticism comes down to is not, “This book could be better written,” but, “It didn’t make me as happy as I hoped it would.” These criticisms say little about the quality of your book and a great deal about the whiney, piss-ant spirit of the critics.

    You tell a damn good story. Piss on the little peckerwoods!

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