As I close in on the release of my second book, The Circle of Duty, I’m turning my mind to the horror that is the impending reviews.
I’m not just expecting everyone to just start ripping lumps out of my work but the fear of what is going to be said is a very real thing. I’m going to be sharing a piece of art I’ve created over a period of years. I sat and worked on this story for so many hours, in so many locations, that the thought of it being crucified by public opinion is not one that fills me with glee.
I had a bizarre idea last week and I’ve no idea where it came from.
I decided to dive on the Amazon website and have a look at some of the reviews on there for some other books. I knew that if I could see that everyone came in for a critical mauling at some point, at least it would take the edge off the inevitable body blows should they start coming. My first book to check? 1984.
I read 1984 when I was studying English at A-Level and found it to be an amazingly powerful story. It’s now one of my favourite books but guess what? Twenty three one star reviews. Granted some are jokes (well I think they are) talking about Michael Jackson and Culture Club but there are a healthy stack which dismiss the book as poorly written and boring. Next up was To Kill a Mockingbird and again there was a group of jokes but again, a rather healthy chunk of ‘worst book I’ve ever read’ and ‘gave up’.
Book after book which are deemed ‘classics’ were on the receiving end of withering criticism from people who just didn’t like what they’d read. So if it can happen to them, it’s a fair chance that similar treatment will come my way at some point. All I can cling to is the fact that I’ll take on board every piece of criticism which could make things better for future work but the comments which don’t really evolve beyond ‘didn’t like it’ can be viewed through the eye of P.T. Barnum. Everyone has an opinion but that isn’t the only thing everyone has!