It’s ten days to publication for “The Accident” and advance reviews are starting to come in. On the whole, the book is being received very positively – lots of four and five star reviews on Netgalley and Goodreads, with some lovely comments, which are always nice to read.
However, there have also been one or two more negative reviews and I have now realised that I am going to have to develop the skin of a rhinoceros if I am to survive as an author. When I read the first negative review, I felt wounded. The reviewer even resorted to capital letters to get her dissatisfaction across, as though she was shouting at me directly from the page. But then I forced myself to step back and look at the picture as a whole. First, it still came with a two star, which is better than one star. Second, I can respect that they spent time and money on a product that left them wanting.
Obviously, not everyone is going to like “The Accident”, but it is my hope that the majority will and will come away from it feeling moved in some way or thinking that the money they spent was worthwhile and that I provided them with a few hours of escapism, entertainment and enjoyment.
But it is inevitable that there will be some dissatisfied readers. There are many books that I have read that my friends have loved and I have thought, “Really? Why?” Even so, perhaps because I am a writer myself, I’m conscious of the fact that there is a person behind that book, who has spent years working on it, perfecting it, creating a world from their own imagination, and invested a lot of emotion and energy into it. It’s a surreal thing to see something you have worked on in isolation for so long become a physical entity of its own, much like a child, and that you have to release it into the public and set free. The idea that my friends and family will read my words fills me with a fair degree of trepidation, but the Great British Public fills me with fear.
One of the downsides of social media is that everyone is welcome to post their opinions without recourse, so I have to brace for criticism and hope for praise. With this in mind, if you feel moved enough to write a review, treat it like you would when appraising your child’s dodgy attempt at making a pottery vase…. And if it’s not your cup of tea, I’ve still done you a service by making you spent your £3 on a book rather than on a muffin to accompany your latte. You can thank me later.