What are YOUR writing goals? Building a name for yourself? Sharing your created worlds and characters with others? Escaping for a bit? Making extra money to escape somewhere for a bit in the real world?
The fact is, each and every one of the above motivations for writing a book/book series are equally acceptable and none are mutually exclusive. That said, based on forums I’ve perused and fellow authors I’ve spoken with, there seems to exist a looming anxiety over what your reviewers will say about your book – and, perhaps most importantly, what those reviews mean about your quality as an author.
So let me begin by saying: The only opinion that really matters is your own – but only AFTER you have treated your work with the following before releasing to the public: Professional proofreader and story editor (if possible, multiple beta readers are). As long as you have a perfectly grammatically legible piece, from there it’s up to prospective readers to decide whether they want to invest in your book based on genre and book synopsis. Why? Simply stated, no one’s book will be everyone’s cup of tea – some folks prefer non-fiction over fiction, literary fiction over sci-fi, others prefer horror over romance and so on. Therefore, once you’ve got a well-edited story that avoids continuity errors and in whose characters and world you feel an immense stake – chances are high that readers who enjoy your genre will also come to love your creation with a similar level of fervor. Once YOU love your characters and universe as if they truly exist, that passion will come through in your writing. I once had a reviewer (who wholly admitted to not having read past chapter 1) state that as an author, I was “in love with [her] own made up world.” But folks, that’s the way it SHOULD be. If we don’t thrive on making our characters and worlds come alive, how can we expect the same from our readers?
Finally, there’s the issue of ‘sensitivity’ in fiction – or, not offending readers. Basically, it’s impossible to avoid hurting the feelings of every single person who might partake in your story. So at the end of the day, 1) Make sure the grammar and story continuity is professionally reviewed, 2) Write the characters as if they are people you know with real motivations and 3) Let your imagination run wild with those plots and worlds! At that point, anyone who slams your work might just be envious they couldn’t reach your level of creativity!
P.S. What are some of the wildest comments you’ve read from reviewers?
Click to check out sci-fi debut Apex Five!