Monday, April 6, 2009

Typical...ouch.

By Jamie Hill

Rejection
.

According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) : The word "rejection" was first used in 1415. The original meaning was "to throw" or "to throw back". Makes sense to me.

Every author has a tale about that first rejection. I've told my story numerous times...an outrageous, 120K manuscript and 27 rejection letters...I barely knew what I was doing back then. That book didn't get published until I knocked it down to a tight 30K.

Instead of rehashing that tale, today I'm going to talk about reviews. Obviously the word rejection shouldn't go hand in hand with the word 'reviews', but occasionally, ouch. In my defense, I've received many more good and decent reviews than negative ones. But those first few bad and so-so comments stuck with me.

There was the man (I'm picturing a middle-aged, paunchy man) who didn't care for my first romantic suspense novel and said it read like a romance novel intended for women. Huh? Excuse me? He was obviously not my target audience.


Some reviewers haven't liked my sex scenes, thought the supposedly sexy dialogue was cheesy, and didn't think I'd rounded out my characters enough. These are all points other people/reviewers have loved about my writing, which goes to show taste is subjective. An early reviewer rated my story in an anthology very low, suggesting it smacked of incest because my ghost was being promiscuous in front of her ghost father.

Oops. My ghost bad.

Just today I opened my email to another review. I'll share the last line with you.

It is short, which made it easier to get through and fans of the author’s writing may enjoy this story, as it’s typical of the writing and plot of her offerings.

Ouch.

One of my critics said, "That's just not the type of book I like to read." (I hate to break it to you, Mom, that one was written before I discovered I enjoyed writing erotic romance. You don't want to read what I'm writing these days.) I'm fairly sure she knows it. If she doesn't, there's a disclaimer on my website saying if you're under 18 or Jamie's mother, don't go any further.

Fortunately, there are people (and reviewers) who like my work and seem to get what I'm trying to do.

Some of my favorites include:

The talented Jamie Hill creates a story of romance
and suspense that is both sensual and realistic.

A short story that will have readers seeing the light that is Jamie Hill.

Jamie Hill is at the top of her game with her new erotic release and I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

Bottom line for me...rejection sucks. It stings, but I try not to sweat the small stuff and take joy where I can find it. The 'light that is Jamie Hill' line brings a smile to my face every time.

*G*

Have a great week, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.



9 comments:

  1. Jamie,

    How funny! Just goes to show, different strokes for different folks. No rejection from me....I like your writing! :)

    Maurya

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  2. Don't sweat it. Reviews are very subjective. They are the opinions of one person and no more.

    I once had a reviewer complain that my book made her "think too much." What a crime!

    I once had a reviewer compare the "gateway" in my Kegin books to Stargate, "if you like that kind of thing." Obviously, she didn't.

    I once had a reviewer bag my book for being a patriarchal society (it wasn't, actually...it was a balanced world) instead of matriarchal one. It was her assertion that EVERY female sf/f writer should write matriarchal worlds. Uh...wonder what her reaction would be to the fact that I wrote a matriarchal society and had them crushed in a war? Not for lack of ability but because they were betrayed.

    For that matter, I once had a reviewer trash an anthology I was in...and he never said a WORD about the actual stories. He spent a whole page talking about how much he disliked the author bios. No kidding!

    The point? When you get this sort of snark, it's likely a reviewer problem and not a quality of the book problem. Reviewers with REAL gripes are capable of giving solid examples of what bothered them, and I don't begrudge it.

    One last thought? No book is universally loved or universally hated. Just dust off the haters.

    Brenna

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  3. Hi, Jamie,

    I'm really glad that you brought up reviews. I meant to mention them in my post, but forgot...

    Rejection doesn't bother me much, but a poor, or even a mediocre, review will have me depressed for days. And we all get them, alas. You really can't please everyone, and as Brenna points out, some reviewers seem to get their jollies by being nasty.

    (Love your pics, too!)

    Best,
    Lisabet

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  4. Rejection is bad. Period. lol But after you've been through it a couple of times it just doesn't seem to matter. Reviewing, like editing, can be very subjective.

    What I have a hard time with is when I see a bad review and an author is showing it off. Hmmm, maybe the author is being honest, taking the good with the bad. As for me, I'll just show off the good ones and trash the bad. lol

    Great blog, Jaime.

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  5. The Light That Is Jamie Hill!

    I love that line, its wonderful. Let me know if you start a messianic religion, I can help you with that.

    Garce

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  6. Maurya,

    Thanks for your continued support. It means a lot!

    Brenna,

    Your book made the reviewer think too much? Shame on you. That's a hoot!

    Lisabet,

    A bad review is naturally going to sting for a little bit. The longer we keep going, the easier it is to shrug them off. I actually went looking for some of my bad ones so I could quote them, and couldn't find most of them online. That was a joy in itself!

    Tess,

    I'm not bold enough to show off my bad reviews. I just let them slink into the depths. And I've never sent anything to Mrs. Giggles or that type of reviewer. Must have a very thick skin for those folks! Mine is getting there, but not quite yet. LOL

    Garce,

    Since I don't know what a messianic religion is, I'd better not start one up. Got all I can handle with my poor old Catholic mother.

    Thanks for commenting everyone!
    Have a great day!

    Jamie

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  7. Jamie... oh hang on, gotta get my sun glasses on here. There, better. LOL

    You know how I feel about your writing. We work beautifully together and I'm extremely proud we've become a team. It's fun too. I wonder if it's sinful? Hmm, maybe not go there huh?

    Reviewers can be horribly cruel but sometimes you just have to sit back and let it go. You really can't please everyone. The ones that confuse hell out of me are the ones that give lovely comments then a 2 hearts out of 5 or something.

    I've also had a few reviews that were inspiring and yet a few more that honestly made me think. Those are the ones I save. The ones that actually tell me what they liked and what they found problems with. Those help and give me something to work with.

    Gotta agree with you. Rejection does suck, but it's all part of this. It never stops sucking, but maybe we get used to it.

    Great post lady.

    Hugs

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  8. I've just been reviewed by the same reviewer who gave you the ouch! you mentioned - twice in as many weeks actually. Yep - ouch!

    You're right about bad reviews feeling like a rejection. I tend to get annoyed on my characters behalf too - it can so easily feel as if the reviewer is rejecting them too.

    Kim Dare.

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  9. Jude,

    Pardon me while I turn down my light--there we go. *G* It's easier to get rejected when you have a good friend to complain to. And when the editor tosses back one of our co-authored stories for extensive rewrites, a form of rejection, LOL, we can commiserate, which is great.

    You're to be commended for putting yourself out there and trying all kinds of new stuff. Yes, it opens up the possibility of more rejection than staying somewhere safe and cozy, but you just never know what might be behind that new door!

    Kim,

    I'm never sure I've gotten annoyed on my character's behalf- except maybe that one ghost/incest thing. She was a ghost for Pete's sake! I found out quickly how seriously people take their "ick" topics. LOL

    Thanks for commenting, you two.

    Jamie

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