Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG #1: Growing That Thick Skin



So this is my first blog post for the IWSG. It's a group I stumbled upon on Facebook. Their mission statement:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

Made it seem like a place that would be a perfect fit for me.


The first Wednesday of each month, we blog about our fears, insecurities, or even an accomplishment we had.

For my first post I'm tackling the idea of reviews. Before I became a writer I would read reviews of books I was interested in and I always went to the 1 and 2 star reviews first. Why? Well books get praise, I wanted to know what people didn't like about a book.

When I started my journey into self-publishing, the one thing I saw across all forums was don't respond to reviews. Good or bad. DON'T DO IT. Reading the negative reviews of other books, some were good in that they gave good feedback on why the story didn't work for them. Others...well they made me wonder if the reviewer was having a bad day when they let loose their 'frustration' on why they 'hated' the book.

Feedback is great for an author and I think that's especially true for Indie authors. We don't have the backing of a big publisher behind us, instead we need to know what the public feels and thinks about our work. However, for me, it's a double edged sword. No matter how many times I remind myself not everyone will like my book, it still hurts like hell to get that not so positive review. I could have 20 glowing reviews, but that 1 that is sorta meh, well that one would bother me. People say you have to grow a thick skin, don't let them get you down, well it's really easier said than done.

While I attempt to finally finish my second book, I've stopped reading reviews. If I happen to pop on to Goodreads, I make sure to block the top of my screen initially so I won't see if I got a new rating or review. I know me and if I see the number has changed, I'd be tempted to see what I got. I don't want that messing with my head, so I'm trying the out of sight out of mind approach for now. At least until I can get through book 2 that's taken me longer to write, partially because of the self-doubt I got after reading the meh reviews.

My journey as a writer is still in it's infancy. Hopefully with each new book, a new layer will grow to help shield me from the 'bad'.

~Meka

18 comments:

  1. I look at this way. Feedback is before the work is published because you can act on it. A review is one person's opinion. Everyone has one. Thick skin or not, there is much to be learned from all kinds of opinions.

    A tip: If you want more visits, sign-up here: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Yes, that is very true and I do take the feedback I get from my betas seriously. Reviews can be helpful in maybe figuring out what not to do in the next book.

      Thanks for the tip. I've gone and registered. I tried to comment on your blog, but it didn't show up. Sorry if you got it twice.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  2. Hi Meka. Welcome to IWSG. I'm #43. Wish I was still that age! I think avoiding reviews is a good thing when you're starting out. When you're ready to read, then you're ready. Know that contrast is good. Controversy is good. If something you wrote made them write a review, that's got to be a good thing. Good luck on your career. Thanks for joining IWSG.

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    1. Thanks for the welcome. When I first published I was eager to get reviews, to see what people thought about my work. When they started to affect how I handled my next novel I had to stop. I am happy that people bought, read, reviewed, so that is something.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  3. Welcome to the IWSG! I will second the "never respond" advice, and for the most part, the advice not to even look is good. And yet...I've been able to look at some of the criticisms and use that to make the next books better. So I do keep looking. I just try to put on my "editor" hat so that I don't feel like they just tattooed "loser" across my forehead, and see what I can learn.
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

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    1. Thanks for the welcome. I've never responded to a review. I've read the 'author behaving badly' websites and things like that. I read and walk away if needed. Some of the early ones I did remember and try to apply to my next book.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  4. I'm in the same spot as you, working on my 2nd novel. Reading reviews can be frustrating some times.

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    1. Very much so which is why I'm avoiding them for now. Good luck with your novel.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  5. Hi, Meka. Welcome to IWSG! It's a great support group.

    I know exactly how you feel regarding reviews. I read every one and after many nasty people's comments, I've learned to brush the bad ones off like a piece of lint. But they still hurt, but not as much as my first 1 star review.

    And I've never, ever responded. That is good, professional advice from many authors.

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    1. Thanks for the welcome. I'm enjoying the group so far and happy to have found it.

      I was reading everyone and I was enjoying them. It seemed like at one point I was ending up with more meh ones and it was kind of a downer. Last time I did read, I hadn't gotten an actual review that was only 1 star, but I do have them as ratings.

      I've not responded to any reviews either.

      Thanks for reading

      Delete
  6. Welcome to the IWSG! It will change your life! I hate reviews, but they're a part of it. I never read reviews before reading a book. I prefer to form my own opinion and I feel that most reviews are crap anyway. There's no filter. Anyone can leave a review and I read some where it's obvious the reviewer is just expressing a personal opinion.

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    1. Thank you. It's been a very welcoming group already.

      Reviews are a part of the whole process and I understand that. When I'm picking out a book, I don't mind reading the reviews. Some aren't very helpful and those I don't put much stock in, but some reviews are very well thought out and I appreciate those.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  7. You are already ahead of me since you are on your second book. I'm still working on my first, going to read-and-critique sessions like crazy. Being face-to-face with other writers willing to share their thoughts has been a good first step for developing thicker skin.

    Do you write many reviews of the books you read? I'm using that process to develop my critical thinking about what makes the books I read great and what would improve them. Then I'll apply the lessons to my own writing.

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    1. It's a slow process but I hope to get through book 2 soon. Book 1 took forever so I'm about on pace I guess. LOL I haven't found any face to face groups in my area. I'm sure they are around, I just don't know where to look. It's good that you have that and can get that feedback.

      I'm trying to write reviews for the books I read. One thing I see repeated a lot is to read more to help improve your own writing, so I've been trying to do that.

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  8. So glad you aren't focusing your time or attention on reviews. Obviously everyone is different and people will like different things. There is no way possible for you to make everyone happy. The best you can do is make yourself happy and hopefully it will make others happy in the process. :)

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    1. I had to stop looking at them since it was doing more harm than good. I realize I won't make everyone happy, there is no pleasing everyone but still you hope the majority will like what you produce. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my writing, so making me happy is a hard enough job. LOL

      thanks for stopping by

      Delete
  9. I haven't yet decided whether I will read any reviews once my book is published. It would be great to get feedback as to what people did and didn't like, but it probably won't be worth the pain.

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    1. It is hard to try and ignore the reviews. You do want to know what people think of your work, for the good and the bad as a learning experience. Reviews however are for the 'reader' not the 'writer' (seen that posted a bunch) so you don't get that same sort of constructive feedback you would from a beta. The reader are the ones buying your product so what they think is still very much important on some level.

      Good luck with your book and thanks for stopping by

      Delete