Continuing this post series with a tip for trusting yourself and your book:
Don’t look to others for validation. You can never please everyone, and trying will only make you miserable.
It’s no secret that you need pretty thick skin in this business. Critics lurk in every corner of the world, including right at home. And “haters” will go out of their way to make you feel like complete and utter shit, sometimes under the pretense of “helping you.”
Here’s the thing. No one starts out a best seller. You have to write a million words before what you put on paper starts to resemble an enjoyable book. You are always learning, and growing and the feedback won’t always be glowing praise. But there’s a huge difference between constructive criticism, which points out issues and suggests ways to fix it, and just plain hateful critique that just breaks you down to make the other person feel better.
You have to learn to accept the former with humility and grace and look at the comments objectively. It’s not personal, it’s an opportunity to learn–because we are all constantly learning and looking for ways to do just a little better than last time. It’s part of the journey and if you reject it, the only person you’re cheating is yourself. Your readers won’t put in the effort into reading your books if they see you’re not willing to put in the effort to write them as best as you can.
The latter, you’re under no obligation to listen to, whether it comes from your mom, a well-known author, or your best friend. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt, especially if it comes from someone whose opinion you deeply value. When there’s a strong emotional connection, it can be difficult to separate a personal opinion from constructive feedback.
And we’re talking about your book baby here; there will always be a strong emotional response to anything anyone says. So how can you tell if the feedback is constructive or just plain cruel? It helps to distance yourself, take a breather and take an objective look at what they said. Is there anything in their feedback that you can use to improve the story? If so, swallow your pride do it. If not, let it go and move on.