Everyone's a critic.
Honestly, I am having to learn to have thicker skin because as a writer, when you put your work out there, everyone has something to say. Whether it's a 'well-meaning' friend, co-worker or family member, it seems that because you publically put your writing in print, that clearly means that you WANT to hear what they're thinking.
When my first book came out, I didn't market it very much so a lot of the people who reviewed it were friends who were just being nice. I think they all thought "Hey, Stace wrote a book. Let me cheer her on."
By the second book they were like "A second one? Really? Oh, good for you!" and they wrote very nice reviews. But because "The Christmas Cottage" got a lot of publicity - mainly because it was a Christmas book at Christmas and everyone LOVES Christmas time, I was suddenly dealing with people I didn't know leaving reviews. For the most part, people were nice but there were a few that were SUPER critical. I was hurt but I moved on. The biggest complaint? Grammar errors. I mean, they were completely right and it was an easy fix. It was my own damn fault for rushing things so I couldn't be too terribly upset.
When the third book came out, it was not received very well. The friends and family were like "Another one? Already? Well, I'll see if I have time to write a review". Okay, fine, I get it. You only want to help - to a point. So most of the reviews on "Ever After" are solely from strangers. The biggest complaint? They didn't like Ava - the main character. They said she was annoying. Um...if you'd read "The Christmas Cottage" ("Ever After" is the continuation) you would have known how over-the-top her character was.
Then we got to "Catering to the CEO". Seriously, for the first week or so, NO ONE wrote a review and I was a little devastated. I didn't really ask anyone but I figured that since I was promoting it all over Facebook, SOMEONE would have gone and written one. Finally, a friend of my in-laws (who has been my absolute biggest supporter!) wrote a wonderful review. The others all came basically from strangers.
Now here's the funny part and something that you need to keep in mind - I write romances. Okay, when you THINK of romance, what comes to mind? Love, relationships, sex...happily ever after? Right? Well, I had someone complain about the happily ever after!! Ever romance I ever read consisted primarily of a couple getting together, having some sort of conflict, then someone apologizing and admitting their love and then, THE END!
**SPOILER ALERT*** DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK!! So when my character Adam (who had been a controlling jerk for most of the book) finally came to his senses and confronted Cassie about how wrong he'd been and tells her that he loves her, she forgives him! Why? Because what good would it have been if she had responded with "Um, yeah, that's great but it's too late" and walked away? I would have wasted 170 pages building up to something that wasn't going to happen!
For real, lady. She said women were pathetic. Clearly this woman had run someone off who never came back and said they loved her. Sorry, mean girl moment, but when you read a romance book, you WANT the happy ending; you want the man to realize he's been a jerk and that he can't live without the woman.
Maybe I need to put the spoiler alert in my book descriptions. Something like "Warning: This book contains a happy ending. If that doesn't appeal to you, go find another book".
What do you think?