Roller Coaster Reviews

Saturday, April 12, 2008
No matter how serene and unaffected you think you'll be, when the reviews of your debut book start rolling in, you need to be ready for a wild emotional ride. I don't think there's a roller coaster theme park in the world that can match the highs and lows.

As many of you know, my memoir, The Break-Up Diet launched on Valentine's Day. Over the course of the first month, I watched Amazon like the future of my writing career depended on it. It was a lot like waiting in a long line for the best ride. The anticipation. The excitement. The waiting. Then...

Woo-hoo! Readers say the book is "compulsively readable," "clever and entertaining" and they use words like "superb," "witty," "fascinating," "endearing," and "terrific."

You're in the front car, front seat, with your hands in the air, on The Slingshot--rocketing toward the stars with the wind in your face, laughing, flying, and about to take a second lap around the moon.

Then, before the exhilaration cools, more reviews come in: "disappointing," "not much substance," "forgettable."

Welcome to The Death Drop--where you are the only rider aboard, frantically trying to brace yourself in a seat with a broken safety buckle. The car is pushed to the edge of a precipice and you find yourself free-falling with your stomach lodged in your throat and no chance to catch your breath.

And so it goes on The Yo-Yo ride. Up and down: happy, sad, elated, depressed, confident, worried, thankful, irritated--until finally, you decide to trade in your E-tickets and climb on the Whatever Tram. It's not an apathy ride; it's smooth and Zen-like in its simple acceptance and understanding that you can't please everyone.

All you can do is put your story out into the world. Some people will embrace it, others will not, and that's okay. You have new stories to tell and your characters need your emotional attention.


Anonymous said...

I laughed so much when reading your post -- not at the topic but because I could identify with the roller coaster ride! I love your description.
I wish it was in my nature to put something out there for everyone (e.g. my book) and then just let it happen -- but no, I need to check on it on a regular basis. Drives me insane at times... but what drives me insane more is the indifference kind of comments -- I wish people would say what they really meant rather than leave me hanging trying to second-guess whether they liked it or not. And at the end of the day, it's irrelevant whether people like it or not -- I know I'm happy with it. And I did my best. Hmmmmm!


Marcia Peterson said...

I can only imagine how intense this must be for authors. You send your baby out into the world and then wait for the reviews.

Sometimes reviewers forget that there's a human being behind each book. We all have our preferences but be kind to the writers with what you're saying!

*Wishing you many, many more glowing reviews and high ratings* :)

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