When my first book, a novella entitled THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE, was published on 25th April by Montana Born Books, I was incredibly excited. It was the moment I’d dreamed of for so long. But now it was actually happening, I also became a little fearful and anxious: my book would be up there on Amazon and if anybody did read it (which of course I really wanted them to), they might leave a review—and not necessarily a good one! Could I deal with the criticism?
You may wonder why I was getting my knickers in a knot about getting feedback. Well, partly because it’s kind of a boot-on-the-other-foot situation. For years, I was the one handing out the criticism, as an editor for a well-known publishing house. Then, I did try to be constructive and encouraging when I gave edits to authors, because that was the way to get buy-in and manuscripts revised. But there were times when I got it wrong, usually because time pressures or frustration, and I learned the hard way how a few ill-chosen words were all that it took to crush the recipient.
But it’s also because I had witnessed authors being torn apart on internet platforms. We’ve long been trained by famous critics of literature, film, theatre and art to expect pithy comment. There’s a certain vicarious thrill in reading a really excoriating review. But at least the critic is standing up and being counted. However, in our super-communicative, digital times, it’s so easy to let off steam relatively anonymously about stuff that we dislike and throw it out there into cyberspace. If a book annoys us, it’s cathartic to have a good old nit-pick and hide behind a handle. And there does appear to be an effect; if one person gives a sneering summary, others seem to willingly jump into the pool of poison and join in.
As it happens, I needn’t have worried: most of the reviews so far for THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE have been good and really encouraging. The criticisms have been thoughtful; real pearls of wisdom that I can take on board and use to make future books better, from genuine readers who love the romance genre, and who have generously shown support to a new writer.
Perhaps it’s a sign that the Internet is coming of age?
Joanne Walsh’s romance novella is published by Montana Born Books/Tule Publishing and is available now: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+unexpected+bride&sprefix=The+Unexpected+Bride%2Cstripbooks%2C236