REVIEW YOU! Julie’s Opinions on Criticism

TODAY’S BREW: All of it.

By Julie

HEY GUYS HOW’S EVERYONE GOOD THAT’S SO GOOD.

It is legitimately autumn. I was able to wear sweatpants as I drank my coffee on the porch this morning. DREAMS DO COME TRUE.

I’m writing today about reviews, but I’ll try to keep it general life advice that can apply to any criticism. Though I’ll probably not accomplish that. RUNNING HOME has been out for 10 days this go ’round, and is basically new to the world at large. Today, I got my first mean review.

YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT. I SAID “MEAN.” We’re all children in the face of criticism.

Things like this book makes TWILIGHT look like a masterpiece, no action, it was all about a girl who can’t live without a man, blah blah blah.

To which I reply, “SO?”

The tone of the criticism is vicious, which is not my way, but does RUNNING HOME have a TWILIGHT-esqueness to it? Damn right it does. I wrote this book in the wake of reading TWILIGHT in its hey day. (hay day? hai dai?) RUNNING HOME is not a brand new book to the world. It took a long damn time to write, it saw traditional publishing, it went to conferences, it met agents…. It made me quit my job and devote all my creative energy to it. And let me tell you a thing–it was worth it.

I can talk all day about TWILIGHT. This is a book that caught the world’s imagination, every age group, transcended demographics, it’s known to all. It changed the face of Young Adult novels. And I loved that it WAS mundane. It wasn’t the pomp of Anne Rice, the stylized stories of Dracula, or even the glory that was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was utterly ordinary. An ordinary girl, a dull-ass girl, living her ordinary dull life and the extraordinary is inserted into it. Extraordinary lives in the ordinary of it. I fucking loved that. Still do. For whatever is to be said about Meyer’s writing, there is no debating the fact that she has reached with her work more people than any of us probably ever will, and it has meant much to many of them.

I could only hope to affect people the way that book did.

When I read that series, I thought, I want this for adults. I want the ordinary infiltrated by the extraordinary, a fresh love that isn’t sex-centric, has all the butterflies and timidity of new love. Where the action is in the emotion and humanity, fated love and personal destiny, punctuated by enormous change. And I can write that. So I did. I’m damn proud of it.

AND ANOTHER THING. If all reviews were good, if I knew they all would be, what risk would there be? What would I be giving my readers that they can’t get anywhere else, even if they hate it? I want something strong enough that it causes FEELINGS. Good or bad. And I want to hear them. If we thought we’d get nothing but praise for our work, it wouldn’t be BRAVE to do it. I’m not cut out to be a coward. And I don’t need everyone to like what I do, or understand it. It’s mine, but I’m sharing it with you.

The popular opinion about bad reviews is to take the high road and ignore them–in the sense of not retaliating or being a baby about it. I won’t be the writer that says I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY JERKS and hustles off to eat a pint of ice cream. I’ll eat a pint of ice cream, don’t get me wrong. But I DO care.

I write for readers. I care what they think and I will listen. If there’s a pattern to criticism, I’ll act on it probably. But if I feel strongly about the path I’ve taken, I won’t. Because it’s mine, and I’m sharing it with you. It’s my heart on the page, and if it speaks to me it speaks to someone else, and that is who I write for. The person that needed this particular book. The one looking for it.

I’m passionate about my work, and therefore it does matter what readers think. But I won’t let it ruin me, I will only let it improve me. If I want it to.

MAKE YOUR PASSION MATTER. Don’t let it be swayed by opinion. Don’t be blind, but don’t take it all in. Make your passion matter to the right people.

Okay, that’s today’s unsolicited life advice. NOW, I promised you a fun fact about me with every blog post as you get to know me, so HERE.

JULIE FACTOID: I worked at a collection agency for three whole years.

Yeah, absorb that one. Calling debtors on the phone. I was THAT person.

 

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