What Other People Think

True story: Way back a few years, a friend of mine and I applied for the same job. She got the job. And then, every day for two weeks she called me to find out how to do the job. I was happy to tell her. But it occurred to me that I was, in fact, doing the very job this particular company had decided I was not right for. They had NOT actually hired the right person. My friend left the job very soon after because, actually, she wasn’t the right person for that job.

That was a HUGE life lesson for me. People and companies make the wrong choice all the time and that choice might well have NOTHING to do with me, my abilities or qualifications.

This is something helpful for authors to keep in mind. If a publisher doesn’t buy your book, that doesn’t necessarily mean your book is awful. If a reviewer doesn’t like your book, that doesn’t mean your book is awful. They just felt, quite possibly wrongly, that your book was not right for them. It means nothing about you personally.

Move on. Write another book.

And if you’re the kind of person who is cast down into dumps by unflattering reviews, then turn off your Google Alerts, don’t click on those links, or engage a trusted friend to tell you which reviews are safe to read.

But you should still move on and write another book.



3 Responses to “What Other People Think”

  1. Aja says:

    This is a really good story and gave me something to think about. Thank you!

  2. T.K. Marnell says:

    It means nothing about you personally…unless they talk about you personally :p When you’re rejected for a job, the HR department rarely details your faults and failings as justification, but reviewers can get personal over anything they dislike. A person who didn’t like my ending said, “It’s like the author just got tired of writing and stopped.” Others have believed they can read my mind and said, “Marnell put more into hashing out this particular character, and it showed” (actually, I just got lazy on that one and based her on myself :D). At least I’m not famous enough that I get hordes of reviews sniffing that it isn’t literary enough—or accessible enough—and calling me, simply, “a terrible writer.”

    No, it’s not going to stop me from writing more books. But I can’t say that these rejections weren’t personal. Even if the reviewers are misappropriating their ire, and they have completely the wrong idea about me and my motives, they did try to make it personal. But even if it was, it doesn’t mean any more than if it wasn’t; the key is not to take it personally.

  3. Allison says:

    So true! And a tough lesson to learn as a writer coming up in the ranks. It is however something we need to make sure of. We cannot simply give up on our passions simply because someone out there isnt riding the same wave length as us! Can you imagine how dull this world would be if we all were? Im telling you now I am not sure Id like to write like the great bard, me doth thinkith twould be rather irritating. 🙂