I’m about two months away from Dietland’s publication date and a lot more reviews are coming in now. There are the professional reviews, of course, but also what I suppose we call “reader” reviews on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, etc. The latter far outnumber the former. Everybody is a critic nowadays and as an author, it’s difficult not to feel…picked apart…by the sheer volume of criticism. And my book isn’t even out yet!
I know, I know. An author complaining about reviews is like a celebrity complaining about paparazzi. If you want to be published, then reviews plastered all over the internet are the price you pay. I know. It’s not that I’m complaining. It’s more that this is new for me and I have to figure out how to handle it. It’s not easy when you spend years and years and years of your life writing a book and someone simply dismisses it with a snarky comment. A smart, critical review is one thing, but that kind of snark is another. I know readers don't owe writers anything. I know. But sometimes you feel like saying, If it's so easy to write a novel, why don't you try it!
I keep thinking of that scene in Airplane! between Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the little boy, when the boy relays a stream of criticism from his father about Abdul-Jabbar’s basketball performance. I’m guessing that most authors can relate to Abdul-Jabbar when he grabs the boy by the jacket and says: “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”
I think I've found my new mantra.