Tuesday, August 07, 2007
BOM: Questions and Answers
Pam asked: My question isn't about the book per se, but how do you handle critics like that one you posted. I know such negative reviews are sure to come for anyone, but it's so easy to let one bad apple wipe out all the good reviews.Pam
A: Wipe out the good reviews . . . in whose mind? One bad review among a dozen or so glowing reviews on a web page merely makes the gnarly reviewer look . . . well, gnarly. A friend of mine once remarked that she'd rather get all one-star and five-star reviews than a host of three-star reviews because she likes it that people are passionate about her books--they either love 'em or hate 'em. I think she has a good point. I know I'm not everybody's cup of tea, and that's okay. I try to please the readers who understand what I'm trying to do. As to that bad review affecting me . . . well, sure, you'd have to be made of stone not to feel some sting. All bad reviews hurt because people say things on Amazon and in their blogs that they'd never DREAM of saying to a person in a face-to-face conversation. (Which ought to be a red flag, I think. After all, someone offering constructive criticism ought to be able to do it kindly.) But when you've been writing for as long as I have, you discipline yourself to concentrate on writing your best and offering a worthy sacrifice to the Lord. You try not to be distracted by bad reviews that make you doubt yourself or good reviews that make you over-confident or cocky.
Kay asked about my position on truth-telling: I think you could make a good, biblical case that you don't owe truth to your enemy. Certainly we owe it to our Christian brothers and sisters. But if someone is going to take a truth we give them and use it for an ungodly reason, perhaps we could be excused for dissembling or withholding the truth. Certainly we could be forgiven. :-) In THE TRUTH TELLER, Lara lives a lie for five years, rationalizing that she's doing it to keep her son safe, but then she realizes that this lying life is not God's best for her. So she faces the truth . . . and the evil man who would use the truth against her. Truth telling when life is at stake forces us to rely upon God . . . and isn't that the best option?