9 November 2018

Published November 7, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Hysterical Faction

Word Count: 100

ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM*

At the beginning of my writing career, one of my mentors warned me. “The greatest thing an author can develop, besides a good story, is a thick skin.”

            The reviews of my novels on Amazon have been mostly favorable—until yesterday.  

            “Amateurish,” the reviewer spewed. “Clunky. No story arc. The characters are caricatures.”

            Paralyzed by the scathing words, I doubted everything I ever wrote.

            “Pffft,” said my friend. “Every author’s received bad reviews and haters are gonna hate. You can’t take it personally.”

            This morning I found two 5-Star reviews. Did my writing change? Guess I won’t quit just yet.

 

*Don’t let the bastards grind you down. 

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116 comments on “9 November 2018

  • I love the quote and of course you are a writer and therefore it would be a crime to stop writing. Furthermore the fact that you wrote this post was timely for me because I just received another rejection from a publication I want to break into. Onward and onward. Your post reassures me I am not at it on my own, best wishes, Jilly.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dear Jilly,

      Rejection is so hard to deal with. We all get them. So many different tastes in writing. The best advice I got was on Facebook on a writing site.:
      “Go to Amazon and search for some of your all-time favorite books. Then click the 1-star review section. Read and rejoice. It’s the ‘same person’ who reviewed you negatively. Remember that’s not the person you’re writing for. It’s for all the others who couldn’t put the book down.”
      Keep believing in yourself and keep pursuing. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Iain,

      A few have told me not to even read the reviews, positive or negative. That’s a tough one to follow. The truth is that even the best sellers get some negative reviews. I certainly don’t fall into that category. 😉 In reality the negative review happened a couple of weeks ago and blew me out of the water for a day and a half. To mornings ago I received an email from a man who had bought my book at an art fair and wrote to tell me how much he enjoyed it. Same book. I’m sure there’s hope for you.
      Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 2 people

  • It was one unkind review buried at the end of a blazing trail of positive ones. You can’t please everyone, nor should you attempt to try. That way lies not only madness but a whole heap of heartache. And quitting is never an option when you have a story in you. And you have.

    Liked by 1 person

  • That’s good advice Rochelle, whether expressed in Latin or plain English. I’m deflated, though, to have learned that the English version wasn’t first coined by one of my favourite authors, Alan Sillitoe, in the book/film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, out in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Apparently the phrase was widely used during World War II, by American troops. Trust those Yanks to beat us to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear John,

      It is good advice. I keep it on a sticky note on the border of computer screen. I clung to during my final three years of employment in a difficult situation.
      Take heart, my British friend. While it’s true the expression goes back to WWII, it’s attributed to British Intelligence early in the war. We didn’t beat you to it. 😉 Thank you and thank you for the photo this week. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • One of the reasons I’ve told family they are perfectly welcome to publish my writing – AFTER I’m dead. That way, I won’t have to read the reviews. I happen to enjoy your writing…it’s real! Sometimes, too much so. ❤ I only wish Amazon would allow me to write reviews without joining their insanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jelli,

      I was told by another author…a couple actually…on the Writers Unite FB page that I shouldn’t read any of the reviews. 😉 I’m happy that you read and enjoyed my novels. And a special thanks for your input on my current WIP. ❤ Amazon is strange. I notice the number of reviews on PSKFM and FSAA diminished by one as of yesterday. Not sure what the reasoning is. One author friend has had all of her reviews on mine and other books removed completely. In any event, thank you for coming by, my friend.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Ah yes. Negative criticism on Amazon. I had a guy give a thoughtfully eviscerating review of my first self-published book. It stung badly, but later I saw that many of the criticisms were correct. They probably still are, but I keep plugging away. I have a great book of letters from writers to writers edited by Frederick Busch. There’s all kinds of good advice, but the number one takeway for me is that I keep writing because I am compelled to. I am also compelled to try to get better at it, and that is often a painful process because I have to let go of certainty. I have a long way to go, no doubt. Keep plugging. I appreciate you, as does this community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      There’s a difference between con crit and the venom this person spewed. It was vindictive. Another author friend checked her out and said she seems enjoy book bashing. Of course my writing’s not perfect and we all have things to learn. I find this to be true in some of my favorite authors. Pobody’s nerfect. Thank you for your encouraging words. I am compelled, too.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Susan,

      It was devastating initially, but once I processed it and got input from other writers, I was able to push past. Not to mention the new 5 star reviews didn’t hurt either. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

    • Dear Björn,

      The blogging world is a wonderful place, for the most part. Although, it rather frustrates me that my posts that are non flash fiction challenges tend to garner fewer comments. 😦
      I’ve never been particularly thick skinned and do have a problem with internalizing everything. I’m trying. I get by with a little help from my friends. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I’ve no fictional works on Amazon, but taking a writing class this month allows other members of my study group to critique my work. Still haven’t gotten the first assignment back from the instructor, so we’ll see.

    Like

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Pffft! I read each comment above and have to agree with ’em all. Don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t allow hateful comments to colour your self-esteem and, if there is anything that is true in a negative crit, take it for what it is, IF you can agree with it; otherwise, trash it from your mind.

    Lotsa love from an ardent admirer of your written works and your petite self,

    Dale xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      I don’t foresee myself quitting anytime soon. I’m having way too much fun writing. As you know the current WIP is occupying quite a bit of my time. 😉
      If there were something constructive in the review…but I didn’t think there was. It seemed to be fully out affront. Thank you for being the president of my fan club and my vent buddy and…and…so on and so on and shooby dooby doo. (I need coffee).

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • Dear Rochelle,
    Do not substitute a stranger’s opinion for your own, or for that of people who care about you. It is tempting to take a harsh critic as somehow more defining than the good ones. Perhaps because the perfectionists among us seek the acknowledgement of our hard work as it might be reflected in the praise of others. But … as others said, while sometimes critic can be informative, at other times it says more about the person who is leaving it than about what they are leaving it about … So, while I TOTALLY feel your hurt and doubt, I hope you don’t take it on. If it rings wrong, it is not yours to carry …

    Interestingly, my entry (I never read anyone’s entries before I write my own–to let the muse take me unencumbered wherever it chooses to go), perhaps reflects a bit of the dust-in-the-eye of doubt. And the power of praise, too. I hope.

    https://naamayehuda.com/2018/11/07/good-enough/

    Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Lori “The-Book-Table-Gal” W(T)F,

    The reviewer who thought your book was amateurish and clunky evidedently has not seen you in full mime regalia. They obviously haven’t read either of my books either (which clunked all the way to the top of the worst seller list).

    Now that you have 5 stars on each shoulder, I guess we’ll have to start referring to you as “General” W(T)F. Congrats on the stunning reviews.

    Alvin “Slow Man” Worthlesston

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Alvin “Slow Man” Worhlesston,

      General W(T)F it has a major ring to it, doesn’t it? But for now I’ll keep the title private. Wouldn’t want to risk corporal punishment. Meanwhile I’ll keep miming for a heart of gold. Thanks for slogging by…see you real soon. Y because we like you!

      Shalom,

      Lori “The-Book-Table-Gal” W(T)F

      Like

  • I really like the way you brought up this topic in your fiction this week.
    Because oh my goodness do we have to keep talking about this – it can be so hard to process reviews.

    And before I started putting my writing out there – my experience was as an artist and involved dealing with student artists.
    I learned early on how subjective reviews — and how the timing of a review matters for the person doing the review and other factors.

    Like one study found that when judges were scoring athletes – if someone “bombed” – they tended to over-score (with higher liking) for the next athlete – and even an average athlete would be viewed as better after a flop – hahah — and the researchers argued that the mental priming from the flop impacted the mindset of the judgers.

    Then, I knew an artist who tried to have a painting hung at four different art shows – was rejected each time – not viewed as good enough to merely be hung.
    A few years later he entered the piece in another show and not only did he squeak into the show (was accepted to be hung) – the piece sold for asking price.
    ahhhh –
    and sometimes people who do a review are responding from their current mood or maybe from expectations – and definitely from “preference”
    and not sure who said that about your writing – but when i see words like “clunky” used to describe work – it usually screams of preference and how that person might just prefer a different style./


    I recently had this happen with a comment on one of my Friday Fiction posts. A lady (who is well respected in this community and who is brilliant and kind) she said she did not get my rhyming and thought it was not needed for the message.
    Of course I responded about delivery and how if it was just the message I was trying to convey, I would have not written 100 word fiction and spent time crafting it.
    Author process matters -as does the delivery I want. And mine was clunky to her – or maybe sophomoric and maybe even annoying with the kinder rhymes. But the thing is that it is “me” – and every day of the week i will go for being me – which can be viewed as clunky, dull, too simple, not needed rhyme scheme, or too energized –
    and for those folks – that want different – the very good news is that they can find plethora of authors that meet their needs; so many authors for so many tastes –
    and we will never please everyone – not even if we were a taco.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Yvette,

      Being an artist as well as an author I related to your story. At a recent art fair my ‘nextdoor neighbor’ was a painter who did huge colorful canvasses with acrylic. He sold a ton. My husband really liked his work. Me? Not so much. Definitely subjective.
      I remember your FF post in question and the comment. I didn’t agree with her. Usually if a piece rhymes there’s a reason for it, isn’t there?
      Every so often I’ll have another FF’r tell me that a piece doesn’t need the last line I chose. (And I’ve been known to say that in my crit to others).
      Another time a ‘well meaning’ (actually arrogant, self-serving) FF’r rewrote my story in my comments section to cut 35 extra words. Obviously he didn’t pay attention to my intro stating that I broke my own rules on purpose. The story was part of a duet I wrote with another FF’r. His story was only 65 words so mine had to be 135 so we totaled 200. Our stories were flips sides. https://rochellewisoff.com/2016/06/22/24-june-2016/
      Thank you for your encouraging comments. Apparently the reviewer was having a very bad day and decided I deserved to have one, too. 😉 Trying to develop that thick skin…not easy for me.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes – the thick skin is not easy for most humans – well the ones of us who still feel! Ha – but I have been able to detach because many times it is not personal.
        One of the biggest insults I had on one of my books (called Conversate – tips for talking with teens) well a family member slammed it –
        We were sitting around a table in upstate New York and it was over the holidays –
        The topic came up and he said he didnt like it at all-
        And get this
        It was from the free sneak preview pages amazon allows

        Lol
        Ahhh – so he didn’t even read it really!
        Further – it was not for him – I made it for folks who work with teens or who have teens and are hungry for ideas on how to bond and fortify them in their journey!
        And so…
        I still shake my head at his complete dislike for that book of mine (but we know the fool judges a book by a …. sneak peak preview—

        Oh and thanks for the detailed reply –
        I will check out the link later and I think I recall the partner post (65/135)

        Like

  • Learning to wear teflon skin, where “stuff” just rolls off, can be a hard lesson. But to those that continue the quest, rewards wait. I read that review and immediately thought that reviewer must be a quite negative person from the start, and probably doesn’t have a happy life. She was one reviewer. I wonder why all the other reviewers were abviously wrong in their positive reviews. Hmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is where your friend’s advice about a writer having “thick skin” comes in handy. I liked that you shared your experience for this week’s prompt. It will encourage other writers who might be down because their work has been rejected or harshly criticized. I think you’re an amazing writer. Continue doing it for those of us who appreciate you and your incredible talent 🙂

    Shalom,
    Adele

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here is one of my favorite qotes from theGerman writer Friedrich Schiller:

      Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine Tat und dein Kunstwerk,
      mach’ es wenigen recht; vielen gefallen ist schlimm.

      (If you can’t please everyone through your deeds and your art, do right by a few: pleasing many is a bad thing. )

      Klimt has a great painting that goes with this quote, which is essentially an invitation to kiss his (expletive deleted 😊.)

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reviews are like an ornament to an author. At least one should be glad some is reading. Reader has moved sufficiently to leave a comment. If the reader leaves a good comment, it is nice. If the comment is bad, you should be thankful. At least he has read.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have had that saying pinned to my wall for years! Don’t quit, Rochelle. One of my friends told me on Sunday that she’d read my book and liked ‘most of it’, then proceeded to tell me what she didn’t like. A day later another said she couldn’t wait for the next one. You can’t win ’em all!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Liz,

      I know what you mean. A couple of people who read my first two books and loved them had mixed feelings about the third. Neither of them left a review on Amazon but both have been supportive and encouraging, nonetheless. And still two others feel that this is the best of my trilogy. Different strokes for different folks.. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • My dad, who taught college creative writing, always said that you truly become a writer the first time someone hates your work. Because it is then that you realize you writing evoked a serious emotional response from the reader. And it is also when you realize that your desire and love of writing far outweighs another person’s negative opinion. I am so glad that your friend was there to encourage and offer you wisdom! Keep writing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Kira,

      I can’t tell you what this means to me. Thank you for sharing your dad’s perspective. It means a lot. In the writing group I used to belong to, every week, a dagger shaped letter opener was given to the person who had reached 100 rejections, thus making him or her a true writer. Thank you again.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks for sharing your experience of getting a tough review t. I believe that we need to trust our own inner voice, the voice which enabled you to write acclaimed and heartfelt books. When critics criticise us, I want to say to them : show us something you have created – book/ film/ painting ! Bet they’d refuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle,

    A certain person who thinks the world of you told me about this and I just shook my head and muttered something to the effect of “Haters gonna hate,”. I tend to oversimplify things so that I can focus on the bigger picture.

    Your words move, teach and inspire others. You take the written word somewhere else and in so doing, provoke others to dream and ponder on things they might never have imagined dreaming and pondering on. You take your readers on journeys with your gift. You turn the written word into a magic carpet ride of people, places and things.

    Imma paraphrase Winston Churchill by just saying this. If you have critics, it means you stood up for something. You have better places to go with your time. And to those peeps who feel the need to tear us down? Well, pardon my French but . . .

    The hell with ’em.

    Peace, love and keeping on.

    Marco

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Marco,

      I’ve been saving your comment for ‘dessert’ as I reply to comments. That certain person is often the wind beneath my wings. 😉 She has a knack for putting things in perspective with a simple “pffft.” And if anyone has been through hell and risen above it, her credentials are intact. Funny, she told me the same thing, “Haters gonna hate.”

      That being said, your words are so affirming. Another friend has told me time and again that there’s a special mission to what I write. A flashlight in the dark corners. I like to think so, but there are others far greater than I with a much larger audience. Eilie Wiesel I’m not. 😉

      (You can’t fool me. That ain’t French.)

      Thank you for reading and commenting. You made my day, my week and, possibly, my year.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rochelle,

        Dessert huh? I like it!

        And yes indeed. She is stronger than she gives herself credit for. Much. Never complaining, always in the present.

        You are who you are. And it’s wonderful, what you do and how much you mean to all of those readers you touch with your words. Be it one or a million readers, treat them with a special purpose, and you do it so very well.

        I no speak French except to echo a certain someone. Or when I’m cussing, LOL.

        To your day, week and year being good places. Much love, many blessings, and peace to you.

        Shalom,

        Marco

        Liked by 1 person

  • The ‘thick skin’ analogy works brilliantly with the prompt. It’s always a risk, putting yourself out there for people to admire or attack, but as a writer you can’t hold back or play to an audience, you have to be true to yourself. Far better than a thick skin is a cohort of good people to turn to when the bastards get you down 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear EL,

      I’m not sure my skin will ever toughen to where it needs to be. I think pursuance of dreams involves risk. But those who play it safe will never know the exhilaration of realizing those aspirations, will they? Thank you for your kind words.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • To survive in this world everyone needs a bit thick skin. No matter how good you are there will be someone not liking you. It takes nothing to criticize anyone . Beautiful take on the prompt. You really write so well.
    Shalom.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting that even a published author as yourself has doubts. As a someone who mostly a blogger I still struggle to call myself a writer. I find the lack of comments to be more depressing, especially when I have written something that I am proud of myself. Maybe it was not as good I thought. I am grateful to the few who do take the time to leave a comment as they are also the ones whose writing I admire. But in the end I totally agree with your sentiments “I won’t quit just yet.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      Personally I think the person who denies having self doubts is either a liar or too cocky for his or her own good. Not that I relish my own self doubts…and I might take it too far. (So I’m told.) The comment gallery can be so fickle. I know with my blogging…I have nearly 4000 followers. I average 100 comments on Friday Fictioneers. Yet when I post something else…a blog about my latest art show…or recorded interview…I might top out at 10 and that’s if I’m lucky. Nope not planning to quit nor should you. :D. Thank you

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • When I saw the first line I immediately thought it was a spell from Harry Potter, which brings me to another point; JK Rowling received 12 rejections from publishers who thought her work wasn’t good enough before someone decided they liked it. I havent read it yet but I have decided I will, when I finish the book I am reading at the moment. But as it’s a trilogy, I guess I had better start with the first! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear JWD,

      I assume you’re talking about reading my trilogy since Ms. Rowling’s books go beyond trilogy. 😉 I know of many authors who were rejected several times only to go onto being phenominal best sellers. That’s 12 publishers with egg on their faces. Margaret Mitchell, I’m told, was rejected 39 times for Gone with the Wind.
      As for my books…each novel stands alone but the first is a good starting place. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I love it Rochelle. It can have it’s tough moments with pieces being subjective to different readers. One of biggest criticisms I’ve had a few times is that my writing is too sentimental. Syrupy I think was the word that was used which I try to take in a positive way as I write a lot of romance. But yeah, we do need the ole thick skin at times. Great read.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m often shocked at some of the reviews I read AFTER I have read the book. I actually find myself questioning my ability as a reader! lol
    It’s ludicrous how we can let the opinions of others influence the opinions of ourselves.
    The human brain is funny that way.
    Let’s all laugh together…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dawn,

      I posted my distress on a FB page a couple of weeks ago when this review actually happened. Out of the many encouraging comments, one man suggested I go find my favorite books and then look for the 1 star reviews on them. I did so and found that even Chaim Potok, one of my all time favorites had quite a few negative reviews. Go figure. Yes, let’s laugh together. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Your experience is encouraging for the rest of us. They say bad reviews i.e. (haters) mean you’re doing something right. In business they call it polarity, I guess it applies to art and writing too. If everybody likes your work, they’re either bored stiff. Or just being polite.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Brilliant Rochelle, just as I manage to fight off all the fear of releasing my book for others scrutiny, you come up with this. But never mind there will always be negative idiots and you can’t please all the people so we carry on. I don’t want too many ‘haters’ commenting but I’ll cope with the odd one, I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Michael,

      I suppose it’s unrealistic to expect nothing but 5-star reviews. I’ve even heard that Amazon becomes suspicious if there are none under that. Releasing a book is a little like stepping out onto the high wire without a net. I’m sure it will be find. 😉 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

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