Hey everyone, I fly out to Seattle in the morning for two events, and then I’ll be in San Francisco next Tuesday for a few things. Hope to see you on the road! Also, the link to the NPR interview on RadioWest is up if you’re interested. Doug Fabrizio made it really easy and we had a great time.
Last night at my Salt Lake Library event, someone asked me how I respond to criticism? If you’ve been following the last few weeks, you know that I don’t read reviews of my book. So I haven’t seen a lot of criticism, or praise for that matter, although I know the reaction has been largely positive. Hooray!
But other people do read the reviews and some have sent me snippets that, while largely positive, also mention aspects of the book that didn’t quite work for them. These helpful emailers are often wondering how I react to any type of criticism. (I’m not saying don’t send me these, but I am going to tell you what my reaction is going to be just about every time)
The best answer I can give is that, as a librarian who just wants everyone to read, it’s not my place to tell anyone how they should react to my book (or any other).
What if someone says, “This part of your book was preachy for me?”
Should I argue? Should I say, “No it wasn’t, I’m never preachy, go read it again!” If that reader thought something was preachy, I say that reader is right. If another reader says it’s not preachy, that reader’s correct as well.
If someone says a section “dragged,” compared to the rest of the book, I’m not going to say “Oh no it didn’t!” If it dragged for that reader, then it dragged for that reader. Should I say, “You know, if you really think about it, that was actually the most exciting section for you. Try to remember.”
And if someone says, “It’s kind of all over, not super cohesive,” I’m not going to protest that it is, in fact, the very definition of cohesion. What would be the point?
I wrote the book, it’s out there, and I don’t get to insist on how people react to it. Nor am I interested in everyone having the same reaction, the differences are what keep things lively and lead to such great conversations about books.
The only response that makes sense to me as a writer is:
It’s a privilege to have readers, and not everyone has readers. Thank you for reading!