This is the book cover I see in my head.
I thought it would be a nice touch to doctor in the bad review using Comic Sans. You know, just to add salt to the wound.
I fully expected this book publishing thing to be intense. I'm learning some things about myself that I don't particularly like. I knew I would have strong emotions... Vulnerability about sharing our story. Sensitivity to both negative reviews and the wonderful ones that use words like "enchanting" and "absolutely beautiful." Barely contained hopes that it would miraculously take off and become a literary sensation. And, worst of all, jealousy of the cool kids whose books (and blogs) are.
One of my writing mentors recently diagnosed me with Book Head. I thought training for the triathlon would be helpful, but as it turns out I'm perfectly capable of tending multiple obsessions.
It's a little like being back in junior high, actually. Only back then hourly statistics updates on one's popularity weren't readily available.
There's really only been this one bad review. I have no doubt that there are plenty more people who read it and thought "meh," but only one person one-starred it so far.
When I bemoaned this development on Facebook, I received a number of helpful responses, as well as a few well-meaning but less-than-helpful responses. As it turns out, saying that the anonymous reviewer must have bad taste or that they are essentially a bad person doesn't make me feel any better. It makes me want to defend them and their right to pan my book.
My writing tutor from Collegeville quoted some one-star reviews of Gilead: priceless. And a super nice guy from high school said this: "Theologically thin is a golden review if you are interested in more than Christian niche publication, frankly. By the way, I am really proud of you and your accomplishments, especially the latest of being a published author who inspires the people around her. Thank you, Kay, for all that you do."
How sweet is that?
How can I give the person who wrote the anonymous negative review more power than the people who have been so kind and supportive? Besides, as I said in response to all of that on Facebook, I ultimately think people will take a thoughtfully-written two- or three-star review more seriously than a scathing one-star review.
Dear Ben said this: "I personally like my theology as thin as it can get: the closer to God the better."
How lovely is that!
Here's hoping I recover from Book Head soon. And that I can receive both the raving and scathing reviews with a little more grace. And that the big-deal author who wanted a copy of the book reads it and and loves it and plugs it in Oprah Magazine. (Oh, whoops. Did I type that out loud?)