No, the honeymoon I refer to is the glorious ride I’ve been on since my first novel, The Darcys of Pemberley, was published. Just as everybody treats newlyweds like royalty, I’ve been the recipient of tremendous kindness and support these past few weeks. Those who have blazed the publishing trail ahead of me have been generous with advice about how to get it done. I’ve been welcomed into other people’s virtual homes as a guest blogger. Friends, near and far, have gone the extra mile to help me get the word out, and cheered at my success. It’s been wonderful!
But now that safeguarded honeymoon period seems to be over, and my metaphorical rose-colored glasses have received a few smears and scratches.
It turns out that not everybody likes my book. Shocking! Out of the hundreds of people who have bought it so far, there are at least a couple who disliked it enough to take the time to complain about it by way of Amazon customer reviews. Unthinkable! Although I can joke about the bad notices now, I don’t mind saying that it was downright painful at first to discover them.
For a few moments, she was almost overcome — her heart sunk within her, and she could hardly stand; but exertion was indispensably necessary, and she struggled so resolutely against the oppression of her feelings, that her success was speedy … (Sense and Sensibility, chapter 22)
I really should have been prepared. Ironically, I’d just written a guest blog post on how an author of sequels can’t expect to please everyone. But still, there’s a difference between being told, “Well, it really wasn’t my cup of tea,” and hearing, “I hate your book!”
Once again, friends came to my rescue, overflowing with encouragement and sage advice. What did I learn? That if you put yourself out there (whether by entering politics, showbiz, or publishing a book), you’re bound to stir up criticism from some quarter. The only way to avoid it is never to try. The good news is that reviews, good or bad, mean people are reading my book. And isn’t that what I’ve wanted all along?