Putting something you've created out there for the public is always a terrifying experience. You never know what others will think about something that you've put hours, days, months, or even years of time into. And that's amplified even more in today's world of total connectivity where something can go viral around the world in mere minutes. A negative review can go from just local to worldwide at the click of a button where the vultures of the Internet can just pile on at will.
Someone once said that to be an author you had to first develop thick skin. I wish I could remember who said it, Mark Twain maybe, but there is a truth to that sentiment. As soon as I decided to release the first book in my Ascension Legacy series I began having anxiety, constantly worried about how other people would react and respond to my story and my writing. I'm not a trained author and the story was just something of interest to me so it stood to reason that others would hate it, at least in my mind.
But then I remembered why I wrote the series, and every one of my stories for that matter.
I wrote them for me. I wrote them because the stories appealed to me and writing them was fun for me. I did not write a single story, chapter, paragraph, line, or even character for anyone else.
I wrote them for me. I have no problem saying that again because it is the truth.
At the end of the day (a classic IT phrase heard countless times a day in endless meetings), if I'm happy with what I wrote, I'm happy. The reviews of others may be their personal opinions and feedback on what I've created and those opinions may influence others to either buy or not buy my work but it still boils down to whether or not I'm happy with what I did.
Yes, positive reviews are great and encourage me to keep doing what I'm doing but negative reviews won't discourage me. I look at it like music, not everybody has the same taste in music and some people are going hate music that others love. My books may be just the same. Some my like 'em while others may hate 'em, but just like the artists who put out their music that is so divisive because its the music they want to create, I'll keep writing the stories I want to tell how I want to tell 'em.
Does this mean that I've got the thick skin that was once suggested? Not really. I still take all reviews to heart but I always encourage others to provide honest feedback. I'm not looking for lip-service reviews that are only there to help promote sales. While I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't like to see a ton of sales, I didn't create these for the sole purpose of selling them for huge profits. Breaking even would be nice but I'm not going to hold my breath for that either since they were written for me, not for profit or sales.
No, I wrote them because I wanted to. I wrote them because it was something I wanted to do for me. I published them because I thought it would be neat to have my name out there, even it was it only spoken in hushed tones among the names of other flops like Uwe Boll and Tommy Wiseau, though I doubt I'll ever reach those levels of infamy.
I can only hope that as my journey with writing continues that my writing capabilities improve and that maybe one day I won't have to worry too much about negative reviews. I mean, do any of you really think that Stephen King really worries too much about negative reviews random people leave for him on the Internet? Though I'm not saying that I'll ever achieve that level of success with any of my works, only that I hope to one day not have to worry about the opinions of others like I'm sure he doesn't.