My novel received its first negative review yesterday on Goodreads. I had been lecturing myself before this, warning myself that I needed to be ready for a negative review. I mean, everybody gets some bad reviews.
But I didn't expect it to send me into such a tailspin.
The reader gave me 3 out of 5 stars on her Goodreads review. Some of the comments she made, I could see. She wanted the main character Fia to be stronger. But, of course, Fia is stronger by the end of the book and she has to grow from being a bit of a pushover. The reviewer also wanted the French flirtation to have a "happy ever after" ending, which, to me, would have made Fia weaker. So those criticisms didn't hurt too much.
The thing that really got to me is she said the book (she read the actual paperback) had a lot of grammar and punctuation mistakes.
Being self-published, I felt like the grammar, punctuation, typos, all needed to be eradicated to increase my credibility as a writer.
Since I am an English teacher, criticism of grammar and punctuation goes straight to my heart. I plunged into despair, imagining my words going out there flawed.
I was in the middle of some promotions for my book and I simply stopped, thinking what's the point if there are grammar and punctuation errors. A gray cloud descended on my mood and rested there.
I mentioned the errors to my husband, the copy editor, and he asked whether I planned to fire him.
I texted another college teacher friend who read the book and asked if she'd seen them because I can make changes to correct them.
"I honestly don't remember a single one," my English teacher professor responded.
So, I was feeling a little better.
The reviewer mentioned that she was British so I wondered if there could be strange punctuation differences between the U.S. and UK. But I read plenty of British Lit and haven't noticed it.
I comforted myself a bit more by finding a typo on page 4 of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. If this top seller book has typos after all of its editors, I supposed I should expect them too.
I'm still feeling a bit down about my writing, but hopefully I'll bounce back eventually to publish some more flawed writing.
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