I’ll do my Faber post tomorrow, because today I have a very special guest
J. (Jenny) Keller Ford is a quirky mother of four, grand-mother and scribbler of young adult fantasy tales. She has an insatiable appetite for magic, dragons, knights and faeries, and tries to weave at least one into every story she conceives. Her muse follows her everywhere and talks incessantly, feeding her ideas for stories 24/7.
When she’s not torturing her characters mercilessly, J. Keller enjoys living in sunny Florida, listening to smooth jazz, collecting seashells, swimming, bowling, riding roller coasters and reading. Her most loyal fans (beside her family) consist of two Australian Shepherds, a mixed-breed hippy dog, and a precocious orange cat, all of whom believe J. Keller is their slave. She thinks they might be right.
Jenny has recently been published in the Make Believe Anthology and today, is talking about…..
Dealing With Negative Reviews
Actor Anthony Hopkins once said, “My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.”
It’s a philosophy that has taken me a little time to realize, but I finally got it.
I think it’s important to understand I’ve always been someone who craved approval. I need it, even now. It must be the Leo in me coming out. I’m a perfectionist. I have to have things certain ways and I need to know I’m appreciated. It’s a part of who I am.
It’s no wonder then that I craved approval when I first started writing. I was actually terrified to throw my work out to the public, frightened by what they would think. Self-doubt and I became great friends, until the day Desire knocked on my back door. Next thing I knew, I joined an online critique site. Talk about a rollercoaster ride. Some critiques gushed with praise. Others seemed to trash everything I wrote. Self-doubt told me to stop. Desire screamed, “Do it again and again! Don’t you dare give up!” I joined other writer sites, other blogs. I met up with some fantastic beta readers who weren’t afraid to show me the flaws in my writing while keeping me motivated and focused.
Then one day this past Spring, it happened. I got my first offer of publication. I was elated. All the hard work, all the dedication, all the long hours of honing the craft of writing finally paid off. A publisher wanted MY story.
The next few months were dedicated to heavy doses of Marketing 101 and I was still riding high on the publishing wave. Then the end of November came and the ARCs (advanced reader copy) went out to various readers and reviewers. A new visitor came to see me: Anticipation, and I found myself wondering once again if ‘they’ were going to like it.
Anthologies are a double-edge sword as they contain a review of the anthology itself, and then individual reviews. MAKE BELIEVE has garnered at least twenty reviews and has phenomenal ratings. I think I can speak for all six authors when I say we’re thrilled to see the anthology so well received.
As for my story, The Amulet of Ormisez? Well, let’s just say it hasn’t been one of the ‘better’ received stories. Everything I tried so hard to do right turned out so wrong. Self-doubt cackled and sat her big rear-end on top of me and wouldn’t move…that is until I got a few virtual smacks along with a few stern words from my beta readers and my daughter. They reminded me that my publisher, who is VERY picky about what they publish, believed in my story enough to publish it. It took my daughter to remind me that a lot of people HATED Harry Potter and many reviewers claimed there were plot holes all over the place. “Ha!” she said. “Do you think Rowling cares what they think?” Another friend reminded me that even Stephen King is not a stranger to bad reviews, but does that stop him from writing? The kicker came when a friend said to me, “Stop caring about what other people think. The only opinion about you that matters is your own.” Something clicked.
So, here I am, a published author and stronger and wiser for the wear. I’ve weathered the ‘review’ storm of my first published piece, and you know what, it wasn’t that bad. Some people loved my story. Some didn’t. That’s okay. My writing isn’t going to appeal to everyone nor should it. As the incomparable Anthony Hopkins said, “It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.”
Amen, Mr. Hopkins. Amen.
Thank you so much Jenny, I really enjoyed that. And like you say, even Stephen King gets bad reviews! Are you dreading that first bad review? Have you had one? How did you deal with it? I seriously think I will cry lol, my critique at Faber was bad enough!
Check out Jenny’s Excellent Blog (I’ve been a follower for a while now) and if you’d like to purchase a copy of Make Believe its available now on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk as a download for Kindle. I’ve already added it to my wish list
- Author Love: J. Keller Ford (jabelfield.wordpress.com)