Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Plugging Your Ears

Reviews I have accidentally seen in the past two days:
"Kiersten White is a Literary Goddess!"
"I know it's just YA, but Kiersten White's writing is so awful it makes me want to puke."

Conclusion?
Clearly the first reviewer is the only one who knows what she is talking about.

Actual Conclusion?
There's a reason I don't read reviews, and that is: they don't change anything.  When I sit down to write I am neither a goddess nor a vomity mass of awful writing.  I'm just me, writing how I write, and that has to be enough.  Opinions about my book are exactly that--opinions.  Frankly, I'm thrilled my book is out there to GET opinions.  I genuinely value them, and I have the most amazing fans and get the most amazing emails.  And I'm sorry to that girl I made puke.  Hope it didn't come out her nose, because that's painful.

Actually, maybe I hope just a little bit came out her nose.

Anyhow.  People love your writing.  People hate your writing.  Doesn't matter.  You always write alone.  (Thank heavens, too, because I'd hate for people to be reading over my shoulder and vomiting all over my poor MacBook.  It'd also be kind of distracting to have someone actively worshipping me while I tried to tap out book three.  I might have to try that one out sometime, though.)

Point: Reviews are for other readers.  Authors are free (and encouraged by me) to ignore them.  It's kind of vital to our survival/sanity.  Readers are free (and very, very encouraged by me) to review and discuss and talk about what they are reading.  Love it or hate it, I want you to have an opinion about my book--because that means you read it, and that makes me happy.

I initially thought this fountain should be dedicated to my son, the eternal puker.
But instead I am dedicating it to everyone who hates my book. Puke away, friends! Puke away!
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a third book to write, and I won't be thinking about any reviews at all while doing it.  Well, except I may occasionally think, "Maybe if I work extra hard I can make that girl projectile vomit!"  Because I like to do my part.

(Note: I am not feeling bad or looking for validation in the comments.  The feedback I get is overwhelmingly positive!  I get the most incredibly kind and enthusiastic emails.  The ones from teens especially make me giddy with joy.  And the puking comment actually made me laugh.  Promise.)

55 comments:

lora96 said...

Go the extra mile and try to get her to make that otherworldly exorcist BRAAAAR sound when she hurls from book three.

And anyone who has read your teen series scripts realizes your goddessiness.

yes that's a word i just now made it up. so it's real.

Keary Taylor said...

Thanks for doing a post like this. It's always rough for me to see a bad review on my work but you're totally right. We have to write for ourselves and let people think what they will think about it. Good luck with book 3!

Angela Felsted said...

lol

Kristan said...

That's a great attitude to have! And the truth is, once you hit a certain level of accomplishment (like, say, the NYTimes bestseller list) you're going to get haters whether you deserve them or not. So chin up (just like you already planned...). ;)

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm laughing so hard. Great post!

I'd never seen projectile vomit until my son had the flu this last time (Shot out 5 feet at least!) Ugh. Once was enough!

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

I'm really irritated by that second review. Not the puking part because everyone's entitled and all that junk but the "I know it's just YA" part.

What the eff? So, if it's "just YA", which to me suggests the reviewer doesn't hold it to the same standards as "real" writing, then why are they even reading it?

Boo on them. I hope they puked all over their new shoes

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Best post ever!

Candyland said...

LOL...I've not seen a bad review of your book yet. Clearly this person has a vomiting problem in general and it can't be just you.

kmullican said...

Good for you and thank you for the laughter!

Small Review said...

I'm so glad Falen wrote what they did because that part struck me too. Just YA? Knocking an entire genre is using a pretty broad brush. I wonder if this reviewer realizes many "classics" were originally written for young adults. They were once "just YA" before they were ever "high brow."

That statement says a lot more about the reviewer than Kiersten's book. I feel a little bad for them. They're probably missing out on a ton of truly great books by looking down on YA.

Kiersten White said...

That's why I had no issue dismissing that review out of hand. If someone rejects or looks down on the entire YA genre, clearly they have no taste : )

HollyAnn said...

I loved this post. And writers think that getting an agent is the hard part...look at all the other stuff that follows. Scary!

I did actually just finish Paranormalcy less than a week ago between editing my current ms and working on my wip.

I must say, it did for me what I one day hope to do for others: entertain!

Mundie Moms said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mundie Moms said...

Great post!! I think reviewers need to be more tasteful in how they talk about a book. There have been a handful of books I've read I've not liked, but I don't feel the need to personally attack the author, the genre or post a rude review.

I can't imagine how wonderful and horrible it is to read reviews. I can only imagine the mixture of feelings you have, as someone is either praising your work or ripping it apart. In the end of the day if you love what you've done, that's all the matters.

I admit, I totally LOVE Paranormalcy! I can't wait to read more!

Anna said...

Great post!I myself haven't like my share of books regardless genre but it's just the way it is.You may like or not like sth.But i think you may still not like sth but be a little bit more gentle with your review...But to actually judge one's writing style...That's another part altogether.I think that you should really know before start judging anyone.It's another think to like or not sth and a complete other to judge one writer's style,when you yourself probably have only read books and never written one.
Anyway,i'm glad to know that you're not letting yourself to be discouraged by such reviews :)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great attitude! Your work is your work; what people think of it is incidental. All you can do is write as well as you can and put it out there, and people will say whatever they say. This is something ALL writers need to internalize, no matter what stage of the writing process they're at.

You go, Kiersten.

Sarah said...

Good for you!

I agree, the reviews can't change anything.

However, I think polarized reviews like that are an indicator that you have written something worthwhile because it's causing a strong reaction either way!

Alyson Greene said...

I hope a little came out her nose too.

Whirlochre said...

"You always write alone".

So true.

Better, therefore, to manipulate manipulable phantoms than wrestle in vain against the dark forces of the night.

But try saying that on a T shirt.

Natalie said...

Hilarious, Kiersten and so true. I'm giving Paranormalcy as a Christmas Present. Hopefully it won't make my sister projectile vomit through her nose. :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I'm curious how you're able to avoid the reviews. Really good self control? I don't debut until next fall, but already I can't help but look to see how many people have clicked on my book at Goodreads.

Teach me, Wise One.

Marsha Sigman said...

I would have laughed too. You must have a sense of humor about those types of comments. Glad to see you do! And your book did not make me want to vomit at ALL.lol

It was awesome.

patdwhite said...

Glad you took the review well. I DID NOT. Unbelievable!!! I bet vomit girl thinks that a certian vampire book is a literary masterpiece. I hope she vomits all night the night before her flight to the national dumpster diving competition, and then has to go through the full body scanner at the airport, vomits in it, sets off the alarm and has to have the enhanced pat down, vomits during it and misses her flight.

So much for normal.

Jeigh said...

This whole post put such a funny picture in my head. Ahh, puke, such a funny subject.

And a good reminder, to write alone and write myself. Thanks!

Jordan McCollum said...

Thank you for reaffirming my recent pledge: if I'm ever lucky enough to have my work out there to be reviewed, I will (do all that I can to) NOT read the reviews.

Can you imagine if you didn't have a perfectly good reason to reject the second review out of hand? I could see feedback like that really crippling my ability to write something new. Awesome that you're laughing!

Gina said...

What the heck does "Just YA" mean?? I adore YA novels... so much so that when I realized the book I had written about college students didn't qualify as YA, I nearly re-wrote it in a high school setting. Except it would have made zero sense. "JUST YA??"

And your writing is not awful. You were writing from the viewpoint of a seventeen year old, and you did a really convincing job of it. As much as I admire pretty writing, there is nothing wrong with ucomplicated, REALISTIC prose. Poor critic must vomit a lot if everything that touches her ears (or eyes) needs to sound like Walt Whitman...

Megs said...

Ha ha. Totally enjoyed this post. Thanks to vomit girl and your awesome sense of humor for making me lol!

Aleeza said...

projectile vomit--HAHAHA. I cracked up so hard. you are so right about opinions just being opinions. i really admire your headtstrongness. (that a word?)

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Well, I know you don't want feedback or a pat on the back, however I think you are a marvelous person! I haven't finished reading PARANORMALCY yet, but what I have read so far is awesome! And yes, there are always going to be people who don't love your work (like my latest critique partner...who basically crushed my dreams even though the other two gals only had tons to praise in it). That's life. I hope that 'if' I get published I will have the sense not to read reviews.

Flur said...

The important part is that all these reviews exist because your book is so super awesome fantastic that all these people have read it and feel the need to write about it.

If I had a book published, I would probably lose my will save and read the reviews anyway. Aren't you just a tiny bit curious about what people are saying?

PS: I will volunteer to worship you if I get to read the third book over your shoulder. :)

Emily White said...

You are too cute! I hope that if I'm in your position someday, I'll have your class.

kellye said...

This post is all kinds of awesome! Totally love your attitude and am majorly irritated at the "it's just YA" comment...and the puking. So. Not. Necessary. Write on, Kiersten!

PS That's great that you receive wonderful emails from teen readers. THAT is what it's all about!

Sara B. Larson said...

You have such a great attitude about it. Having projectile vomited once (almost on my barely ex-boyfriend, who I should have totally aimed for, but that's another story...), it totally sucks. Anyway, you just made me think of that. ;)

But I do have to say, I am really irked about the "it's just YA" part, too. I know some YA snobs (as I deem people who think YA is inferior writing), and grrr... it really gets me riled up. One of them happens to be related to me. I'm not allowed to inflict bodily harm since I love her, but I do continue to make her read YA after YA to prove how good it is. She's reluctantly admitting its better than she thought, but still claims it's just not on the same level as adult. Gah! I still have lots of work to do. What is it with some people? Yeesh. ;)

Emi said...

Lulz, awesome post was awesome! The statue made me laugh hysterically. I love your attitude towards all of this, and you're right; reviews are just that. Reviews. They don't change anything. But I think that if a reviewer is going to be negative about a book because they didn't like it they should have the decency to be polite. =O Anyway, you still got published, so that right there is an automatic win!

Karen Akins said...

I'm sorry. I had to stop reading at "just YA".

And even though the reviewer was clearly a deluded hack, I applaud your not-being-rolled-up-in-a-ball-cryingness. I need some of your thick skin. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing how to keep a good perspective. With any criticism, it's important to keep it professional and at least somewhat positive. The second reviewer is entitled to his/her opinion but could have said it in a way better way.

Caite La Cruix said...

First of all, I just want to say, Kiersten you are one of my all time favorite authors! You made me relate to Evie, fall for Lend, and hate Reth. That is exactly what authors want to do. They want their readers to feel emotions and look inside themselves. Way to go! Mission accomplished!
Okay, so the second of all. What you said really related to me. That you have to write for yourself. No one else. I'm a writer and I share my stuff with my mom sometimes. Well, she doesnt always understand or agree with it. I don't write inappropriete things. We just have have conflicting genre tastes. She usually only reads Christian books and I write young adult fantasies. It gets me down sometimes, and I question my writing. I've let my friends read my things and they all like them. I tell her its my stories, and I have to tell them the way they come to me. Its nice to have an author who has published her works remind me that you have to write for yourself.
So thanks! I can't wait for your next book!

Kim Walus said...

Your sense of humor is delightful and the statue is equally delightful. Thanks for sharing this. I really love your outlook too!

Katie said...

I think that your writing style is really awesome. Totally non-pukey (pukish?). I went to one of your book signings in Texas with my friends for my 14th birthday a few months ago, and all three of us loved it. Then it finally came to the school library, and I told one of my friends to read it. She loved it, so she recommended it to someone, who recommended it to someone else, and so on. That one copy of Paranormalcy has probably been checked out of our library more times than most of the other books in it combined. And me and my friends are practically celebrities now because we have signed copies.
So, obviously your "target audience" ♥loved♥ it. Everyone else should love Paranormalcy too. Maybe we'll just have to send Evie and Tasey to convince them. ☺

Kiersten White said...

Aww, Katie, THANK YOU! That's another reason I don't pay much attention to reviews--they are rarely coming from my target audience, which is you and your awesome friends! ♥♥♥

Jessie Oliveros said...

It's funny that puke and vomit took up so much of your post today since that is what I have been swimming in recently. I'll have to show my son that picture now that he's over his little stomach bug...let's hope. Anyway, I think that would be hard to read bad reviews, but you seemed to take it with a grain of salt. (What does that MEAN anyway? Grain of salt? Well, it sounds right, so I'm leaving it.) I thought your book was great. No vomit whatsoever.

Abby Minard said...

Ha, you're such a good sport! I hope I can be that positive with bad reviews (I loved your book btw. It did not make me vomit. If I did, it was love-vomit.)

Kristin Rae said...

I applaud you for keeping your head high (above the puke). I think no matter what, it stings a little to hear something negative about something I created--it would be almost like someone saying I had an ugly child using a medium they knew I could possibly see.
But no one thing is going to please everyone, and it's not supposed to--that's why we have so many genres anyway. Clearly, this reviewer was in the wrong section of the bookstore for THEM.... ;)
I LOVED your book, and can't wait for the next.

Maya / מיה said...

I just had too many chanukah jelly donuts in a row and I want to vomit. Maybe vomit girl just loved your book so much that she devoured it way too quickly and her stomach couldn't handle all the jammy, powdered-sugary goodness?

Deborah Burns said...

Thanks for the post! I've actually stressed about this very thing... REVIEWS! Yikes! I'll be refering back to this one when I finally see my book in print!

Jen Daiker said...

Bahaha 'Puke away, friends! Puke away!' suddenly this statue has a very bad meaning now. Thank you. Should I see it anywhere I will always think of your blog.

I enjoy reading WONDERFUL reviews, but I think once my book is out I'll have to steer clear of the firing boards for awhile to prevent myself from having a mental breakdown... because as writers we have enough of those. No sense in adding one more.

Dayana Stockdale said...

So funny! I loved this post. And (plug your ears) I LOVED YOUR BOOK! So so much. Especially Lend and his family. Especially the ending...the description of the stars...WOW. So others may be vomiting but I am giggling contentedly!

Daisy Whitney said...

I couldn't agree more! And I wholeheartedly urge writers to avoid hunting out the reviews!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Awesome! And exactly the right take to have on reviews. They mean that you've made it to the point where people have something to talk about ... YOU! And your book! It's win all around. :)

erica and christy said...

My name is Erica and I'm a recovering puker. My poor Son #1 acquired my ways.

I promise I've never vomited on a book, however. Nor has either son.

Go get 'em, Kiersten. Er, not your vomit. Write out the awesomeness.

Julia King said...

I thought about reviews the other day. I wondered how I would react to bad reviews/good reviews. I decided it probably be a bad idea to read them at all. Like you said, it would be lovely to know that there are people out there reviewing my book. That would mean . . . I'M PUBLISHED!!!!!!!! I just around the room laughing with great spirit at the thought. Well, not really, but i sure did in my head. I like your book and that is all that matters, right? Well, with being the 51 comment on this post, it is apparent that MANY people like or even love your book. They aren't puking. I love the pic btw. Go forward and write.

Dominique said...

"Just YA"? What's that person tripping on? Way to knock a whole genre for no apparent reason. (Sorry, personal pet peeve.)

I like the idea of getting her to projectile. Your reaction makes me smile cheekily. :)

Jessica K. said...

Well, Kiersten, all I have heard are wonderful things about PARANORMALCY. Keep up the great writing...and I kinda hope it came out of her nose... :)

kjovus - my life with books said...

I only buy books that I would read with my teenagers. As you can imagine there are not many paranormal books available for a conservitive teen to read. Paranormalcy breaks that stereotype and raises the bar proving that this genre can be fun AND clean at the same time. Paranormalcy will be the first book I give my teenage daughter to read Its the perfect book to introduce the world of vamps, weres and the IPCA.

THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS BOOK!

kjovus(at)gmail(dot)com

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

LOLOLOL! Projectile vomit! Work hard, Gal!