Dealing with Negative Reviews
I knew when I decided to self-publish a book that negative reviews would be inevitable. I processed it, I accepted it, I prepared for it . . . and it still sucks.
Earlier today, I received a review on Goodreads that claimed the psych ward in Changing Ways is unrealistic because Grace had “far too many opportunities to get away with not eating.” A large part of me was tempted to leave a comment rebutting this reviewer’s remark. After all, Grace’s stay at CTC is entirely based on my own experiences with psych wards, many of which were utterly incompetent when it came to eating disorders. Like Grace, at six of my seven inpatient admissions, I too manipulated the system and consequently lost a startling amount of weight.
I wanted to say this. But I didn’t.
I knew it wouldn’t matter. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion because everyone sees things a little differently. And that’s what makes humans so fantastic. I don’t expect every person who reads Changing Ways to like it. It tackles a subject many people are uncomfortable with and is written with a strong teen voice, something others may find annoying or unsophisticated (yes, I’ve heard both of these).
I’m proud of my book, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. If I had let my fear of criticism get the best of me, I never would have published Changing Ways. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to share my story, to speak my truth. But I do, and that alone makes every biased, hurtful, sucky review worthwhile.
A life that’s dominated by fear is a life I do not want to live.