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One of life's valuable lessons

As a writer, as in other spheres of life, one of the more painful lessons is to learn that you cannot please every reader all the time. In fact it would seem that having a tough hide is almost a prerequisite of publishing a book.

I was looking at a book on Amazon Kindle earlier and checking out some of the reviews given by readers. It was striking how diametrically opposite some of them were. There were a large number (some 900+) who gave the book 5 stars and waxed lyrical about it as being the best book they had read this year, for instance. Yet there were a significant minority who only gave it one star and said that the book was truly awful. It is a stark demonstration of how it is not possible to please all of the people all of the time, and how readers interpret the books so differently. I guess certain factors come into play, such as the reader’s age and background, as well as personality and experiences.

Of course there is nothing that you can do about avoiding the one star review, but you almost wish you could block that person from reading any more of your books on the grounds that they are not the kind of reader you wish to attract. I wonder if such reviewers gain pleasure from having opinions that are clearly so different from the majority of reviewers. Do they ever doubt their skill as a reviewer in the same way that we writers sometimes doubt our abilities in our chosen sphere? Are there courses on How to Improve Your Reviewing Expertise, in the same way as writers attend courses to help them become better writers?

As a writer of erotica you can be even more vulnerable to 1 star reviews because there is the added moral dimension involved. Hell hath no fury like a reader who feels that the writer has transgressed the moral boundary to which they, the reader, subscribe. As I said at the beginning, when you publish your book, be prepared to put on a flak jacket to stop the barbed comments from piercing your ego, and learn to accept criticism, but don't be bowed down by it is the advice I would offer budding authors.

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