By Dan Haring
Writing a book is a little bit like having a child.
I can't really
comment on whether or not it's like actually giving birth, since I'm not
equipped to make that comparison. And as hard as writing a book is,
after watching my wife go through four pregnancies and c-sections, I'd
say writing a book is, in fact, very tame. (p.s. My wife is amazing)
But, being a father, I think
I'm qualified to make the case of books as children. You spend hours
agonizing over decisions and choices and tiny little things that might
have huge repercussions. You stay up late with them, you clean up their
messes, you strive to make them the best they can be.
reward you for it and you experience emotional highs like never before.
Sometimes they throw up on you at two in the morning.
But at the end of
the day, they're your creation, and you love them.
and family and friends will adore them too. They'll see past whatever
flaws they might have and praise the good. At least they should. You
need to have that support system, both as a parent and an author. But
then things get trickier, because at some point, you send them out into
the world, hoping that you've prepared them as well as you can for
what's to come.
And here's the hard part. Your kids and your book
are going to be judged.
They're going to be judged on how well they
perform, how well they can exist in the outside world, and so on and so forth. And those
judgements are going to be a reflection of you, of your skills, of your
abilities, of how well you did your job.
I've heard authors say
they never read reviews. While it might be noble to refrain from reading
them, it's not really for me. When a movie I've worked on comes out, I
religiously check Rotten Tomatoes to find out what people think. I don't
read all the reviews, but enough to get an idea of what worked and what
didn't. The same with my book.
Criticism is good, to a certain
degree. Not only does it keep you humble and grounded, it can help
reveal problems with what you've created that can be avoided in the
future. No one has ever written a perfect book, or raised a perfect
child, and having the flaws pointed out can help in your next endeavor.
my book came out, the reviews were generally pretty good. Like I said,
family and friends were very supportive. And people I didn't even know
seemed to respond well to it also.
Then one day, I got my first one star review on Goodreads. Since it's short, I'll quote it here:
"Probably the stupidest book I have ever read. Just stupid."
went through a lot of different emotions when I got that review. I was
mad, annoyed, frustrated, hurt, and many other adjectives. I considered
responding to the review, then figured it would be a bad idea. After I'd
cooled off a bit, I decided to just write a short note saying something
along the lines of "Thanks for reading. Sorry you didn't enjoy it." But
when I clicked to make a comment, Goodreads showed this warning:
has found that it is not in an author's best interest to engage with
someone over a negative review. Please think twice before commenting on
Fair enough. I decided to simply hit the "like" button on the review and leave it at that.
time has passed and I've thought about it more, I'm glad I didn't say
anything to the reviewer. I'm also glad I "liked" the review. For those
reasons listed above, I'm actually thankful for the criticism. Not only
does it compel me to work harder on my next book, it serves as a
reminder that not everyone is going to love my work, no matter how good I think it is. And really, that's
fine. It's just a book, and I'm glad the person took the time to read
That's all we as authors and parents can really ask for. Give
our creations a chance. Let them show you what they can do. Hopefully
you'll find something of redeeming value in them. If not, we'll simply
move on. No harm, no foul.
But fair warning: If you ever call my kid stupid I might punch you in the face :)