But do you like my book?
And so comes the Monday after the first weekend you’ve all have with my newest book. I sit on tenterhooks wondering, worrying, hoping.
Sweet Salt Air has actually been out and around for the sake of getting early reviews. Part of the promotional campaign leading up to its publication entailed sending Advance Reading Copies to more than a hundred book groups around the country. In return, they’ve posted reviews in blogs and on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, and the like. Excerpts of some of these reviews appeared in a New York Times Book Review ad on Sunday, June 16. Here’s the ad. Pretty, huh?
I try not to see reviews of my books. Some of you already know this, but I’ve stopped reading reviews of my books at online venues. It’s too upsetting. There may be twenty good reviews for one bad one, but it’s that bad one over which I obsess.
This time around, though, there’s Facebook. Many of the groups that received ARCs have met and discussed the book and have posted reviews on my Facebook page. Since I monitor this page closely – so that I can thank these early readers – I inevitably read their posts. And the great majority of their remarks have been amazing. These readers loved the island, the characters, the herbs, the food, and Bear. They loved the health crisis and the discussion of umbilical cord blood stem cells. Their groups discussed friendship, parenting, secrets, and love – all the things I had hoped that they would.
Then there are the others.
One woman complained about typos. I posted a comment explaining that Advance Reading Copies are uncorrected proofs.
One woman complained about grammatical errors. I posted a comment explaining that since I’m a stickler for correct grammar, what she may have taken to be errors was intentional – either house style or simply the way people think or speak.
One woman implied that her group thought having sex in the ocean was a laughable idea. I say, each to his own.
But how much should I say? On one hand, if a reader posts a negative remark on my Facebook page, don’t I have a right to defend myself? On the other hand, does that risk alienating someone who might otherwise become a fan of my work?
What do you think? Should I rebut criticism? Or should I just grin and bear it?