A Note to New Authors: You’re Never Going to Please Everyone . . . And that’s OKAY!

A Note to New Authors: You’re Never Going to Please Everyone . . . And that’s OKAY!

With a deadline looming and my kids about to be off for a week for the holiday, I should be nose to the grindstone writing Combust. But I’m not. I’m procrastinating and reading my emails since I’m so behind. And in the course of opening them up today, I was a little taken back by the first ten emails that were in my inbox. (Technically the first eight emails since the other two had to do with a dentist appointment and a school thing for my kids). 
What were so important about these first seven emails other than they were from readers giving me feedback on my latest release? It was the realization that NO MATTER how hard I try, I will NEVER be able to please everyone. NEVER. And even though I am forty-one years old and a people pleaser, that is a hard notion to swallow.
What I think is an even more important message, is for all NEW AUTHORS out there to see this. I remember the stress I endured when I was in your shoes, releasing my first book, Driven, scouring Amazon and Goodreads for reviews. My feelings were hurt with criticism as many times as they were emboldened with praise.
So I’m going to post the most poignant lines of my first seven emails . . . because I know new authors are always worried about what readers are going to think or say or how they are going to respond to your next book, your next Facebook post, your next blog. And I want you to know, it’s OKAY. For every one person who dislikes it, there will be five more who like it. 
Reader feedback is important. I read every email and try to read every review, good and bad, (yes, I know that’s crazy), but learn from them. Shrug the nasty ones off. Embrace the good ones. But more than anything, know as hard as you try, you will never be able to please everyone. 
So without further ado . . . here is a sample of my first seven emails today so you can see I get criticism too. We all do. And all I can do is to work harder on the next book, polish my craft a bit more, and make sure I put my best foot forward in all I do.
  1. “Don’t you know that no one will ever compare to Driven and Colton? Quit trying to write differently.”
  1. “Thank God you wrote a different book. I didn’t quite care for your Driven series so you’re lucky I took a second chance on you all this time later to find you’re not a one trick pony. It’s about damn time.”
  1. “Top Read of 2017. Thank you for writing about an issue that often gets swept under the rug with such sensitivity and resilience. You made me realize my past is my past and I can have a future. Head up. Wings Out.”
  1. “I wanted a quick, easy read. I didn’t want depth and emotion. Maybe next time you should make your cover less sexy so you don’t trick a reader into thinking they are getting a two hour, mindless read.”
  1. “It’s about time you stop milking the Driven series to death and write something different. Cuffed is your best book yet. Keep them coming like that.”
  1. “I’ve loved everything K. Bromberg but you’ve really disappointed me with this one . . . Can’t you give us another Colton?”
  1. “It’s about time someone wrote a book that’s longer than the books I’m seeing nowadays. You fleshed out characters so I connected with Emmy and Grant. Bravo. You haven’t disappointed me yet.
  1. “I apologize. Let me get that out there first before I explain. I’ll say it again. I apologize. There were women talking in a private Facebook group earlier this year about how unfriendly they found you to be at a signing. It turned me off to your writing. Then I met you at Apollycon and realized you were actually nice. I gave your books a chance and ended up really liking them. When I approached those same women about why they said that about you, they admitted that when they met you, it was at a signing where you were still signing two hours after every other author had left. I couldn’t believe they would judge you for staying and being tired (and probably having to go pee) when no one else stuck around . . . so I guess I’m writing you to ease my own guilt for prejudging you and listening to women who honestly, were wrong to criticize you. Lesson learned for this fifty-five year old women. Thank you for teaching me that. I just finished Cuffed and felt compelled to write you and apologize.”
So . . . see? One book. Seven different opinions given. Do I respect all of the opinions? My ego may not like them, but yes, I do respect them, because like it or not, the opinion of your audience has to matter. 
Now that you’ve all seen the range of the criticism another author gets, maybe you won’t be so hard on yourself next time you get a message that is critical. Just take a deep breath and remember, you can’t please everyone. 

Kristy

(*Please note all of these readers were asked if their emails could be used for this post and they consented.)

10 Comments

  1. Thanks, Kristy !
    It was as if you knew the very day to post this. I appreciate your honesty and thoughtfulness. Xxxx
    Have a great day 😘

  2. What happened to the days people kept their opinions to themselves? If you don’t like a author, don’t read his or her work…and shut up. Every comment you think is helpful is NOT. Authors are not your friends. They are folks who provide you an escape, if you so chose to go on that ride. If you don’t like the book, move on to something else. This need to simply be heard is so juvenile.

  3. It is easy to beat ourselves up over a negative review, and harder to accept praise. Your newsletters always seem to come at just the right time. Thank you.

  4. I have never ever been disappointed in any of your books. I can hardly wait until the next on is out. I always pre-order before I know anything about it. You are amazing. I love leaving my life behind for awhile and slip between the sheets of your books. Keep it up. Thank you again for writing for us to enjoy.

  5. I have been a big fan of your books since I discovered the Driven series. I loved the story of Colton And Riley and Still fall back on them if I run out of fresh reading material. I have bought all of your books as they come out and so far have enjoyed each book.

    As in life, you will always have people who do not appreciate your great efforts, time and hard work. Just remember that for each person who grumbles there will always be fans like me who enjoy your work and look forward to new releases.

    I say try to ignore those unkind comments and remember that so many of us do appreciate your work.

  6. Bravo, and thank you for writing that very candid post.
    None of us enjoy criticism but you’re right, our readers’ opinions are crucial.
    Personally, I’d rather say nothing than slate a book. But an honest, constructive criticism can be very helpful.
    I’m a new author still learning the ropes, so I understand it takes time to build reviews and you learn from your mistakes and the feedback you get along the way.

    I’m currently enjoying the Driven series, love your writing. And please keep posting your helpful snippets too. It’s invaluable for people like me.
    All the best,
    Lisa x:-)

  7. I loved the driven series. It’s on my reread list and I can’t count how many times I’ve reread it. I love books with emotion and struggle in them. This series was suggested by a blog for favorite book series that were struggle driven. You NEVER disappoint. Let me just say I love and respect books that are deeper, that make you think and feel. Fluffy reads are nice but I seek out books like yours. And you are in my author to be read list. When I’m looking for a book to read I have specific author’s that I check in on to see what they’ve written that I haven’t read yet. I would like to tell you I snatch up yours–knowing it will be an enjoyable read. It always is no matter how the book is laid out I end up enjoying myself for awhile before I have to return to my hard life. Rather read about your characters struggles than live through mine. Thanks for the encouragement on my own writing and the escape. I appreciate you!

  8. I cannot believe people take time out of their day to send a nasty email. Don’t read that author if you don’t want to. I think people hide behind their screens and say what they feel without thought of others feelings or even understanding that people like different things and it’s ok.
    I love you and appreciate all the hard work that the authors put into their books. I could never do it.

    A story is an escape from reality. If you don’t like that escape choose another. There are so many to hose from.

    • I don’t think most are intentionally nasty… I think in this social media age, people feel that they are friends with you because they see you daily online and feel like they can be more frank with you than not. As I was trying to make the point in the post, as with most things in life, you have to take it with a grain of salt because you can’t please everyone. It would be nice if we could, but that’s impossible.

  9. It’s true, you can NEVER please everyone. I’m a people pleaser too, so I understand.

    I’m currently submitting my debut novel to literary agents, and I’ve been knocked back by so many – it rattles my confidence as a writer. It sucks! But hoping someone out there likes it.

    BTW I love your books. I haven’t read Cuffed, yet, but it’s on my ‘To Read’ list.

    Have a great day Kristy!

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