I went to the dentist today for my bi-annual teeth cleaning. One hour, mouth wide open, as Nikki the Hygienist scraped my pearly whites and dug into my fragile gums. No cavities, which was good, but a crown is suspect and shall have to be removed. Ever since I had a root canal, a far back lower molar hurts sometimes. Very weird, I have no nerves left in that tooth. Weirder yet, my dentist says the tooth next to it is the one she has issues with. Something about a shadow on the x-ray, she doesn’t like the looks of it. She’s going to cut the crown off and look. Next Tuesday, ten-thirty.
My dental visit prompted me to write this blog post, the gist of which has nothing to do with teeth, per se, but everything to do with keeping one’s trap shut.
I remember reading posts on AW relative to responding to ‘bad reviews’ one might receive on Amazon or GoodReads. The consensus is this: Do not engage. Readers have every right to comment, even negatively, on your novel. Once it’s out there, it’s fair game.
Knowing myself, that’s going to be tough to do. Any time anyone says anything negative about one of my novels, my first inclination is to defend and explain, try to change that person’s mind. There’s just one problem: It’s not my right to do that.
You write what you write, the way you want to write it. Your novel is yours to write as you see fit. But the minute you present your work for public scrutiny, you relinquish all control. People may love your book, but they may also hate it. They may write, on a public forum, about how it didn’t ring true. About how they hated the ending. About how the writing sucked. About how you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.
You have two choices: Respond, or don’t.
Keep your trap shut, folks. If folks write about your novel, if they are compelled to do that; regardless of whether they liked it or not, chances are you moved them in some way.
Isn’t that the point?
On my AW ‘About Me’ page, I present my ultimate writing dream: To write something, if not of beauty, then, at least, of value. I hope I have.