The Next 1000 Miles

How to (not)Handle a Review

Truth be told, got a bad review last night, well, more like a rating. No comments, just a punchy 1-star. Bad reviews come with the job. People will have their opinions, everyone is not going to feel the same way about your novel. The difference in my mind comes down to a spectrum of readers.

The White:

These are people who have a penchant for reading, love all books and will generally give a 5-star to anything the sun touches. Mostly, these people will be family and close friends. A few new authors will remain in this category to not rock the boat and greatly upset the reads from other authors they take under their wing.

The Broad Spectrum:

This is where most people fall. They will go from their gut, rate it as the felt it while reading, and give some honest words. These people will range things between the 2 & 5-star areas. If you have gotten a 2-star review, they are horrid. It’s kinda like someone poisoned the tines of a fork and stabbed you. They are usually your audience and missed the mark in their opinion (you just hope they don’t influence too many other opinions in the process). Most of these people will give you their honest feedback as long as it’s anonymous, as far as the Internet is concerned.

The Dark:

Here we go. The trolls, the elitists, the high-brows and the jealous. Most of these people are out for very limited reasons and none of them are artistic, helpful or worthwhile. Generally, they will try and get under your skin, get a smidgen of your spotlight, feel jealous of your success, or want to flex some sort of superiority. Not all of these people will give you 1-stars, but you know them once you see them. They spout and boast their opinions in paragraphs, not sentences. Usually, your efforts are made to feel stale, ridiculous, labor-some, boring or a slew of other identifiers.

To note, I love opinions. I look for them everyday and even if they aren’t great, I appreciate the forwardness of admitting the lack of enjoyment my work may have brought someone. In other words, constructive criticism is always welcome. I’m not doing this to pout cause of one bad review or another.

And the rating, granted, it didn’t have a review with it. Just a lone 1-star out there, tarnishing the others. No big whoop, laugh that one off is how it generally goes. Yet, the fact that I knew the person made me go WTF? Okay, well, still hoping for some opinion, time passes and then I get this:

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Hmm, well… That about does it. Stranger – glad you had your fun, ignore and go about my day. Acquaintance – that’s nice, well, when you publish your own book, let me know how well that guide treated you. Oh, and here was my recommendation back:

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Go out there, be better than me… after you stop laughing ๐Ÿ˜‰



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Red, White & F You

Title was too catchy to pass up.

As the 4th approaches, it should remind us Americans all about our freedoms. More importantly, it should remind us of our heritage. This country has basic principles of freedom of choice and expression. Granted it’s masked by consumerism, but hey, that’s a freedom and we actively take part in it. Some people’s expressions may be misguided to us individually, but it’s their right to say it and our right to ignore it if we choose to.

Another thing about this weekend, appreciate the cultural background that your ancestors braved to step away from in their homelands for their descendants to be in a country that had far more opportunities than theirs. But embrace being an American. I always raise one eyebrow when people I know hyphenate their heritage land before the word American. Annnnd they were born here. In fact I know most whose grandparents were born here. Sooooo, just own up to the fact that you’re an American. Unless you have dual citizenship or something crazy like that.

America has been the bleeding grounds for tragedy. From Native Americans being pushed out of their homes to slavery to civil rights to women’s liberation to equal rights for sexuality. Tears and sweat coat Lady Liberty and all of the grounds we walk upon, but in those struggles, we find our greatest strength. Not many countries are able to say they’ve progressed as far as America has in it’s short 200 + years of existence.

So, for the readers that will be celebrating tomorrow, take a moment to remember the pioneers that have taken us to this moment. Then take pride in knowing you’re an American and try not to associate it with bacon, explosions, firearms and money. Even though those are glorious things! Think of being able to speak your opinion anywhere. Fighting for additional freedoms most countries are denied the act of speaking out against. Hell, just embrace the moment and watch the children running around with sparkler in one hand and a hot dog in the other.

Happy pre-Independence Day!! See you all next week!

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Slap Yourself, You Deserve It

Do you ever take a good, long hard look at that person in the mirror? No, not when you’re getting ready or seeing if you have anything in your teeth. Just stop some time and look in the mirror with no reason or motive behind it. Now, what’s the first thing you do? If you are anything like me, you are probably assuming the role of some fashion, appearance or weight loss judge. I realized this increasingly over the past year, but I pick apart everything I see.

Quite frankly, it’s miserable and not to mention stupid. Oh, and I’m not talking about just me, this goes for anyone with the same intention. If you look in the mirror and the first thing that comes to mind isn’t happiness, then this is your slap. Here, <!@*SLAP*@!> (that’s the best I can do for you). Mind you, don’t stand in front of the mirror out of pride or vanity. That makes you a douche. Guy or girl. Don’t let your looks or build be the thing that distinguishes you.

When you look at your reflection, find the positives that make you, you. There’s no need to be a critic, you’ll most likely have people filling in that void throughout your day, silently or vocally. Why be on their side? Seriously, f%@# them.

It started as I stood in front of my mirror wondering why I am blessed with my father’s eyebrows yet my mother’s ability to grow a beard, then it hit me. Who else doesn’t like how I look? Followed by an immediate response of, who cares? My wife doesn’t, my friends don’t. Who am I trying to impress? I’m not famous. I’m not in the public spotlight. My Facebook friends? Please, I doubt that anyone could come at me with anything that I couldn’t either shrug off or turn the mirror around and ask, “really?”

So, today, I’m lighter. I’ll slowly shed this criticizing monster that lives inside and focus on who I am and who I’m striving to become. I write, and I write pretty decent. That’s a strength that I’ll recognize when I look in the mirror next time.

Who will you see? What are you proud of doing? Think of your job. Does it make you happy? Do you see the differences you’re making? If you dig and dig and can’t find it, I hope that you know what your passion is and fulfill it in the meantime. Otherwise, you’ll be one of those people out there. You can see them all the time, the life light in their eyes barely flickering. Their self-loathing has consumed and spilled out on the people around them or whomever they encounter. They are the ones that feel life owes them something while doing nothing. They are the ones that forget to say things like, thank you, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, hello and goodbye. They are the ones that drive like the road is their own and you should bow out of their way (yes, I’m talking to the man in the red Nissan who was a dick sack on my way to work this morning. You, sir, were a giant asshole).

Point is, be the person you can look at and see the good on the inside, not necessarily what you see on the outside (although, do take a little pride in how you look. Everyday is not Wal-mart/laundry/stomach flu day. Brush your teeth, comb your hair and put on clean clothes… after you shower). If you pick, pick, pick then do me a favor and slap yourself. Make it sting at the very least. And then tell your reflection that you deserved that. Also, if you are a vain d-bag, slap yourself a couple of times with the same mantra. Only way to be slap free really is to enjoy yourself just under the point of hubris.

I wrote about this today mainly because it was on my mind. I had no pertinent words of wisdom about writing. Plus, this ranting will get buried in Facebook under about 5,000 posts showing off Halloween costumes and other stuff. So, the audience fallout will be minimal. This week’s stats are low anyhow, haha.

Hope everyone stays safe and has a great Halloween!! I’ve included red Nissan’s dickish behavior below.

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