Friday, January 29, 2010

Rejection and all that Jazz

My husband and I have put our house on the market and yes, I realize what a crazy market it is to try to sell, but due to job opportunities, we don’t have a choice. It hasn’t been on the market very long and today is our first showing. In fact, the prospective buyers might be at our house as you read this so please send out happy thoughts! I’m a little nervous at what they’ll think. I mean, I love our house, obviously, or we wouldn’t have bought it, but now that it’s on display for others, it’s a little nerve wracking. Okay, a lot! I’ve got to keep the house in pristine condition all the time and that’s not an easy feat.

Having our house on display for a bunch of strangers almost feels like when I have a new release or even send something to my editor for review. I love my characters and my story, but there’s no guarantee that anyone else will. Every time I send something off, there’s a risk of rejection, and believe me I have a couple file folders full of rejection letters. It’s just part of being a writer. One of my critique partners is dealing with rejection and questioning her talent and it’s heartbreaking to read some of her emails because I see my own fears in some of her letters. Sometimes it seems that no matter how successful we are, one wrong word can make us question everything. This is a tough business and sometimes it’s hard to remember that it’s not personal, it’s business. I don’t know if other authors do this, but I have a scrapbook of sorts where I keep fan mail, good reviews, etc. that I like to pull out when I’m feeling blue. Recently I got a crappy review for Unleashed Temptation only to be counteracted almost immediately with a 5 star review from Two Lips reviews. It was a nice reminder that reading really is subjective.

Here’s a little bit of that review: Unleashed Temptation by Savannah Stuart will have you hot and bothered by the time you get to the second page. I could not put this one down. Nick is more than just the hottest alpha werewolf you will ever meet. He has a true loving heart that will grab you and make you fall in love with him… The pack dynamics and brotherly love is really felt in this novel and it left me wanting much more of the Lazos pack. For the entire review, click here.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!


Jina Bacarr said...

Thought-provoking post, Savannah. And so true. Rejection is part of the business. Any business...and that's important to remember.

I love your idea of a scrapbook of "feel good" moments. The only thing better is chocolate!

Savannah Stuart said...

Lol, Jina! I agree with you on that one. Chocolate is a cure-all :)

Chudney Defreitas-Thomas said...

Good Luck with the open house. Someone will come along who loves the house as much as you do.

Wynter Daniels said...

Having your house on the market can be tough, but hang in there. I also have a rejection file and a fan file. Balance is key.

Cara McKenna said...

Wow, I can totally sympathize with the house selling woes! Our condo has been on the market since last May, with a glut of viewings through the summer but no offers, now crickets and tumbleweeds. Buyers expect everything to be dirt-cheap thanks to the economy, and those of us who can't or won't lower our prices to foreclosure levels are bearing the brunt of the headaches. I just tell myself, "the longer it doesn't sell and we prolong our next move, the longer I get to write full-time." Ah, silver linings.

And with a debut release coming out in, oh, twenty-one days, I'm feeling about 90% thrilled, 10% anxious about my first novella's reception. I've already decided I don't give a flip about reviews. I don't read them or particularly trust them. Not to say I don't appreciate them—thank you, future reviewers for your time and consideration and hopefully your good mood on that fateful day. But reading is so subjective, I can't put stock in a single person's review. I've read tons of books I love that reviewers panned, and hate ones they love. Ditto films, albums, hotels… We're all humans. Why on Earth would we suddenly start to agree just because there's a star system in place? I can't speak for everyone, but I don't think all that many readers listen to reviews. An icon of a review on an author's website applauding their book is all well and good, but they're so ubiquitous in our field my eyes don't don't even register them anymore. Most everyone I know get their reading suggestions from like-minded friends, or they read books by authors they already know they like from a previous story or an excerpt. The majority of reviewers—just like me typing right now—are just yahoos with keyboards. There's only one site I plan to come out and actually ask to review my stories, and only because I love them so much that having them tear me a new asshole would be nothing short of an honor.

Does that sound flip? I don't mean it to. I've spent the last decade+ in design, a field where you spend 75% of the creative process being told what's weak about your work. I don't think I have a thick skin, but I think I've gotten really good at not looking at criticism as a negative thing. It's just part of being an individual among a mass of other individuals. Just keep your fingers crossed a few other individuals like your work they way that you do, and blammo, a fanbase! Nuts to everybody else, since pleasing everybody's just not practical, or possible. Or desirable. I mean who pleases everybody? June Cleaver? Donna Stone? Shit, I'm exhausted just trying to imagine that.

Now as for this "comment"… BlogStar Reviews gave it this rating:

★★ TWO STARS. A long-winded diatribe with little to no character development and lackluster sex scenes.

Oh, what do they know, anyway?

Bryn said...

oh, good luck with the house! Hoping for a quick sale! I never thought of the real estate/ms analogy, but I can totally see it...

Savannah Stuart said...

Thanks Chudney and Bryn!

I like the idea of a 'fan' file, Wynter!

Cara, that's a good call. I never pay attention to other reviews, lol. I just buy b/c of blurbs and excerpts usually b/c someone recommended something to me :)

Dalton Diaz said...

Oh man, have we ever been there, and it's funny you should link putting your house on the market with your writing.

We put our house on the market literally the week it crashed. It was hell, yes, but you know what came out of that? A great friendship and my writing career!

I'm not kidding. Ashlyn Chase, someone I barely knew, responded to a stress cry by crossing state lines and showing up on my doorstep with a paintbrush in her hand.

That act of kindness resulted in Love Cuffs, and the rest is history.

You just never know what life has in store.

Michelle Polaris said...

I'm crossing my fingers for you about the house. And your post got me thinking as well. Thank god our homes and our stories aren't for everybody. If everyone liked similar things, connected with them exactly as everyone else, we would all be writing the exact same story again and again and again. Boring.

Different tastes mean we run with the opportunity to tell the millions of differing stories in our heads. Some of which will connect with some particular person.

Okay, so this probably won't take the sting out of a bad review or a rejection, but our uniqueness makes us who we are. And we should be proud of that.

Or at least that's what I struggle to remember every day.

Congratulations on that second review!

Savannah Stuart said...

Dalton, that's such a sweet story!

I like the way you look at things Michelle :)

Kaylea Cross said...

You're such a sweetie pie. I bet if you stayed around to show your house to prospective buyers, you'd get the sale yourself :)

I don't have a fan file, because I'm too "new", but that's a heck of a good idea. I'll start compiling stuff with the next few releases.

Savannah Stuart said...

Kaylea, you're beyond fabulous so you definitely need to start compiling a fan file. I'm counting down the days til your Feb. release ;)

Stephanie Adkins said...

Good luck with the Open House, Savannah! I have my fingers, toes, eyes, and everything else crossed for you. *Hugs*

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Savannah!
I'm so late but I still wanted to leave a comment. I remember when I was in college and we had to do a senior seminar project/experiment on stimulus. I did mine on rejection. LOL! Got an "A" but I'm still dealing with it!

I think writers are such a brave group of people because we face rejection every day and yet we still write and create. That either makes us crazy or worthy of a WWE belt (sorry! My son is into that! LOL!)! I for one loved, loved, loved "Unleashed Tempation". You are an amazing writer--did I mention how much I love, love, love "Dangerous Deceptions"?? Sigh. Your characters are amazing and they make me feel. What more could a reader ask for?

Thanks to you I have my fan mail file--small but growing, I hope! LOL! You encouraged me when I received my first negative review--come to think of it you gave me my first positive review on your blog! Rejection may be a part of what we do but your accolades far outweigh the negative!