It Gets Funny…Really!

mad-men-lost-horizon-peggyI’m a little high right now on books and good times. I’m in a hotel in San Francisco, about two hours north of where I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I just got to meet Deb Sona at one of the marvelous Books Inc stores in San Francisco where she and few other amazing writers had a fascinating discussion about diversity in books. Then my wonderful husband and I went to one of our favorite blues clubs and ate macaroni and cheese croquettes and peach cobbler while listening to an awesome band. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to be badass Peggy from Mad Men, walking down the hall of my new novel with a hangover, a cig (unlit!) dangling out my mouth, and an erotic painting under my arm. Nothing is going to get me down right now. Not even talking about reviews.

So I’ll tell you what happened to me on Wednesday. I have a Google Alert set up for my book title so I know when something pops up about it. I got an alert that linked to a blog in Sweden. I got excited. My book is not out in Sweden and yet a reader there discovered it! Thanks to Chrome translating the text into something I could at least parse, I was so surprised when I realized I’d met this blogger. She and her family happened in on a talk I did at the wonderful Foxtale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, Georgia, a few months ago. I remember talking with them and recommending other bookstores for them to visit while they were in the states. They were lovely! So I was excited see the mom’s post.

She started out by recounting how we met and how interesting my talk was (*blush*) and she was so looking forward to reading my book. And then the other shoe dropped. She hated it. I mean she REALLY hated it. She wasn’t mean or hurtful at all, but it was very clear how disappointed she was in the book. It was a moment that could easily bring a writer to tears. But instead, I laughed.

This happens sometimes. With luck, and I’ve been VERY lucky, it is rare. She’s not the first person who hasn’t liked my book. She won’t be the last. I just finished reading an ARC for a book that got a huge advance, already sold the movie rights, and is prepped to be huge this fall. I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. (NO! I’m not telling you which one!) I’m so happy for the writer and all the people who are excited about it. It’s just not my cup of tea. No big deal.

It’s OK to not like a book. It’s OK if people don’t like your book. It’s even OK to tell other people about the books you don’t like. Though I do joke with readers when I do in-person events that if they like my book, please spread the word, and if they don’t, let’s just keep that our little secret.

So chin up. Keep your sense of humor. Be the badass version of Peggy from Mad Men. And for the sake of all that is holy, don’t reply to bad reviews on GoodReads.

And for some laughs about the crazy things that can happen with online reviews, check this out:

Stephen King’s Money


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Shelly is the author of THE MOMENT OF EVERYTHING, story of love and books in Silicon Valley. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with her husband, two big dogs, and a disapproving cat.

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  1. I think that’s a good attitude.

    Besides, the thing about GoodReads is that it’s really only GoodReads. If you get worked up by bad reviews there, how are you going to cope when you work your way up to the point of getting negative reviews in the New York Times Book Review? 🙂

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