This past summer, at a conference for the Romance Writers of America, I attended a workshop by Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books about how to respond to reviews (basically, by not engaging, ever, at all.), how to read between the lines of them, and how sometimes, if you’re really lucky, bad reviews can be good for sales. It was a workshop I knew would be especially relevant for me this fall, as I steam towards my debut novel release date on September 30th, and I figured it would be well worth an hour spent cooped up in a hotel conference room.
Now that the reviews for The Last Breath are starting to trickle in on Goodreads and book review sites, I’m relieved and thrilled and mostly relieved to say most are overwhelmingly positive. But you can’t write for everyone, and not every reader is going to love your book. The criticisms I’ve gotten so far all center around one issue ~ too much sex. Kirkus Reviews, a site my writer friends assure me is notoriously harsh on authors, even went so far as to call it “sexual acrobatics” that got in the way of plot.
Perhaps if I hadn’t gone to that workshop, this would be the spot where I would defend my book and dispute the acrobatics of my sex scenes. Perhaps this would be where I would climb up on my soapbox and challenge and complain and make comparisons to other books, big books, with far more sex than mine. But Sarah Wendell’s words are whispering in my ear: Do not engage. Ever. At all.
So instead, I’ll just sit back and hope that her other words apply here, too. The words that said that sometimes, if you’re really really lucky, bad reviews can be good.
Because sexual acrobatics? Who doesn’t want to read about those?