Now that The Fifth Circle has been released, I’m bracing myself for the inevitable bad reviews. I’m pretty sure I know what the negative reviewers will say: the characters are too unlikable, it’s too preachy, the plot doesn’t move quickly enough, it’s depressing. Bad reviews always hurt, but it’s one of the risks you take when publishing a book. I’ve received a bit of criticism on The Claiming Words, but I haven’t taken it personally. I’m afraid I won’t be as emotionally detached when the inevitable unfavorable reviews come rolling in on The Fifth Circle.
It’s not that I like The Fifth Circle more than my first book. I love The Claiming Words and I want everyone else to love it too. But with The Fifth Circle, I really want readers to understand where I’m coming from. Even if people hate the characters, I want them to walk away from the book with a renewed compassion for those suffering from mental illness or abuse. I want people to view the world around them a little differently. I want people to think about the defining moments in their lives. When I wrote the book, I didn’t set out to lecture or to impose my values on anyone else, but I still hope people think about the story after they read the final page.
Isn’t that something all authors hope for? Isn’t that the point of writing a book? All writers hope to make an impression. We want the reader to laugh, or cry, or think. We want someone to read what we’ve written, even if the reader leaves a scathing review in response. As authors, we have to take the good with the bad, even if that means reading a review that rips our book apart. We hope for the best, but brace for the worst.