Good press, bad press, or no press?

It's been snowing today and we're supposed to get more through the night, though so far it hasn't hit us as hard as they suspected. That's usually the case where we live - kind of in one of those protected pockets of the city. We don't usually get hit with the harshest weather - and I'm not complaining! Tiger reading his emailAs I worked around the house today, had the fire going, made some beef barley soup and apple pie and sat in the recliner with Tiger helping me read my email, I ran across a Google alert for my name. Being the curious type, I typically check to see why the alert is there. Sometimes it advises me of a posted interview or a place where one of the books is for sale. Sometimes, I find one of my books reviewed by a reader. I'm always a little cautious when I see those pop up.

It's not that I don't like to see people review my work. It's part of the publishing world, part of any artistic endeavor. And I will admit I read product reviews on various business websites to help me decide whether to make a purchase. I weigh the good against the bad trying to make an informed decision. I hope people who buy my books do the same, not just taking one opinion over another.

Of course, that's what a review is - an opinion. And like everyone else, I appreciate it most when those opinions give favorable marks for my work. And I cringe a little when I read reviews that say things that aren't quite so flattering. We all want to be liked after all, right? And sometimes authors link themselves too closely with their work. It's never a good idea to believe your own press.

Some of that press will be highly praise-worthy, gushy even. I've had that happen and I am very certain I am not worthy of such acclaim. But on the other hand, I've had reviewers use phrasing that hurts, leaving me feeling almost worthless as an author. I am fairly certain I do not need to accept that opinion either.

Perhaps no press at all would be the best thing for my ego, to keep me from thinking too highly of myself or too low - maybe I should stop getting Google alerts at all! :) But no press has its own drawbacks. I can't live in seclusion - and I do want to share the stories of my heart with those who care to read them. And I like to know what people are saying about them.

So I accept with gratitude every kind word said in every review, and I try to learn from the reviews that don't say the nicest things. I recall one reviewer who said some of the quoted dialogue in Michal (quoted from the New King James Version) was stilted, so I switched to New International Version for Abigail. A couple of others have complained about the time jumps in Michal because her life and relationship to David spanned so many years. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to change that now, but I hope by the time the whole series comes together my readers will have a fuller view of David's life, will see him as heroic yet flawed, and can overlook some of gaps in time that the story as I see it called for.

So thank you to all who read and review my work. I'm honored and humbled to know you cared to read the books at all!

Shalom Aleikhem "Peace be upon you."

PersonalJill Eileen Smith