I’ve received a spectacularly bad review on GODDESSES from a popular romance novels site. Now, I’ve admittedly been spoiled, embraced heartily by the romance review community, and this was not easy to read. No writer likes to hear negative things about her books. It’s painful. It causes, even among the strongest or most arrogant among us (and I am neither), a ripple of worry: what if they’re right?
I’ve had a strong, mixed bag of reviews on this book. Love or hate, nothing much in-between. Some reviewers said it was luminous, heart-wrenching, mysterious, beautiful. Some take me to task for the choices some of the women make, some find the women’s struggles “trite” (trite? death, divorce, midlife crisis? whatever). Library Journal adored it. Kirkus hated it. The Romance Reader loved it. All About Romance hated it.
My mail is equally split. Love and hate, with the love group about 70-30 in the lead.
What’s a writer to do?
Truth is, there’s nothing I can do, except write each book with as much honor, passion, and attention to craft as I can. Some will please one body of readers, some will please another. Often, the very things that make one set of readers like a book are the ones that make another set hate it.
A writer cannot serve two masters. There can only be one: the work itself.