The measure of success . . .
I’m currently reading Water for Elephants and I have mixed feelings about it. I think it’s a well-crafted story, but the sex scenes and violence bother me. They’re probably true to the time and the setting, I just don’t like ’em. I also have a VERY hard time reading about cruelty to animals.
Regardless, it’s an interesting story and Sara Gruen seems to have found the golden ticket. The book made the NYT’s bestseller list and the movie version of the book is coming out soon starring Robert Pattison and Reese Witherspoon. I don’t think anyone could argue against Gruen’s success.
Except some people hated the book. I checked Amazon and of a little more than 2,500 reviews 84% were four and five-star, 7% were mediocre three-star and 9% were stinky one and two-star. So about one out of every ten readers really didn’t like the book. I read some of the reviews and there were good points including a really interesting review by a large-animal vet who pointed out valid flaws (or lack of research) dealing with veterinary medicine.
So, what I’m wondering is, if you make the bestseller list and your novel is made into a major motion picture, does the 10% still bother you? At what point does success drown out the booing?