The Opinions of Strangers
I recently read an article in Publishers Weekly by an author who opted NOT to read any of her book’s reviews for the first six months it was in print. At the end of six months she printed out 300 pages worth of reviews and read them ALL in one sitting. And what do you suppose she found? Good reviews? Bad reviews? An even split?
Nope. She found WRONG reviews. Cheryl Jarvis wrote The Marriage Sabbatical: The Journey That Brings You Home. The book tells the stories of married women who took time away from their domestic lives to pursue their passions. As did Cheryl for three months.
The most common negative comment was that Cheryl had abandoned her children to take this three-month hiatus. You know, her two adult children, one of whom was 1,800 miles away in college. One reviewer even said she left her THREE children. News to Cheryl that she had a third.
During an interview in which she tried to rebut criticism heaped on her by the interviewer and his listeners, Cheryl finally resorted to suggesting he hadn’t even read the book. “Read it?” The host responded. “I never saw it. I just read an article somewhere.”
When I do have a book in print, I suspect I’ll be very sensitive to reviews. Reading Cheryl’s article makes me think maybe, just maybe, a six-month hiatus from other people’s opinions will be just the ticket.