Last week I paid tribute to a reader who loved my books.
This week I was on one of my writing forums, and we were discussing readers who didn't like our books. Those that left interesting comments on blogs and book sites, or who sent back the surveys that are sometimes found in the back of certain books (such as my Heartsong novels). As a writer, I endeavor to write the best book I can. But I know too that there will be readers who are not pleased with the work. Who find things they don't particularly like. Some offer constructive comments and criticisms. Some offer subjective ideas that make it difficult to know how to interpret them - such as, I couldn't get past Chapter One. Well, why? What was it about Chapter One that bored you?
While I want readers to be honest, I know it's important too that we as writers receive with humble hearts constructive criticism that can better our work. Specific ideas where perhaps we missed the mark in our work. I've had readers point out mistakes like in spelling or with a person's name or even how to crochet correctly. Very valuable advice that makes me all the more careful in the revision process to correct such mistakes. I want readers to partner with me as a writer. After all, we are here for the glory of God. And I am trying to convey His message in the words I write. And I look for valuable ways to improve on that gift He has given me.
And for those instances where the readers give less than admirable remarks or at times, even disheartening ones (I did have one tell me I should have never become a writer), we can take that to God and allow Him to use it to better us. To help us become better writers, but also, to be better Christians and forgive words that may have been hurtful. But above all, to continue to grow in all aspects of this ministry. And to put out the best books we can.