Tuesday, August 30, 2011

But Everyone Loved It

There is a fascinating discussion over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books about the books everyone loves. The books that are praised and feted and recommended. No matter how beloved a book is, someone out there hates it. A lot.

With a fiery burning passion.

As I write this, the post has well over two hundred comments. That's a lot of passion. What struck me as I started to read the comments is the inconstancy of popular opinion. All of the most popular books and authors have their detractors. What some people love about a book is the exact same thing other commenters hate.

The heroine is weak. The heroine is heartless. The world building is complex. The world building is overwhelming. The pace is too slow. The plot moves so quickly there isn't time to get to know the characters.

It might sound like you can't make anyone happy. But that isn't true at all. You can't make everyone happy. Not everyone will love what I write. Even if it's good.

Instead of discouraging, I find it really quite liberating. I am freed from the shackles of trying to appease everyone. If I simply write a great book some readers will like it.

And some won't.


  1. Such a liberating way to look at it! I also read many of the comments (I am sure they have multiplied since I went to bed here in the UK whilst the west coast were still at work and had yet to sit down, relax and vent...) some I hadn't read, some I didn't mind, some I loved: (Kelley Armstrong although I agree re some of the issues with Bitten, Kim Harrison, Sookie, Julia Quinn and the Hunger Games). Others I agreed with namely Gone with the Wind and there-is-nothing-romantic-about-violent-narcissists Wuthering Heights. And then I panicked - if I ever do get published and read how will I ever face the reviews? Well, if that day ever does come I will reread this blog and remember, you can't please everyone. Thank you.

  2. I have come to the conclusion this goes for editors and getting published too. This business is so subjective. All we can do is write the best story we can do and hope it lands on the right desk at the right time, take any feed back we may get on board and carry on :-)

  3. @RoseRed I can even say that I agree with some of the flaws commenters pointed out. It just doesn't always bother me in the books they're talking about. Sure, Clay from Bitten is stalkerish, a thing that usually bugs me. It didn't lessen my enjoyment of that book though.

    @Doris I think you're quite right. Finding the right editor at the right time is key.

  4. Ruthie Knox told me a good quote (from Meg Magguire I think), that somewhere in the world there's already someone who hates your book. I quite like that - there's no point in worrying about who will like our work because someone already loves it and someone already hates it!

  5. I think that is the only attitude to take. All I can do is write.