Have you ever noticed most people are far quicker to criticize than to praise? I know it’s probably human nature, I even do it myself sometimes without wanting to, but since I was subjected to this treatment more than the average person, I learned not to be so quick to judge.
I became a writer six years ago, and like in any other job, I learned along the way. Even Nora Roberts and Stephen King have bad books. Nicholas Sparks admitted he will never publish his first two novels, because they were not as good as his later work. Unlike him, I published nearly everything I wrote. I don’t know if that’s unfortunate or not, because I learned everything I know about writing from actually making all the mistakes in the business. Sometimes I made them more than once, just to be sure I learned my lesson. 😒 But some readers don’t understand that one can become a better writer only with time and practice. Writers are human, like any other people, and no book is perfect. I’ve managed to revise most of mine, and among them is Unabridged, a romantic comedy that was a bestseller at the time of its release in 2015. Back then, the first edition received mixed reviews, and while it got a lot of five-stars, there were plenty of one-star ratings and comments from readers. Some of them were mean for the sake of meanness, but others raised valid points, which in the end helped me make Unabridged a better book.
This year I have finally managed to rewrite it with the help of my great editor, Susanne Matthews, and republished the new edition with a new cover to match.
I was happy about my accomplishment, and naïve enough to talk about it in one of the author groups I am part of. To my surprise, one of the members asked me in a somewhat harsh tone why I had published Unabridged in the first place if I thought it wasn’t that good. Her question took me by surprise, especially since this is an author of average romance with terrible cheap-looking covers (see, I have a mean streak too, but I try to keep it tamed! 😜 ). Anyway, I answered frankly, the way I always do, and told her I published the book because at the time I was proud of my accomplishment, I wanted to share it with the world, and yes, I needed to make money from my writing—because the damn bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how much I sweet talk them. What shocked me the most though was that no one in that group thought of saying a nice word about the fact that I admitted my mistakes, and that I cared so much about what readers thought I decided to rewrite my book.
Some of the reviewers said Unabridged was mean and judgmental, yet here I was, in the real world, among real people, on trial for admitting and fixing a mistake I made. WTH? I certainly did not expect any medals, but I hardly expected to be judged for being less than perfect.
In the end, this was a good lesson regarding the way people think. And although I have read several terrible books lately, some of them from my favorite authors, I decided not to leave any bad reviews. Because I know that writing a book, even a bad one, is a tremendous effort, and I’m in no position to cut off wings I haven’t built. Life is too full of drama as it is, and I agree with Marilyn Monroe: imperfection is beauty. Who wants to be perfect? It must be boring as hell.
4 thoughts on “Is it worth admitting you made a mistake and trying to fix it?”
There are adults who are little more than school yard bullies. Don’t let a few negative remarks rain on your parade. Your covers are gorgeous and if you’ve already made bestseller rankings, you’re obviously doing something right!
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Thank you so much for your encouragement, Jacquie! It means a lot to me. ❤
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This is a fabulous blog, Melinda, and I really enjoyed reading it. Yes, we learn from our mistakes. How else do we grow? That you have the courage to write as openly and honestly as you do about your journey through learning from mistakes points to a whole lot of personal growth taking place in you. Some have perhaps failed to recognise how nice and charitable you are through your writing this way. There are places for slagging and places for praising. I take this opportunity to praise you. Bravo!
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Susan, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your words. I admire you so much as an author that any praise from you is an honor. Thank you so much for this heartfelt encouragement! ❤️