As an author and a Christian, my purpose in writing was to create a clean, fun, flirty chick lit book that would appeal to both religious and non-religious audiences. I wanted my books to be realistic to life, but not to have excessive bad language, explicit sex scenes or too anything crude or vulgar. At the same time, I knew it couldn't be a book that was all butterflies and roses. Life does not have people walking around saying "darn" and smiling in every situation. So, I wrote my books. I made them as clean as I could, but still realistic. Words like "crap" and "freaking" are words that I occasionally use and do not find offensive. Basically I kept everything PG according to my moral code.
Then the reviews started coming. There are three types of reviews, for those who aren't familiar with it. The majority were super positive (which I love!). There were a few super negative (which make me cry. Seriously), and then here and there a couple of the blah in between reviews where they say "It was a good book, but meh." Now, here's where this gets interesting. The negative reviews I received were written by both religious and non-religous people. The religious people expected the book to be more Christian-ish. They didn't like the border-line crude language in parts, nor the implication that one of the secondary characters in my Hollywood novel was gay. They felt that I should have made the main character a religious zealot in every word and thought. On the other hand, the non-religious commentors wanted the book to be more "Fifty Shades of Grey". They wanted the characters to do more than make out. They wanted a book like hundreds of other romance novels out there.
I read these reviews and felt conflicted. Was I right in my purpose? I wrote a clean, fun, flirty book that alot of people, regardless of their religious views, love. But why then were there a few people that strongly disliked it?
It took a little while, but finally I had an epiphany... I cannot please everyone. Simple. As much as I want to be the most beloved author in the world, that is impossible. Even authors who have sold millions of copies of their novels, like Stephenie Meyers, Sophie Kinsella or J.K Rowling, have received negative reviews... I know... I looked them up on Amazon! There are some downright hateful things people have written to these authors that I really respect.
So what's the moral of this story? Write your book. Figure out who you want your audience to be. And then be proud. You created something that nobody else could have created!
As President Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Have a postive day, all!