Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Bittersweet Rating

It's a strange mix of emotions, receiving your first 'dis-satisfied' Goodreads rating.
In this case it was a 2 stars out of 5 for 'The Book That THEY…Part 1'.
My first emotion, I have to admit, was one of outrage. I immediately reached for that long list of people's names that I keep secreted away for the day I have enough money to hire a hitman. Hell hath no fury, I told myself, like an author scorned.
But then, once I'd got over the initial shock, I found myself thinking a little more rationally (helped by a good cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast). Rather than bemoaning what has happened, I found myself recognising (with surprising maturity) that receiving a less than glowing review, whilst undoubtedly disappointing, was not only an inevitability but was also something I should, in reality, be pleased about.
But how so?
Well, let's consider the perspective of inevitability. The moment anyone decides to share something they've created with the wider world (especially when said creation is something 'arty'), there must eventually come a point when someone takes a look at it and decides, for any of dozens of different reasons, that it simply fails to float their particular boat. It's not anyone's fault, it just is. That's the whole point of 'art' - different people like (and dislike) different things for all sorts of different reasons. With a book, dislike can sometimes stem from the reader preferring a different writing style (more or less description), or simply failing to connect with a character or engage with a storyline. Perhaps the reader is a sci-fi fan, but prefers the hard sci-fi of Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov and Greg Bear, rather than the soft, comedic approach of Douglas Adams. Who knows?
The fact is that people can read the same thing and have a completely different opinion about it. That's life.
Which brings us to the point of why I should be, somewhat perversely, pleased.
Well, it's really quite simple. In order for someone to have decided that what I've written is not to their liking, they have at least to have read it. That, to my mind, is much better than the alternative - that they haven't read it at all.
So, whilst there is a little tinge of disappointment that I now have a 'dis-satisfied' Goodreads reader (who shall be known as Reader X to protect their identity), that disappointment is tempered by the knowledge that at least Reader X not only took the time to read 'They Book That THEY…Part 1', but that they also took the time to post a rating of it.
So, far from placing Reader X onto my hitman target list, I'd instead like to say a little thank you to them for at least showing an interest.

Now I'm going to go and find a cat to kick!