This may seem like a disjointed blog post, but I promise that if you read to the end, you'll see how it all connects.
When THE FIRST VICTIM came out, I eagerly read every review.
Some people loved it, but those aren't the reviews I think of.
The one I remember best said:
"I was consumed by the mystery, wrapped up in the momentum (J.B. Lynn did an excellent job with pacing) until it all came to a halt with a sex scene. If this had been a movie, it would have been when I would have gone to the bathroom or gotten a refill of soda. It ruined the momentum of the story for me and was not needed. I think it would been better to have the scene fade to black and kept the story moving forward instead of breaking for an intermission. I had trouble getting back into the story after it. For this reason, I can only give it 4 stars." Read entire review here.
I know, I know, "Boohoo for JB. She got a four star review instead of a five."
But the review REALLY bugged me. Finally, when I figured out why, I wrote and thanked the reviewer for her candid, thoughtful review. After thinking about it, I'd realized that I agreed with her. It was my least favorite scene in the book. It was there because someone else wanted it there, not me, and that was evident on the page.
It was an important lesson (if a tad painful/mortifying) to learn. One that was foremost in my mind as I wrote my next book CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN and its sequel FURTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN.
For the record, the same reviewer gave both of those books five stars, lol.
Yesterday was the last stop on my CONFESSIONS TOUR (but there's still time to enter the drawing to win a pair of signed books today -- just go here!).
The lovely person who organized the tour for me was Donna of Girl Who Reads.
She's also the reviewer who wrote what I think of as "the bathroom break review".
As part of the tour I did an interview on Ali Talks Live. (Listen at your own risk. We dissolved into giggles at one point.)
Ali asked me what advice I'd give writers. I said to risk failure...pretty sure I said "fail big!".
Advice I'd like to add to that?
Don't be afraid to learn from your mistakes and those that point them out to you.
Tell me Killer Friends: Have you ever learned a lesson from someone's criticism?
PS -- If you missed the Q&A on GoodReads, you can find it here.