Sanctum has received its first negative reviews.
And now that I know how it feels, HERE IS HOW I RESPOND:
First, allow me to introduce my brains:
(for the purposes of this dialog, please picture them 100% more brain-like)
Sneaky Brain: OMG someone left a critical review. This is awful. So awful. It’s the worst thing ever.
Smart Brain: Whoa whoa whoa. Catastrophize much? First, WTH are you doing, reading every single review? Haven't we talked about this? And second, what's so awful about it?
Sneaky: Okay, well, I was curious about how the book would be received. AND NOW I KNOW AND IT IS AWFUL. I'll bet more and more of these negative reviews will come pouring in. The floodgates are opening!
Smart: Um. You're overgeneralizing. Breathe. I'm going to ask you some questions, 'k?
Sneaky: I don't exactly have lungs here.
Smart: Jeez. You know what I mean. Anyway, did you actually expect that every member of the reading public would like your book?
Sneaky: Well, I hoped--
Smart: You are a brain, are you not? You might have hoped, but you know there's not a book on this planet that has 100% 5-star reviews ... unless those reviews are fake. Do you want people to think your reviews are fake?
Sneaky: *horrified gelatinous shudder*
Smart: And next: When other authors' books get a few 1- and 2-star reviews, do you decide their books are bad?
Sneaky: Well, that would be stupid. Of course not. I mean, THE HUNGER GAMES has close to 25,000 1- and 2-star reviews. And that book is awesome. As indicated by the approximately one million 4- and 5-star reviews it has. But SANCTUM will never have that many reviews. So this isn't the same.
Smart: Oh, hello double-standard. And wait. What proportion of Sanctum's reviews are positive?
Sneaky: *checks the latest GR stats* Over 80% so far? But I've always been a straight-A student. You know that.
Smart: So if your performance isn't perfect, you're a failure? That's some excellent polarized thinking right there.
Sneaky: Well--have you read those reviews? One of them called the book a waste of money!
Smart: And here we go with filtering. Are you going to ignore over 80% positive reviews and only pay attention to a few negative ones?
Sneaky: No, I'm just saying those negative reviews stick out to me. Like a needle. In my tender, succulent brainself.
Smart. You're minimizing the importance of those fabulous reviews. That's sad. Because lots of smart people have said awesome things about Sanctum, and you're giving their voices less weight than those of the few who didn't like it. That's a bit disrespectful, don't you think?
Sneaky: Hey! I don't mean sound that way. It's just: those negative reviews give me a bad feeling. If I had a stomach, I'd feel like I'd been punched there. How did this all go south so quickly? I thought things were going well!
Smart: So if you're feeeeeeeeling bad, that means things really ARE bad? Emotional reasoning FTW! Or should I say: FTL.
Sneaky: Yes, but it's hard to stay positive when someone says your main characters were boring and annoying, and that your dialogue is poorly written. They basically said I'm a bad writer! I can't believe I screwed up this book so completely! I brought this on myself! I knew I should have stuck with my day job!
Smart: GAH with the personalization. Once again I'll remind you that lots of other folks have said the opposite about your characters, dialogue, and writing, and they've also said your book touched them deeply. Also: this isn't the last time others will say bad stuff ... but that doesn't change the book or what you've accomplished. Nothing can change that now.
Sneaky: But I want everyone to love me! I want to be perfect!
Smart: I say this with love, but: you deserve to be eaten by a zombie.
And there you have it. Smart Brain wins on points. Moving on.