My debut novel, Radio Girl, has been on the shelves for a few weeks now. Reviews are cropping up in journals and stuff every few weeks. I’m lucky in that mine have been largely favorable, but you know how it goes when you’re being critiqued–it’s the negative parts that stick with you. Those words become forever seared into your brain. It might even make you sick to your stomach, knowing that thousands of potential readers will read that one negative sentence in an otherwise glowing review and take a pass on your novel, the work that took you so many months (years, decades) to craft.
Seasoned authors will advise you not to take the comments personally, but gads. How can you not?
I’ve developed a way for me to focus on the praise in a review (works for a critique, too!) by picking out positive words and phrases from it that would be fun to wear on a T-shirt. When printed on a shirt, these phrases automatically become connected to the wearer. So, in a way, by imagining myself sporting these T-shirts, I’m taking the review extra personally. The good parts, I mean. Make sense? Here are a few shirts I’ve designed, with phrases taken from reviews of Radio Girl:
See? I’m the epitome of moxie! The reviewer said so. Funny how this eases the sting. What about you? In the comments, won’t you all share some positive phrases from your critiques or reviews that would look good on a T?
In conclusion, let me thank the other EMUs, both current and emeriti for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing blog. My time here is ending, but my interest and support never will. There are so many awesome books coming out of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency in the next two years–I’m sticking around to watch them all debut. Hope you will, too.
Carol Brendler is the author of the young adult novel RADIO GIRL (Holiday House) September 5, 2013.
Coming 2014: A picture book, NOT VERY SCARY, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, from FSG.
Also by Carol Brendler: WINNIE FINN, WORM FARMER (FSG, 2009) a picture book illustrated by Ard Hoyt.