the writing life

I Didn’t Write It For You

All writers understand that not everyone is going to like what they write. Some books will be a hit, others miss the mark. There is no way an author can please all the people all the time. It’s an impossibility.

Every author will eventually get that one star review by the reader who absolutely hated one of their books. IMO, that first bad review is a rite of passage every author should celebrate because it usually means one of several things. 1. That people you don’t know are actually reading your work. 2. That your book sparked such an emotional reaction in a reader that they felt the need to actually give you the one star review.

What I find interesting, however, are those rare few readers for whom it’s not enough to leave a review and move on like a normal person, but they make it a point to troll the author as much as possible to tell them how much they really hate one (or all) of the author’s books and how they’ll never buy another book by that author.

I’m not sure what readers like this hope to accomplish with that kind of harassment. Do they expect the author to hang their head in shame for even writing a book? That’s never going to happen. Do they expect the author to publicly cry and throw in the towel over some random criticism? That’s unlikely since the majority of authors who have made writing their career have incredibly thick hides. Or perhaps the critic is hoping the author will refund the money they paid for the book? That’s not how that works. I have bought MANY books over the years that I didn’t enjoy, but not once have I whined about the cost because I’m self-aware enough to understand that good books are subjective. I was also raised to take self-responsibility for my own purchase choices. With modern tech and Amazon’s look inside the book – there is no excuse for a reader not having some idea what they’re getting into.

I know all the kicking and screaming is a cry for attention.

So this is my response for the extremely rare one-off readers who have thrown very loud, attention seeking temper tantrums over one of my books in the last 25 years :

I see you disliked one of my books. Believe it or not, I went into this profession knowing that not everyone will like what I write. I am not going to cry or stop writing based on one opinion. Like all writers, I have spent years facing criticism and rejection. I will not apologize for writing the book you didn’t like. When I wrote it, I wrote it based on my expectations, not yours. I am glad you will never buy another one of my books because clearly they’re not for you, and I would hate for you to continue spending money on something that is so obviously not your cup of tea. I didn’t write it for you.

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at

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