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Your Book Is a Product You Have Released into the Wild



Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

A product can be consumed by different types of people from all over the world and they’re not always going to get it or love it in the way that the writer does.

My Nan Janey used to make the most wonderful cups of tea. She would infuse fresh mint with Jasmine leaves, grind it up, bag it, and sell it at the local market. We’re talking thirty-years ago here.

One day, a customer returned her tea and said it tasted horrible, requested a refund, and vowed to never sample another ‘Grandma Janey’ tea again. Unperturbed, my nan obliged with a smile on her face and no regrets.

I asked my nan, in the most cockney of accents; ‘are you not bothered?’

She replied, ‘not everyone’s gonna like what you’re shifting them. Did you enjoy that film you watched at the flicks the other day, My Girl?’

‘No, nan, it was rubbish. Boy gets stung by bees, and…’ I shrugged.

‘…and you know what that is, an opinion! Boy, you’re allowed to have one! My tea is a product I’ve released into the wild, not everyone’s gonna like it and not everyone will like it. As long as I’m proud of the product I’ve made then I’m happy and that’s the most important thing in the world.’

So, you see, from an early age, I’ve understood that whatever product is created, whether it’s a film, teabags, or a book, it’s important to remember that it is exactly that – a product.

A labour of love is still a product

Hundreds, if not thousands of people worked on the movie My Girl, just so I could sit in a dark room with friends and giggle childishly at it.

A movie involves a lot of people, who can mostly remove themselves emotionally from any negativity surrounding it, including bad reviews, and childish stupidity.

A writer who self-publishes a book, does so by themselves. With peripheral assistance from others, cover design, editing, marketing, etc.

But at the end of the day – it’s that one person, that solitary writer who endures most of the emotion attached with a project. It’s their labour of love.

When that one bad review comes in – and it will – it’s how a writer responds to it emotionally that can make the difference of moving on or dwelling on the negativity.

A labour of love is still a product. When a book is published, it’s not the writer’s responsibility to curate, sort, and ‘feel’ reviews – it’s the readers.

Reviews are for readers – and for writers!

You might sometimes hear the saying that reviews are for readers, and it’s true, but reviews are also for the writer of the book.

It’s easy to get caught up on reviews, bolstered by authors on forums spitting out that you MUST have reviews, you SHOULD solicit reviews, you NEED reviews, because if you don’t have them then you’re NOT going anywhere.

Yeah, review culture is a thing, but I say balderdash to that!

Do erotica authors get caught up on reviews? Not as much as other genre authors, that’s for sure. Instead, they tend to focus on marketing and more importantly – writing the next book in whatever series they’ve got under their belts.

It’s fantastic to get a five-star review, it makes you feel good, gives you reason to carry on writing, and gets you a fan in the process. It’s also fantastic to get a one-star review that offers critical advice.

I know many writers who thrive on feedback and advice, and a review, good or bad, can provide that. But where it can provide advice, it can also be a source of negativity that should float over their heads, but rarely will.

Worrying about reviews is not good for a writer’s wellbeing or their mental health. Dwelling on negativity surrounding a labour of love, is not going to help.

Instead, step back and look at the bigger picture – see the product that others see.

Your book is an evergreen product!

When you self-publish a book, what are you doing?

I don’t mean the process, I’m not talking about the steps you must follow to format, edit, design, package, and hit the publish button.

You’ve released a product into the world, a product that can be reviewed and consumed by people you will never meet, on marketplaces you will never control.

Thus – you’ve created a product.

Though it may be a labour of love, a memoir of your life, a self-confessed masterpiece, a series to take the world by storm, it is still a product.

It’s not to say a writer should completely emotionally detach themselves from their works, far from it, emotion drives us to work harder, create better, and publish more efficiently.

A product can be consumed by different types of people from all over the world and they’re not always going to get it or love it in the way that the writer does.

What is important is that your book, that labour of love, is an evergreen product that you can market until the end of your days.

Sure, you might re-edit, update the cover, or change the title, but your product could be bringing in residual income many years from now.

Don’t let bad reviews get to you, try not to worry too much about what people think of your work.

As Nan Janey once said, if you’re proud and happy of the product you’ve made then that’s the most important thing in the world.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!