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My Lesson Learned

This Article was written for Fandango’s Dog Days of August #21

Today’s Prompt is: A Lesson you Learned

A warning: this is a headstrong point of view created by months of pain and sufferance through trying to publish my series.

My Lesson Learned

Lesson – Opinions and Reviews are dangerous!

Hear me out – As the writer opinions and reviews are only criticism and nobody wants to hear that somebody doesn’t like what they wrote — right?  

It goes deeper – What if those opinions are from beta readers? Well, fab you got readers to candidly tell you what they thought about your precious story. Now you have six copies of your manuscript – one for each beta and each wanting you to change a whole host of different things — AAARGH! So, now two things can happen. You’ll either edit each manuscript and publish the book six times to please each beta. Or you’ll realise you can’t please any of them. Lose heart and chuck the story in the bin. Yes, probably better to skip beta reading it’s a mental minefield and probably won’t accomplish anything aside from making you suicidal.

Even the opinions of editors are dangerous. Editors are the most opinionated people on the planet. They’ll want to change just about everything to suit the way ‘they’ see your story. (Oh, yeah! in most cases your vision and voice wont matter) It’ll go beyond punctuation and grammar. They’ll want to take characters out, remove scenes, rewrite paragraphs, change the ending, rewrite history. You name it they do it in the name of their opinion being the ‘right opinion and thing to do’ So, what happens then? You agree to make all those changes and you end up with a story that doesn’t read as you wrote it. A story you don’t like anymore perhaps. Or, you say ‘No, I don’t agree’ the editor never finishes as a result and you end up with nothing done.

Advice: It’s your story – what you say goes. What other people say does not matter only what makes you happy does. If an editor is lucky to work with you, you tell them precisely what you want doing and only accept that.

What about the reviews? You click on to amazon to look at your book’s reviews and maybe one or two are okay, but then you find the three which tear it apart. Each a long-curved blade slamming into your gut and ripping your intestines out — well that was helpful, wasn’t it? Now, what are you going to do? Well, you can pull the book from sale and bin it — unless a publisher is in control in which case it’s tough. If you do own it, you can now rewrite three different ways and publish it another three times to suit those reviewers. Either way, you’ll gain nothing but mental anguish.

Advice: your bookselling pages are for your readers only. The only use to you as an author is the link to share. Never scroll down the page!

Lesson learned, right? Opinions and reviews are dangerous!

How it changed me …

I beat myself up a lot about what people were telling me about my stories. I tried to impress them, I tried to make my book what they wanted, sacrificing what I loved and hurting myself in the process. If I fought back and defended my work, I was left feeling like I was in the wrong all the time. I was made a fool, an idiot, humiliated and worthless. I even lost a friend over it and all because I had to deal with other people’s opinions and reviews of my work and was expected to accept it all. It nearly stopped me writing for good — I’m sure some people were wanting that too.    

It’s changed me a lot because now I realise, I can’t listen anymore if I want to write and be happy. So, it’s part of the reason why I’m no longer a novelist and won’t in all likelihood be trying again to give the world my mystery series. It so badly didn’t want it anyway!

Now, I write short stories and poems and post them on my blog knowing I did the best I can. Accepting that they are full of errors and allowing those errors to be part of my work. For that, I am happier and free to write.

Write happy my friends!

Thanks for reading my friends. As always there are more stories to be enjoyed (I hope) in the Short Stories and Short Stories 2 tabs. There’s also poetry here in Poetry Corner

Have a great day!


28 thoughts on “My Lesson Learned

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  1. Thank you for sharing that. I have been trying to publish children’s stories. I did publish a few through a vanity press and I will tell you that their editors don’t give a shit if every word is spelled wrong, just take the money and print it. I am part of groups like Critique Circle and Rate My Story. I have had some doozies of feedback. I have cried over it and contemplated tossing it in the trash. But each time I get feedback I think about what they are asking and how what I want can fit their needs. I do hope to be published traditionally some day. My dream has always been to be on book shelves near Dr. Seuss. Last name starts with a B so it would at least be close! But I also understand there are millions of contenders and criticizers and sometimes it is best to step aside and find a new path.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re right, most publishers don’t care anymore, so long as they can make money the book and author mean nothing to them. I was stolen from and screwed by three so I know that all too well.

      I’m sorry you got screwed over so much as well. That’s heart breaking for you. I hope you can find a way to reach a publisher that cares sometime soon.

      Thank you, for reading and commenting. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Write for yourself. If it pleases you, most likely it will find a readership. Publishing seems to be a landmine of heartbreak and disappointments. But don’t give up so easily and try developing a thick skin. I hope one day I will have your book in my hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The publishing world is saturated with unchecked criminals. Working in the drugs industry would be safer, at least you know everyone dangerous there.

      I’m out of options now. I wont be screwed a fourth time. I cant do it myself and so all I have is writing for fun on here sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that makes me smile.
        Its funny nobody seems to complain about my writing as short stories. As soon As I tried to do my novels people complained about everything. I did betas and I would have had to rewrite every word to please them. It was horrendous.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are an accomplished storyteller. Yours are interesting, engaging, compelling, and well-written tales. Do your thing, write what you want to write, and you’ll always have an appreciative audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry this happened to you, Mason. You are a very talented writer and a great storyteller. I really enjoy reading your short stories. 😊
    I hope someday in the future, your novel publishing dream is fulfilled.
    Till then, WP readers can enjoy the fruits of your creative labour. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for saying that, it means a lot. I’m glad you enjoy my stories, that’s makes me teary with joy after so much hate for them during my publication nightmare.
      Time will tell if I can publish. At the moment though I have no option to publish and no way forward so its doesn’t matter.


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