How to Deal with Criticism After Publishing Your Book

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No matter how you slice it, reading criticism of your beloved book is hard. Especially when it’s your first book, and a critique can feel like a personal assault on your child.

I get it. As I prepared to read the first public reviews of my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, I mentally put up my “wall.” I’ve been a journalist and professional writer for 12 years now, and I became an expert at letting naysayers be naysayers.

But reading criticism of my first novel as a published author—as a creative writer—was a whole different universe I wasn’t prepared for (even though I thought I was).

You will undoubtedly LOVE some of the reviews you receive. You’ll share them on social media, on your blog, in your newsletter, or in paid advertisements. However, others may feel unfair (or at least aspects of them may feel unfair). But everyone knows, as an author, it’s not your place to defend your work once it’s been published.

Judgement now becomes the public’s job.

So, how do you cope when you have to remain silent?

First of all, understand that by trying to argue with the critics, you’ll appear defensive and immature. People will think you’re thin-skinned or an unsuccessful writer who simply can’t take the heat.

In my opinion, the only time you should publicly criticize a critic, is if the critic attacks you PERSONALLY, attacks a loved one, or makes a statement that is false and slanderous (such as claiming you plagiarized your work, when you didn’t).

Here are the ways I dealt with silently swallowing some of the critiques I received:

  1. Realize the unfavorable or unfair review is just ONE PERSON’S opinion. And people are entitled to their own opinions, right? As writers, we thrive on freedom of speech and expression of ideas. It’s all part of the dialogue.
  2. The copyright of your work belongs to you, but the judgement of your book belongs to the readers. It’s the next stage in the creative process, and you have to understand that YOU DON’T OWN THIS. So let it go.
  3. You will probably receive far more positive reviews than negative reviews, so concentrate on the trends! I know this has been true for me with The Apollo Illusion. When I look at the big picture, I realize that overall, people liked my book far more than they disliked it.
  4. You cannot please everyone. What one person loves, another person will hate. Your reviews will reflect this, so try not to take them personally. What matters is that you stuck to YOUR vision when writing your book.
  5. It takes time to build the emotional barrier against critiques of your work. If you’re on your first or second book, be patient. With time comes experience, and with experience comes expertise. I know that I need to give myself more time to get better at “not caring” what others say about my creative work.

If all else fails, you can always decide to just not read the reviews of your book!

**As a writer or author who has dealt with critics, what would YOU add to this list? Comment below, and don’t forget to share!**

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Have You Seen these Dope Artists? They Designed My Rockin’ Book Cover

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One of the reasons I went indie with my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, was creative control—not just of my story, but of the cover art and presentation.

I had two artists in mind who I wanted working on my book’s look, because these guys are seriously awesome AF.

Cover Art: Rebecca Lopatin

Rebecca Lopatin_Darrel_charcoalYes, we have the same last name, because yes, Rebecca is my sister. But she’s also a professional, accomplished fine artist here in the blazing hot desert of Phoenix, Ariz. Like, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She studied art in Italy. F’ing ITALY.

You guys, she hand-painted my book’s cover art. Like, the classical way. Savage, right?

 

Rebecca has a garage full of oil paintings for sale that need some serious walls. Even if you’re not looking to buy, you gotta check out her work and give her a follow:

Cover Design: Ryan Quackenbush

Ryan is a sick digital artist and illustrator. I mean, this guy sells his own graphic novels at Phoenix Comic Fest (a.k.a. Phoenix Comicon). His stuff is dark and edgy and just AWESOME.

So naturally, I wanted that look and feel for my cover design, considering the genre of my book. He took Rebecca’s art and turned it into a badass book cover that seriously makes people gasp when they see it.

 

 

If you’re into the graphic novel scene (and even if you’re not), I’m telling you to head over to Ryan’s pages NOW and scan his stuff, or follow him:

 

How Babies and Tablets Inspired this Dystopian Novel

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Babies and tablets. The rise of propaganda. Rosh Hashanah dinner. These were a few of the factors that led to the inspiration behind my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion.

I love reading the story behind the story from favorite authors, like Margaret Atwood or Junot Diaz. So when Autumn of Fallen Over Book Reviews asked me to write a guest post on what inspired MY first book, I couldn’t resist. OK, I actually felt special. That’s allowed occasionally, right?

The Story Behind the Story
Everything began in September 2013, when I’d gone to my mom’s house with my boyfriend and sister for Rosh Hashanah dinner. In case that sounds like Elvish to you, Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, because our calendar goes by the moon (I know, we’re weirdly Twilight like that).

While munching on noodle pudding and roasted chicken, my mom started telling us about a news story regarding babies and tablets. Babies were learning the swiping motion of using tablets before they learned to talk.

Head over to Fallen Over Book Reviews to read the rest of the story! …

[REBLOG] Review: The Apollo Illusion by Shari Lopatin

Thank you to Lucinda for the 4-star review of my book, The Apollo Illusion! I’m very excited for it to launch this Saturday, May 19, 2018.

“Where nothing is ever what it seems”

Genre: Dystopian Suspense, Sci-fi, YA, Speculative fiction

Similar to: The Hunger Games.

Could be enjoyed by: Fans of YA, especially if you feel like you’re growing out of the genre a little.

Publication date: 19th May 2018

Disclaimer: I was approached by Shari to review her new book, The Apollo Illusion and although I usually turn requests like these down (“it’s about a spatula that turns into a person” – no thanks) I read through her biog and the blurb of the book and thought “actually…this sounds pretty good”. Then I read that Shari was nominated as Cat Mom of the Year so I said yes immediately. I just want to make it clear that even though I was directly approached by the author and I’ve had some correspondence with her, my views are entirely impartial, these are all my own words, obviously…

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What It Feels Like to Publish Your First Book

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My debut novel, The Apollo Illusionis releasing this Saturday, May 19, 2018. The Apollo Illusion is a YA dystopian suspense for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.

What does it feel like to publish your first novel? As a professional writer and journalist who’s dreamed of publishing a novel since she was a fetus, let me count the ways …

 

Like skydiving in your underwear. 

Like singing “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift while cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway with your best friend.

Like celebrating the Fourth of July all week long.

Like sticking it to the man (YEAH)!

Like tasting real butter after a lifetime of eating nothing but margarine.

Like the raunchy college party you’ll forget the next day, but wish you wouldn’t.

Like you’re the baddest mother-&*^% who’s ever written a story in the history of human existence.

Did I forget anything? 😉

 

Dystopia or Sci-Fi Fan? Pre-Order ‘The Apollo Illusion’

If you’re into dystopias, science fiction novels, or young adult books (YA) … if your blood curls into your toes at the thought of defying “the man,” or asking questions when they’re dangerous, then The Apollo Illusion might be for you.

My debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, is now available for pre-order for just $2.99! A story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world, The Apollo Illusion may increase in price after launch. So grab it now while you’re only splurging a couple of bucks on an “unknown author” and the book that piqued your curiosity.

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‘The Apollo Illusion’ Synopsis

The year is 2150, and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden.

When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.

  • Audience: young adults and millennials
  • Genres: dystopian suspense, science fiction, speculative fiction, YA
  • Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality and occasional language

Pre-order now on Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook), or Smashwords! (you know you want to …)

*Paperback will be available upon launch on May 19, 2018. Sign up for The Readers Club to get notified right away!

What I Learned Through this Crazy Publishing Process

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In December last year, I founded my own indie publishing company, BookBooks Publishing LLC. My first client? Myself. 🙂

Front cover_finalYes, I am launching my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, on May 19, 2018. In the future, I would love to create enough capital and (therefore) time to take on other authors who write fiction stories of social importance, while continuing to write more books of my own.

Right now, though? I am fighting for my life to navigate this new publishing learning curve! I never knew so many logistics were involved on the publishing side of creative writing.

So whether you’re a new self-published author who is looking for help in the beginning, or a writer working with an indie or large publishing house, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned on this publishing journey.

Lesson 1: Quality Work Isn’t Cheap, so Invest Wisely

I think it’s no secret that the world of self-publishing is growing exponentially. Therefore, it becomes harder for new authors to push through the “slush pile” and get discovered by readers.

The best way to stand out is by publishing a quality product. This means your work is clean, well-edited, well-structured, and the book is well-designed. I funded the launch of my book with my 9-to-5 salary, so I had to spend wisely. Here’s where I spent my money:

  • A team of two good, professional editors (one for structural edits, the other for copyedits)
  • Designers for the book cover, as well as internal formatting
  • Establishing an LLC for my publishing company
  • Taking out a P.O. box for my publishing company
  • ISBN purchases from Bowker
  • An accountant
  • A few Facebook boosted posts on my author page

As I begin making money from sales of my book, I may invest in some ads, but again, I will be selective.

Lesson 2: Be Realistic with Your Time

I work a full-time job. And I also have a life. Writing is part of that life, but it’s not everything. I have family, friends, a boyfriend, my cats, and my house. I have to take care of my health. I also love traveling.

I need to leave room for these things!

Therefore, when I set my launch date for my book, I gave myself more time rather than squeezing into a tight deadline. I can’t do everything at once, and I need to leave time to complete the essentials. I also need to realize that I’m not a full-time author and publisher, so I can’t compete with those who are. And that’s OK.

Here’s how I invested my time:

  • The 80/20 rule: I concentrate my efforts on the 20 percent of tactics that will produce 80 percent of the results
  • Developing my “branded messaging” as an author, and integrating it everywhere online
  • Establishing an e-mail list through MailChimp for potential future “fans”
  • Finding early reviewers to generate buzz upon launch, and leaving enough lead time to allow them to read my book
  • Setting up the logistics: filling out the Articles of Organization to establish my LLC, setting up a P.O. box, opening a business bank account, etc.
  • Research

Lesson 3: Research!

Before you jump full-force into self-publishing, I highly suggest you read this incredible guide from Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, “The Secrets to E-Book Publishing Success.” This free guide walks you through the business foundations of the publishing industry, and is beneficial to anyone who is new to this world (such as myself).

Spend some time learning about the publishing industry and studying cases of successful indie authors. Many of these authors have offered interviews or written articles on some of the steps they took to reach success.  Jane Friedman is another great resource to help in that arena.

Once you conduct some research, you can more successfully develop a marketing strategy that will utilize your time wisely.

Lesson 4: Logistics are just as Important as Marketing

That’s right! The backend business side of things is imperative if you don’t want the IRS to come calling, or you want readers to take you seriously.

I never realized how many logistics are involved in publishing a book. Here is a list of everything I had to organize before my book even went to early reviewers:

  • Purchase a package of ISBNs from Bowker
  • Fill out all the required information for those ISBNs, including publication date
  • Request and set up a P.O. box from the Post Office for my business
  • Establish the Articles of Organization for my LLC
  • Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • Open a business bank account tied to my LLC, and link this account to all sales pages for my book
  • Request a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) for my book, which is a two-step process that requires you to complete the ISBN process first
  • Copyright my book by submitting it to the Copyright office
  • Consult with an accountant
  • Bookkeeping
  • Coordinate with all editors and designers

This blog post is not meant to overwhelm anyone, but instead to merely showcase the degree of detail that goes into setting up a legitimate publishing company to legally separate yourself from your new business. I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned, and I hope it might help some of you get started if you’re considering this incredible journey!

 

 

Announcing my Debut Novel, ‘The Apollo Illusion’

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It’s official, and I’m crazy excited! In 2018, my debut novel, The Apollo Illusion, will hit the virtual bookshelves. A stimulating dystopian suspense for young adults and millennials, The Apollo Illusion is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.

Want an Advanced Reader Copy?

I’m currently looking for early readers willing to post a review on Amazon, Nook, Apple, and/or Smashwords in exchange for a FREE advanced copy. Interested? I want to hear from you! Email me at shari.lopatin@gmail.com with your full name, email address, and whether you prefer Kindle, Nook, PDF, or print (if print, please include your mailing address).

What is The Apollo Illusion About?

The year is 2150, and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden.

When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.

Don’t Miss Launch! Join ‘The Readers Club’

Over the coming months, I’ll be releasing more details about The Apollo Illusion as we approach the launch, including sneak peeks and offering giveaways. Don’t miss out! Join “The Readers Club” email list and stay in-the-know.