First thing’s first

On Monday, someone gave Episodes 1-4 of Twenty-Somewhere a 1-star review on Amazon. While I can respect that person’s opinion, I have to admit, it bums me out that her comments are the only ones prospective readers will see when they are deciding whether or not to check out 20SW for themselves. Especially since I know people like it. (People including the Major Publisher who wants me to turn it into a novel!)


Well, hopefully people who like the episodes will now be inspired to leave positive ratings & reviews, in order to counteract the negativity. (“People” could be you! But only if you want to, of course.)

I think I took it pretty well — no tears or anything. I simply left a respectful thank you (in part hoping to earn brownie points with prospective readers) and then went on with my night.


I’ll be honest, getting back into the swing of things has been hard. All the momentum from my daily quota days (how far away those seem!) is long gone. The two weeks of brainstorming that I allotted myself has become two months. The proposal for the Major Publisher is still not done. And I’m tempted to beat myself up about it, but I know that energy would be better spent just working on the darn thing.

(And by “darn thing,” I mean “incredible, amazing, wonderful opportunity that I am immensely grateful, and completely willing to work my butt off, for!”)

(No, seriously.)

The silver lining is that while in Colorado for our friends’ wedding, Andy and I visited the cliff dwellings in Manitou Springs, which offered me some inspiration for the WIP I put on hold. Then upon returning home, I also (randomly) realized exactly how to resolve one of the storylines in my first novel The Good Daughters. So when I get back to those manuscripts (which I will, in time) I’ll be in great shape.

That’s another thing I feel extremely thankful for: already I have a career’s worth of ideas. I have at least half a dozen books (of the “New Adult” and Young Adult variety) in my head, begging to be written. The genres range from contemporary to fantasy to romantic to dystopian. And many of them have sequel or series potential. If I can come up with all that in just a year’s time, I’m not too concerned about being able to sustain “inspiration” over the course of my career.

But, one book at a time, Kristan. First thing’s first. And as we all know, the first thing for me is this Twenty-Somewhere proposal — 1-star reviews be damned!

21 responses to “First thing’s first”

  1. Natalie Whipple Avatar

    Ugh, that’s gotta be hard. I’ve already pretty much decided not to read reviews. I’m willing to admit I’m too sensitive.

    But you can do it. And that whole “opinions vary greatly” thing is actually true.

  2. S0BeUrself Avatar

    There will always be haters, that’s why I wear hater-blockers (sunglasses). For the sake of eloquence, I’ll quote Roosevelt:

    “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

  3. Jill Wheeler Avatar

    Like Natalie, I think I’ll avoid reviews. Just remember, it’s one opinion. And you already know people like it!

    And yay for many WIP ideas!

  4. Pseudo Avatar

    Pft to the one star reviewer. I enjoy the episodes and I am a 50 something. Ack.

    I’ve been getting myself creatively ready to continue the writing project that was preempted by unbloggable months. some interesting side steps that I feel wil lead me in the right direction….

  5. Sonja Avatar

    It is exciting to have lots of ideas. I also find it a bit overwhelming. I’m afraid that if I don’t strike while the iron is hot, I’ll lose “it,” that magical thing that gives the story life inside me. Right now, I have three ideas in my mind. The first I will work on is a non-fiction project about my grandmother. But then I still have this kids story idea AND I’ve recently been thinking about a sequel to the novel I just finished writing.

    BUT! I do worry about having enough ideas and energy to be… successful, maybe? You sent me a link to an article written by Sally MacKenzie where she writes,

    “How fast can you write and still produce quality work and maintain some kind of sane, non-writing life? Some writers can write multiple books in a year; some can write multiple books only by risking serious mental and physical health issues. Sometimes you might have to turn down an offer; however, if you can only manage a book every two years, you might not have a future in commercial fiction.”

    I suspect that I can only manage a book every two years, IF THAT. I also find myself surprised by this comment on her part, as I know of very few writers, producing novels that I like, which put out a new book every year.

    But what do I know?


  6. Sarah Avatar

    20SW is one story of a zillion in your head (obviously, I never exaggerate), so I’d have to say that this story does not define you (but, you already know this). Taste is subjective (heck, you know this too!) and the real reviews that matter are those of your followers…who feel a connection to your unique voice and talent, which is why I’m hanging with Hoffman.

  7. Kristan Avatar

    Natalie and Jill-
    I don’t think I have the willpower to avoid reviews! I do think I take criticism surprisingly well though (UNLESS it’s coming from my mother, father, or Andy — then I break down like a bawling baby) so I’m not overly concerned… Only a little bit… o_O

    Thanks for the votes of confidence!

    Such a great quote! :)

    Yay, I’m so glad to hear that! (Both things you said, actually. Hehehe.)

    A) YOU ROCK.
    B) I find it overwhelming sometimes too. But then again, that’s how I know which ideas are really great and I’m willing to work on — and which are not. Because if they stick around long enough, if they don’t fade or fizzle, then I know it’s safe to invest my time, energy, and heart into them.
    C) I agree: a book every 2 years is considered pretty successful! I think her metrics are a little off… (although the spirit of what she’s saying is valid).

    Obviously never. :P

    “Hanging with Hoffman.” Can that be my new official slogan? ;)

  8. Hannah Katy Avatar

    Ok… Will you please do me a favor? Will you print out that 1 star review and keep it somewhere for safe keeping. I want you to be able to take it out, look at it, and laugh your head off when you prove that person wrong!


    Hannah Katy

  9. Trisha Avatar

    It is like bringing home a report card with a bunch of As and one C. What do you focus on? What should you focus on?

  10. Kristan Avatar

    Hannah Katy-
    HAHAHA good idea!! Will do. :D

    Yes, exactly!! (Except I got spanked the 1 time I got a C… Thank goodness I’m not in grade school anymore.)

  11. Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist Avatar

    Working always makes me feel better. So if you can get some work done this week, I know it will do wonders for your emotional state. Happy writing!

  12. Kristan Avatar

    Very good advice. Actually the bad review also motivates me to work hard and prove her wrong. :)

  13. Les Avatar

    Yeah, that’s sucky, but everyone is going to have an opinion no matter what… it’s a part of life. Being able to take criticism graciously is impressive!

  14. S0BeUrself Avatar


    I think you’ll find Seth Godin’s latest post especially insightful:

  15. Kristan Avatar

    LOL I JUST saw that this morning!!

  16. elissa janine Avatar

    ew, one star reviews. I always think I could manage to be the person who doesn’t read reviews, but I think I’m too…curious for that. maybe narcissistic? but really, one star? I haven’t read 20SW, but I still glare daggers at the reviewer.

  17. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, girl! Yeah, I’m too curious too. Fortunately I’m thick-skinned enough, and self-confident enough, that this doesn’t bother me as a criticism, but just as an effect on 20SW’s reputation.

  18. GingerMandy Avatar

    The good thing is that you are strong and confident enough to use it for positive ways rather than dwell on it and drive yourself insane thinking of how someone didn’t like your writing. I just read a book about creativity and one of the author’s main points was that the minute you worry about pleasing everyone and getting upset over the people who don’t like your work is the minute your work becomes inauthentic and loses the part of it that is “you.”

    Like you said, there are loads of people who love your work and a major publisher wants it (SQUEEE!!!) so it really can’t get much better than that!

  19. Kristan Avatar

    Your wisdom is… wise. And bountiful. :)

  20. Jon Avatar

    Agreed with S0BeUrself…If you just gave up, you’d enter the twilight zone, not the TV show, but the normal, boring one of everyday non-writerly lives, and that’s never a good place to be!

  21. Meghan Ward Avatar

    I’m sorry about the review, but happy that someone else wrote a positive review. That’s GREAT that you have so many ideas. And revision is hard. I’m in the same boat. I get inspired and work hard for a few weeks and then I lose momentum and slog along getting little done for a few weeks. It’s frustrating, but the important thing is that you’re still writing! Hang in there!