I recently fell head over heels into fan-mode with a television drama (Once Upon A Time if you must know, and yes, I’m happy to chat about it). As such, I ventured into hashtag fan territory on twitter, as an observer, and walked away realizing how valuable an experience this was for me as a writer.
The very first thing I realized? You can’t please everybody. For every person who loves an episode, character, or plot arc, someone else does not. Nothing quite shows this like a trip down hashtag fandom lane. One tweet loves what the next tweet doesn’t and there are quite a few that, frankly, I’m not sure why they continue to be involved in the first place!
The second thing? Fans take their fandom in a deathly serious grip. Fans have invested in the characters, which makes it even harder to please everyone when a particular story idea might not mesh with what someone had envisioned for a character.
A third is the very strong and very real alternative universe that lives separately from the work of fiction and is a living and breathing being. Pretty cool, honestly, how creative works can and do take on a life of their own.
Writers talk a lot about not reading reviews (spoiler, most of us do)—hashtag fandom land shows exactly why. For every compliment there is a criticism, and some of those critics are harsh. For me it put things into perspective and really drove home a point I’ve already mentioned: you can’t please everyone.
The next time you worry about a review, or how your book will be received, visit a fandom you enjoy and read. And read. And read. It’s reason enough to step away from reviews entirely. But more importantly, it puts those reviews into perspective.
Not everyone will love your book. And that’s okay. In fact, in many ways, it means you’ve made it if someone hates it. Keep in mind, humans are a wide and vast people. We don’t all agree and we like different things.
Oh, and some us just like to complain.