… they think it tastes like the worst thing they’ve ever put in their mouth.
Consider this for a moment. How many time have you read a book and not been able to finish it because it is so rotten? Quite a few I would imagine.
How many times have you put a book down and not gone back to it? Again, quite a few.
Why is this?
What is it about a book that can turn a normal person into someone who can be irrational and incredibly vitriolic towards the book and also the author?
I suppose it’s all down to personal taste, but what variance!
I think that it has a lot to do with the feel a person gets with a book. There may be obvious things such as language or stuttering incomprehensible text but by and large I think the reason we like or dislike a book is far more subtle and harder to define.
Just like food and our taste.
Some like sweet, some savoury. Some spicy and hot, others cooler and conventional. All of these things are instant on our pallet. Maybe it is the same with writing. The reader gets an instant “like” or “dislike” for what they read and it is both a natural response and yet irrational at the same time.
I think it needs to be said here that there can be world of difference between a good book and a best seller. Some books that sell extraordinarily well aren’t actually very well written books. They have just caught a topic, “the moment” or have very good marketing support. A lot of good books go by the wayside and hardly sell, so we shouldn’t always confuse sales for quality.
Many times it is the case that a good book sells well and vice versa, a poor book will hardly see the light of day.
But, as I said at the very beginning of this post, when someone doesn’t like your book, they don’t like it full stop. Just like your gran’s favourite pie that to you tastes like soggy wet sawdust, we’re all deeply personal about what books we like and dislike.
That does not mean that a bad review or bad comment doesn’t hurt, it does, trust me it does. But we must be stoic and remind ourselves that not everyone likes sprouts no matter what you do to them.