That was the entirety of a review of “Theo and Sprout” on GoodReads. “This is garbage.”
The good news is that someone I have never heard of read enough of my book to call it garbage. That’s a small exposure victory. Any publicity is good publicity.
To be fair, I have read books that I thought were pretty bad. But I’m a writer too and know how much works it takes regardless of how good or bad the writing is, so I probably wouldn’t call something garbage. I certainly wouldn’t shove it it a writer’s face. But that’s a different discussion.
The bad news is… well, I can’t think of any bad news since I laughed when I saw the review. I mean, how do you not laugh at “This is garbage.” And I know everyone isn’t going to like my book. Hell, I personally know people who don’t like “Theo and Sprout.” That’s OK.
The bonus good news is that I must have written a book that was powerful enough to elicit that response. If it was really boring and banal you would never call it garbage. You wouldn’t call it anything. You wouldn’t care. You would “Meh” it. So that’s success, isn’t it?
If I am being honest, I’ll admit the book is a bit weird. But it’s a weird, powerful book on a totally common experience: growing up. Maybe we don’t all grow up the same, but we all do grow up. And for many people, that was a struggle. Nothing weird about that.
Maybe the book is an empathy test. I hadn’t thought of that before. Can you relate to a struggle that wasn’t yours? Most of us can. That’s why we read books. To experience a world outside of our own. I suppose some times weird turns you off. That’s OK.
I was talking with a friend the other day about “Theo and Sprout.” He asked how it was going. I supposed that was a question on how well was it selling. I said it was OK, obviously not a best seller yet. I know the odds of a self-published book selling tons is low. I get that.
But in acknowledging that it wasn’t a best seller, I also added that my real goal in continuing to promote it was that I wanted the right person to read it, that right person whose life might change because of it. To learn that they aren’t alone. That is what will make it worth while, even if I never know. I’ll know I tried though, and if nothing that will make it not garbage.