It’s a simple yet painful truth. Your book isn’t for everyone. And that’s okay. You’re not pizza. You can’t please everyone.
If you’ve decided to give the traditional publishing route a go, like I have, you’ll have gotten some rejections. Going through my submission list I’ve reviewed it and found myself asking “Whyyyyy did you do thaaaat?” I’ll admit it. Sometimes I pitch my works to the wrong market. Like, why would I submit War and Chess to a publisher whose niche is horror? (Because I was 15 years old and still learning, thankyaverymuch!). Now, more commonly I’ll pitch my vividly raw poetry to a press or magazine that likes poetry with a lot of allusion. Then, of course I get the polite “This is good but not what we’re looking for.” bit.
Now the really painful part for me is when it’s published. Not all of my friends read fantasy. Most just don’t! But I have some amazing people in my life and they always try to be supportive of me and my dreams. Although I love honesty it stings a little when I hear “I’m sorry Helen, it just wasn’t for me.” And that’s still okay! It’s important to have a diverse group of friends with different interests.
And truth be told, having a diverse group of friends I don’t like every book they’re into! “Oh Helen! You simply must read this romance novel!” I can’t help but wrinkle my nose… Romance isn’t inherently a bad genre. It’s just that Princess Bride is the only “kissing book” I’ll fess up to enjoying. That, and maybe Racheal Leone Gibson’s Highland Peace. I’m patiently waiting for her second book.
So, the moral of the story is you can’t please everyone. You don’t write for everyone. Truthfully, I write for myself and then I edit for my audience. Not every review is going to be a five star review. (Not every review should be a five star review. I get suspicious of books with five five star reviews because it usually means the author begged their friends and family for dishonest ratings). Not every publishing house will like your book, not every friend will like your book, not every reader will like your book! And that’s exactly how it should be.
Edit: My friend Olivia Adams is the one who coined the term "Your book isn't for everyone." She gave me some good advice when I was having a rough day.