I am going to share an interesting incident that happened with me last week. I was in deep dilemma of whether it should be shared or not, but finally, decided to share with you all a different side of the story of being an author. Being successful & recognised with two books looks amazing, but sometimes it has a grey side.
Last week, a teenage girl (college student) Miss XYZ contacted me on social media and wanted to share with me her reading experience and review of my latest book ‘And We Walked Away’. Being a new author, if any unknown reader puts an effort to contact me to share the review, it always excites me. I decided to respond to her immediately with excitement and lots of hope to receive some feedback.
To my surprise, she was absolutely upset and angry with me after reading my book. She started scolding and literally screamed at me. I decided to gather some review comments from her to analyse her point of view (to be honest, I was not very happy with her behaviour).
She highlighted a few points about my book (which I cannot directly mention here, as they are related to climax and suspense of the story), but I will try to share as much as possible.
Firstly, she feels that the way the protagonist (Abhimanyu) was helping her girlfriend (Naina) in college sent a wrong message to the college-going generation and our society.
Secondly, After Reading the climax of the story, she was forced to stereotype boys and girls in a certain way, which she is able to very well relate with her life and most importantly, she was upset with me, feeling that how somebody can think of such a love story. Does it exist? Perhaps, She didn’t realise that love exists for thousands of years and it existed before the time of social media (as the story is plotted in the early 2000s).
I tried to make her understand that every fiction story has lots of drama, which is necessary to keep the story moving but she was not convinced.
At last, she told me that she would pray that I quit writing, and that I should never come up with any other new book. This brought tears to my eyes. I could not sleep properly that night. I treat my both books as my babies apart from my one year old daughter.
My dear Miss XYZ, I don’t know if this post will ever reach to you or not, but please consider my sincere apology that you felt disappointed and upset after reading ‘And We Walked Away’.
I am absolutely okay if you didn’t like the plot, character, climax, suspense or whatever. You are a reader and you have every right to criticise my book because you have paid for my book and you have invested few hours to read it. However, being a storyteller I have a different view about your perspective. I see it as success and honour, when an unknown person sitting almost 2500 kms from me puts an effort to find my details to contact me to share their views about my book (either good or bad). I take it as a moment of pride. Secondly, I am now convinced that my book has definitely touched some chord with you, and you related it to your real-life incidents. That’s why you are able to relate with it so much, even though you know that it’s fiction. I take it as a moment of success for myself.
At last, feel free to criticise the book of any author but never ever curse them. You don’t know how much effort it takes to pen down a story, get it published, release it in the market and make it to a bestseller. I take it in a positive note on behalf of my thousands of readers and well-wishers that whenever I will come up with my next book, I will pray that you should get a chance to read and hopefully, I will be able to change your opinion about my book. I will come out stronger.