Thursday, January 26, 2017

The One Review You Need to Make it {Guest Post with Author Crystal Walton}

Hi! It's Laurie :) I just met a new-to-me author and couldn't wait to introduce her to you. (I've apparently been living under a rock.) Anyway, I absolutely love what she has for us today. Take it away, Crystal! 

"If you live for people's acceptance, you'll die by their rejection."

Ahem, excuse me while I go dig that arrow out of my chest. :)

That stings, doesn't it? We naturally desire acceptance. It's one of those built-in battles we all wrestle. And in case the vice isn't challenging enough on its own, the publishing industry steps it up ten notches by constantly measuring an author's value in neat, quantifiable metrics. Rankings, sales graphs, a convenient list of endless rejections from Bookbub, the number of hurtful reviews in the “place that must not be named” (*cough* Goodreads) ;) The list goes on and on.

Man, I know the pain of this struggle. When a careless comment in a review broke my spirit recently, my husband rested a tender hand on my arm, and in an equally gentle voice whispered, "You're remarkable to me."

I wanted so much to cling to his words and separate my identity from my work. But it’s hard, isn’t it? Our work is a part of us. And when we're thrust into a world where success hinges upon others' opinions, it's easy to end up staking our worth in those mass opinions and metrics (or lack thereof).

Which One Do I Listen to?

Before I dove into publishing, I remember reading an open letter to aspiring writers about things we should expect to encounter in the business. The author candidly warned that positive reviews will bolster our confidence but only for about a day. Negative reviews, on the other hand, will crush our spirits and be remembered forever. Ouch.

Lysa TerKeurst once shared about crying in a parking lot while scrolling through a website where readers debated her like she was a product on a shelf instead of a person with feelings. But while the criticism and rejection pierced deeply, she clung to the truth of her identity.

At a conference, she brought a stack of reviews to the platform and read them off, one by one. The first was a glowing remark about how amazing her work was and how profoundly it'd touched the reader's life. The next was a slam to Lysa's writing skills and a harsh critique of her theology. Back and forth, on and on it went. After several, she held them up and asked the audience, "Which one do I listen to?" The answer? Neither.

Ooh, that’s hard. But here’s the thing. Despite how much value the system places on reviews and outward accolades, the bottom line is this. There's only one review worth listening to. Ready for it?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. By design. On purpose. With gifts to share and a voice that matters. Your value does not increase or diminish based on reviews or publishing metrics. You are loved unconditionally and irrevocably by a Father who puts His arm around you when no one else does and whispers, "You're remarkable to me."

When we ground our identity in that truth, the winds of rejection don’t relent. Doubts still thunder. Comparisons still taunt. But through it all, we continue to stand, anchored. Not in a quest of seeking affirmation, but in a journey of learning to abide in our calling.


Author Bio: Crystal received her bachelor of arts from Messiah College in PA, married her exact opposite in upstate NY, and earned her master of arts from Regent University in VA, where she currently resides with her husband, David. Crystal writes contemporary clean romance fueled by Starbucks’ venti green teas. She’d love to connect with you at and Facebook.

Connect with Crystal:

Free Book: 

Check out her upcoming release: Begin Again:


Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting me, Laurie! :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Thankful for a sneak peek of BEGIN AGAIN! It's fantastic! Already a fan :) Thanks so much for coming on the Alley and sharing this important message with our readers!

Angie Dicken said...

This is such a great post! Thanks for visiting today, Crystal! The biggest thing I am fearful of as a debut author, are the reviews! I will be reading this over and over in the next year!

Krista Phillips said...

Such a great post!!! Thank you!!! Reviews are tough. I really try to remember that not everyone is my audience. Not everyone will like my books. And ya know? I'm not perfect. Maybe they are right. Maybe the ending WAS flat. But my identity isn't found in my books, but in Jesus. he is the only one who can claim perfection!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for having me, ladies. This is one of those reminders I have to revisit OFTEN. ;) I'm making it a goal this year not to read reviews. We'll see if I can make it. lol

Heather Tabata said...

I really needed this post today. I'm just starting my journey as a writer, or at least as a writer trying to have my work published. It's so easy to let the self-doubt become overwhelming, even with constructive criticism. Thank you for encouraging me to keep my focus where it should be.