When I made the decision to write and podcast “GalaxyBillies”, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into. Would people like the story? Would they hate it? Would I be able to pull it off at all?
But, since without risk there can be no reward, I decided to take a stab at it.
As we all do, I watched eagerly for any feedback I could get. And I watched… and then I watched some more. I eventually started to see some positive feedback trickle in and I was relieved when nothing bad was forthcoming.
So far, so good.
Unfortunately, the amount of feedback was almost zero which, to me, meant the story wasn’t really worth commenting on. And then, I saw my first 1-star rating of the story on iTunes.
Not the best start; the comment essentially said GalaxyBillies was a direct rip-off of Star Wars and a few other science fiction stories. That was a relatively easy comment to deal with. First, I laughed a little, because, there are nods to Star Wars in some of the episodes. The story is meant to be a comedy after all. I put some parody elements into it purposely. You may remember me mentioning in the past that I had Easter Eggs in every episode.
That told me the comment came from someone who was expecting a serious science fiction story and didn’t quite “Get” it. That I could live with.
The second comment was a 2-star one that said the characters fell flat after the first couple chapters. I won’t deny that I didn’t do as much development as I wanted. I won’t make any excuses either. So, I check that off to an astute reader. When I revise the story for the book version, I will spend some time fixing that problem. Thank you for the constructive criticism.
The comment I absolutely DON’T understand came last month on Podiobooks. Someone flamed the story, saying it was racist and disgusting. That comment hurt. A lot. Racism and prejudice are things I take very seriously, so being told I wrote a story that was blatantly racist bothered me.
It still does.
I have to keep reminding me that I didn’t write it to be racist. In fact, while the characters are caricatures of common stereotypes, I do write them with many redeeming qualities. And, by-the-way (spoiler alert here), they do save the day, so I can’t be trying too hard to make them out to be lower life forms.
Did I respond to any of the above negative feedback? No! I’ve seen too many instances where an author tried to respond and things ended badly. I’m not interested in going there. More to the point, in the last case especially, I don’t think the commenter even read the story. What good would responding to them do? They would not be convinced of my good intentions.
No, I thought about what was said, and dealt with it. I’m a big boy, so a little criticism, even unwarranted, won’t kill me. If anything, it helped to thicken my skin a little more for next time.