Ill advised as it may be, I Google myself. Particularly after the release of a new book. I wait a month or two to give readers time to digest it, and then I Google the title to see what they thought. There are always mixed reviews. I expect that because I am not a perfect writer, though I am trying with all that I am to be that perfect writer. I have my good moments and my bad ones. I shoot for the moon with every novel and so sometimes it results in glorious errors, spectacular abominations.
I love my artistic failures as much as my triumphs and, for the most part, my readers do to. Because they get what I am trying to do. They respect that I am not just playing it safe and imitating my own work over and over again. They see the labor pains, the growing pains, and they appreciate that it was all done for them. They dig the fact that I am trying to push my own boundaries, trying to make each book something different than anything they can read from any other author. They appreciate that they have read something unique and unusual even if it was not entirely perfect and they see the progress and want to come along for the ride so they can say, "I knew him when..." They keep reading because they know that every so often I nail that shit. I knock it right tha fuck out of the ballpark!
So, I accept and respect critical reviews, even the most harsh and seemingly mean-spirited ones. What bothers me is when the reviews come down to, "There was just so much sex." Not, "He used the same word ten times to describe the villain". Not, "His female characters acted like idiots, the Asian characters were stereotypes, the women all had huge breast and the men all had enormous penises and he can't put a comma in the right place to save his life!" I can accept those criticisms. What I hate are criticisms like "There was too much sex and gore for my liking." Did you read the name on the cover? What did you think you were buying?
I like reviews, even bad ones. I learn from them. Critics are my literary professors and not just the professional critics. I read the reviews of my work on Amazon, Goodreads, and even Library Thing. I read the reviews on blogs and messageboards and take it all seriously. If I screw something up in one book and a fan calls me on it, even if he is the only one with that objection, if it is legitimate, I make sure to correct it in the next book. By rereleasing books through Deadite Books, I am even able to correct mistakes from the original printing when it is rereleased. I don't go on messageboards and argue with readers about how they are wrong to dislike my book and I am some unheralded, unrecognized literary genius. I write for them. So when they speak, I listen. I want to give my fans the best product, the best reading experience, something that speaks to them and elevates them ,something transcendental and I want them to love me. There. I said it. I want my readers to love me. But what do I do when readers hate everything about what I do? What can I say but, "Stop buying my fucking books if you don't like what I write!"
As a writer, I hate saying that. I want people to read what I write. But there comes a point where I have to ask why someone keeps reading my work if they don't like it. Is there some masochism involved? If you don't like sex and gore and perversity then don't pick up a Wrath James White book. If you don't want to hear criticisms about race and religion and society, don't read my shit. If you want an optimistic portrayal of the human condition, seriously, DO NOT PICK UP MY BOOK. So, here is a list of upcoming titles that those with more delicate sensibilities should selectively avoid.
LIKE PORNO FOR PSYCHOS. Coming in September from Deadite Books. (The title should tell you all you need to know.)
PURE HATE. Coming in September from Ambrotos Press. (Sadistic serial killer murders a man's entire family. You won't like this one either.)
SACRIFICE. Coming in September from Sinister Grin Press. (Sex, lesbianism, voodoo, animal attacks. Probably not your thing.)
SKINZZ. coming this winter from Thunderstorm Books. (Racist skinheads burn a woman alive, beat a girl into a coma, stab a man dressed like Michael Jackson, and commit all manner of other atrocities. Lots of street fights, loud music and profanity. Yeah, you should probably skip this one too.)
I may have one for you though...
THE REAPER. Coming this winter from Bloodletting Books. (A UAV pilot with post traumatic stress disorder struggles to adapt to daily life after watching US soldiers die, Afghan soldiers blown to smithereens, men, women and children caught in the crossfire. Actually, some of the war scenes are pretty brutal. Maybe avoid this one too. Just to be on the safe side.)