There I was, sitting in a writers’ critique group led by a famous author, when a woman burst into tears. The reason? Every time someone had offered suggestions on her manuscript, she rewrote her story. But many suggestions contradicted each other.
“I can’t make everybody happy,” she sobbed.
Truer words were never spoken.
That woman wasn’t yet published and faced frustration in trying to please every reader. But that’s not possible. Amazon reviews for The Methuselah Project, my third published novel, provide amusing evidence that it’s impossible to please every type of person.
To illustrate this point, here are excerpts from reviewers (I don’t know them) who left Amazon comments on The Methuselah Project:
How was the writing style?
“I did have a bit of trouble with the writing style, especially in the beginning.” (By Ashley)
“Great book! I really enjoyed this story and the writing style. The progression of the story and characters was interesting. Hope to see a sequel soon.” (By grams)
Was this novel the right length?
“Really good read but a bit overly long” (By Janine)
“I really wanted it to be longer….” (By Marali)
How was the story’s pace?
“It took me a bit to get into the story.” (By Rebecca)
“This exciting book is fast paced, intriguing and a page turner! I would highly recommend this book to any one!” (By Jennifer)
Could you figure out the ending?
“Entertaining, fast moving, but predictable novel.” (By Jude)
“This book was so unique and I loved it even more because of that fact. Books tend to follow the same type of patterns so I can usually figure out what is going to happen before the books end and because this book was so different from anything I have read before I didn’t figure it out until it was ending.” (By Margaret)
Did it capture your imagination?
“It held my attention and then it fell flat in other parts.” (By Andrea)
“One of my all time favorite books!!!!! Couldn’t put it down. Finished it in two days. If you like WWII Historical fiction look no further. Strap into your seat in the cockpit and prepare for a wild ride!” (By Rosevine Cottage Girls)
Was the story memorable?
“I found The Methuselah Project to just be an ok read. I didn’t hate it, but I closed the covers thinking it could have been better. I am definitely in the minority with my opinion — it has great reviews on Goodreads.” (By B. Burnham)
“This is one of the most awesome books I’ve read in a while. Surprising. Suspenseful. Believable. Reminds me of the movie with Mel Gibson ‘Forever Young.’ I wanted it to be a series.” (By Del)
I hope you’re smiling at these contradictions, all by anonymous readers, who gave their unbiased opinions on my story.
The bottom line: No, you can’t please everyone in life. Listen to suggestions, sure, but weigh the advice. Act on what’s good; ignore what’s bad. Try to please God, and of course be true to yourself!