Monday, March 12, 2012

Liking Goat Cheese (and Other Strongly Flavored Things)

I'm just going to admit it. Why lie? I read all the Amazon reviews of my books. 
Yeah, I know we're not supposed to care what others think about our work, that we're supposed to create without reference to the whims and tastes of others, that we should have broad shoulders and big girl panties and all of that.

Whatever. I read 'em anyhow.

Sometimes the things readers write about my book aren't happy-making for me. But if our books are like our babies, it is probably best to think of publishing them as an act of giving up our "baby" in some form of closed adoption. We don't get to keep our baby and give it away at the same time, you know? A fortunate parent might just be able to sneak glimpses, though, and I suppose that is (in part) why I read my reviews. It's a way of observing our "child" out on the playground: "Oh, look! She made a friend!"

Of course, more happens on the playground than just making friends . . .

And that is where I find it helpful to remember goat cheese. Now, my sister is one of the biggest fans of goat cheese you could ever hope to meet. She likes it all. Fetas, chevres, cheddars, you name it. She would like to have dairy goats so that she could make her own goat cheese.

And then there's me.

She orders this gorgeous looking salad and I think to myself, "How yummy does that look?" and I try a bite. Ew! Yuck! Cup of water, like, yesterday!! You see, I do not like goat cheese. I don't like feta on my salads. Don't care for chevre on my bagel. Maybe, just maybe, if you cover up the odor taste of a very fresh, very mild chevre with some cumin and lots of garlic, I can just about handle it. With a nice, full-bodied red to wash the taste away. Because here's the thing: not everyone likes goat cheese.

So what does this have to do with me reading reviews? Well, one time I got a rather sad-making review of my book. The reader didn't enjoy it, didn't get it. And told everyone on the interwebs. I threw a pity party but made the mistake of inviting my sister. She wasn't having any of it. "Hey," she said, "It's just like you and goat cheese." I stared at my sister, who is very intelligent and not particularly given to spouting random non-sequitors. She rolled her eyes and explained for me. "Not everyone likes goat cheese. And not everyone who reads your novel will like it. So get over it already."

Now, when I read my reviews, I simply remind myself that not everyone likes goat cheese and that sometimes it is good to have a reminder for not-goat-cheese eaters that "this product is known by the state of California to contain goat cheese." Or, um, "this book contains the following things I didn't like, in case you don't like them either."

And for those of you who have popped over to Amazon to tell others how much you loved Rippler or Chameleon or Unfurl, thank you so very, very much. Your words make me cry at times as I look out over the "playground" and see my children making friends.

Okay. Quick completely unscientific survey: How many stars would you, personally, give to goat cheese on a scale of 1-5? Post in comments for a chance to win a gifted e-copy of one of my books (your choice of title).


  1. Great analogy and great attitude :)

    I LOVE goat cheese, especially goat cheese and beetroot salad nomnomnomnom :)On a scale, I'd give it 5!

  2. I'll be honest and say, I don't know your babies, but I like your blog so I follow it. And you could teach some authors a thing or two.

    And sorry, but I'm with Janice, I love goat cheese. I give it a 5, too!


  3. Awesome, Janice and Heather! You are my winners for this giveaway!

    Keep nom-noming the goat cheese for me. Maybe someday I will acquire the taste! *le sigh*