I have been blessed by having friends with very differing tastes in books. Some of them love romance novels and some don’t. I’ve had friends with both outlooks beta-read my works, and all their feedback has been helpful on my path.
The ones who read romance have a wealth of knowledge about the genre. The ones who don’t give me useful insight into writing style and world building–and honestly have helped to toughen my skin. Their feedback has taught me to divorce myself from what others think of the work and what I think of it, to be okay with not everyone liking what I write (I hope hope hope that shielding stands up to my first public reviews!).
As writers, we’re putting ourselves out there. Our works are going to be judged, discussed, liked and disliked. Even negative reviews can hold insight into how to improve my writing–and help me understand which readers are the best match for my works. At the least, any review shows that someone read the work and felt strongly enough about it to take the time to post a review!
I am very well acquainted with how often things change when involved in creative pursuits. After Wandering Soul is published, I’m going to re-read this blog post. And probably laugh. A lot.
I’ll let you know how it goes!