learning to love my first two star review
Part of the process of writing a book means lots of talking about writing the book. Conversations are a lot more interesting now because anything can be connected to the joy of being published. Some people ask if it’s changed how I knit. (Not really.) Some ask if it changed how I feel about publishing. (Yes, I have more respect and sympathy for editors than ever before, even with knowing Minty!) To date no one has asked the big one, “How much has your morning routine changed?” (Lots, there’s much more more anxiety – thanks for asking!)
Instead of “morning coffee, email and scan the interwebs” it’s “morning coffee, email, hunt for any mention of Knitting It Old School THEN scan the interwebs.” It’s my first book so pardon my enthusiasm, but I can’t help but be obsessive about what the interwebs are saying about it.
I hit Ravelry to see if anybody else had started a project from the book and noticed, “Buy from Amazon, 5 reviews.” 5? There’d only been 4 reviews the day before! I clicked, waited the longest second and a half in history and pulled up the review. 6 sentences later I was crushed. I had my first 2 star book review. One line jumped out at me “… the designs and colors are just too far out there.”
My first reaction was that I was going to need more coffee.
My second reaction was to get upset. How could someone not love the book? Don’t they get it? Don’t they see the cheek and the humour and the nod to our predecessors? Didn’t they read the chapter intros? (We are funny people!)
My third reaction was to get the cat off the desk so I could keep reading. (Love you Indy!)
My fourth reaction was to think hard and realize, no, not everyone is going to get it. That’s why we did the book in the first place.
Stitchy and I created Knitting It Old School to specifically be different. Different from what we’d read growing up, different from what we saw on the bookshelves and different enough that we’d love doing it. We pushed youthful, fun ideas on each other and were rewarded with designs from our contributors that were candy coloured, mod, poppy and cheeky. Our goal was to take retro styling elements from vintage pattern photographs and incorporate their old-fashioned silliness in a modern book. Peter pan collars? High waists? Turned hems instead of ribbing! Puffed sleeves! If we had thought to put down a mission statement it would have been, “Clothes our mothers would have worn when they were young, not clothes our mothers are wearing now.”
At BlogHer this year Lizz Winstead said, “A car in the middle of the road causes accidents. Pick the left or the right.” The Husband likes to use the phrase, “The goal of cafeteria food isn’t to make the most people HAPPY, it’s to make the fewest people UNHAPPY.” I think the truth is somewhere between the car and the cafeteria. Probably closer to the cafeteria.
Project Runway designers are always chastised to be more youthful, less matronly and we deliberately chose to work with designers for this book who design with that same thought in mind. So if Knitting It Old School is described as too colourful and youthful, then I know we accomplished exactly what we set out to accomplish. We wrote the book to be a good read, have great looking projects and maybe push a few buttons.
So now I have my the first 2 star review and I love it. It’s validation that Stitchy and I made the book we wanted and I couldn’t be happier.