That’s a saying that can be used for a lot of things, and the publishing world is one of them.
J.K. Rowling got rejected. There are people who dislike Stephen King’s books. There are readers that despise The Hunger Games. This is part of the process. I’ve used this comparison before, and I’ll use it again: Do you condemn your friend because they like a certain type of food and you don’t? No. Because you understand that we all like different things.
I cooked for ten years and it still crushes me when someone doesn’t like something I make. How can you not like Matty’s Chicken Cheese Fingers? They’re unique, a combination of two things almost everyone loves, and delicious! It hurts that I can spend hours preparing a meal and someone won’t eat it, but, that’s the way things go. It’s subjective. It doesn’t mean I’m a horrible person who has no talent as a chef, it means that specific creation doesn’t appeal to a certain type of consumer. Do I argue with them? No, that’s a waste of my creative and culinary talent. I just carry on and the ones who enjoyed my creation continue to enjoy it.
Writing books is the same way. If you put yourself out there, someone will try to tear you down because of the success they feel you’ve achieved. Other people will hate your work for one reason or another and they’ll let the world know on their blog, or in a review. And others will absolutely love it. The latter is the people you’re doing this for.
If you’re going to submit a query letter, or click publish, get used to that idea right now. If you can’t, don’t proceed. It is completely unavoidable. If you can’t take your work being criticized and continue forward momentum, this is the wrong game for you. Instead, keep writing stories you love just for you and your friends, and don’t share them with the world. If you put it out there, people will love it, and people will hate it. No website, no petition, and no pleads of “please be polite” are going to change that.
I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just reality. There is nothing in this world that everyone loves. Nothing. I personally hated The Hangover. I didn’t find it funny at all. Am I idiot? No. Is everyone else who liked it morons? No. It just didn’t appeal to me, so instead of watching the sequel, I’ll try something else that might work for me personally.
If someone hates your work, it doesn’t devalue you as a person. It’s just not their cup of tea. There are people out there that can’t wait for your next series, book, or short story, and besides yourself, that’s who you should be doing it for.
Write for them, write for you, and move forward. If you can’t, you’re wasting your talent, energy, and most importantly, your time. Your time is valuable, if not to anyone else, than to yourself. You don’t get a lot of it in this life, so don’t throw it away. Spend it on things your truly enjoy, like writing and reading great books. Oh, and puppies, because puppies are always worth your time. And I guess if you like cats, they’re okay too.