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I was promoting my first novel at a book show a few years back when I received the greatest compliment…

When my novel launched I created a series of colorful masks showcasing the characters. Each mask was cut-out by hand and glued to a popsicle stick for easy use. By the end of a show I’d given out hundreds of these. The aisles were filled with adults and little kids running about as my fictional characters.

I’d been to this convention once before as a customer, but it felt so wonderfully different to be on the other side of the table. People judged you and your work as they walked by. When you smiled it gave them a chance to see if they liked either. And when they bought a book it was a sign of approval. It can be addicting to hear praise. Eventually the doors closed I packed up my bags, loaded up the boxes, and made my way to the exit.

On the doorway were my masks, taped to the door and defaced. My first reaction was pride.

The people that love what you do will always be filled with praise. But the people that don’t care for your work are filled with something even worse: indifference. Writing, design, branding – the goal is to build a piece that someone can’t feel indifferent about.

In the past month visitors have written scathing comments on our website. They’ve stolen articles and used them as their own. They’ve “borrowed” our designs and passed the work off as theirs.

The truth is these are the greatest compliments that your work has a voice. No one would take our designs if they didn’t feel they were quality. No one would steal our articles if they didn’t wish they were their own. And no one would take the time to make angry comments if they weren’t emotionally impacted by what we have to say.

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