Earlier this year I released a book. A book about my experience with pregnancy as a type 1 diabetic. It’s a memoir, and ultimately a collection of journal entries I compiled when I was pregnant with my first son more than four years ago. I revised and edited it into book form and published it.
What was my why in doing so? It wasn’t to make a million dollars. It wasn’t a stepping stone into a career of being America’s next best writer. No. I published the book because it was something I was looking for when I was pregnant. All I had found was all the horrible things that could go wrong. It was very clear that if I wanted a healthy baby, I needed to get my blood sugars in the tightest control. I wasn’t a perfect diabetic, but I was fucking motivated.
You may be wondering what has gotten me all fired up about this? I did what writers shouldn’t do: read comments on their work. I rarely head over to KDP to review my book sales. Like I said, I wasn’t in it for the money or notoriety. But something led me there last night and that’s when I saw a one-star review on my book. And there was a comment. It started in ALL CAPS about how it wasn’t a real book for “real diabetics.” Last I checked, my t1d is just as real as everyone else’s (and I’ve lived with it for 25+ years). Then it went on to state that it was “too mushy” and I portrayed myself as a “perfect diabetic” and had “enough money to do whatever I wanted.” Not sure where the latter was formed from, but okay. It finished with “a waste of money.”
Now, I get it, not everyone will love my book (or me). But there are two things I need to point out here: 1) my book is a memoir based on journal entries, so of course it will be mushy. I was pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy, so excuse me for having feelings. Which leads to 2) I’m a real person. I not only struggle with my t1d (and all the fears of complications that come with that), but I also have normal people struggles and emotions. Do people not realize that when they leave harsh comments, that it is aimed at an actual person? Listen, you don’t have to like my book, but a simple, “It wasn’t for me” would suffice.
And now I’m agitated that I let this person get under my skin.
So here’s my purpose of writing this: think before you sit behind your computer and type out whatever word vomit that pops into your head. People are people and words matter.