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Ain't Everybody Gonna Get You, Boo. And that's OK

posted Oct 14, 2014, 9:59 AM by Anjuan Simmons
I wrote Minority Tech for a variety of reasons. You can read them on the first page of the book. When I thought about publishing a collection of essays on various topics (i.e., an essay anthology), I realized that many people wouldn't "get it". I'm an avid reader, and I have enjoyed several essay anthologies. However, many people simply want a novel with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Minority Tech ain't a novel. It was never intended to be.

One of the people I asked to review the book confirmed the fact that many wouldn't "get it" when she wrote to me right before I launched Minority Tech:

At this time, I would prefer not to review the book as presented because I believe the framework is too disjointed. There is no natural flow (from a reader’s perspective) and the content actually reads as a series of blog posts with comments (which I didn’t quite understand) instead of a cohesive book. I’m sure other author’s have utilized this framework, but as a reader, I had a difficult time navigating the material.

I have too much respect for you and your work to write a bad review.

Thank you for letting me express my criticism and I wish you a great deal of success.

Despite the fact that she dissed my book, I was happy to receive her feedback! In fact, this is what I wrote in response:

Your feedback has helped me a lot! I have to be ok that my book won't be for everyone, even for those who personally like me. And that's ok! For example, I personally hate musicals. So, even if a good friend of mine produced a musical, I would be hard pressed to be an enthusiastic supporter. Musicals are simply not for me. So, I have to understand that an essay anthology like "Minoriy Tech" won't appeal to everyone. :-)

I appreciate you giving "Minority Tech" a try and providing a great lesson for me to learn!

She is still someone I consider a friend, and I support her entrepreneurial endeavors.

I shared this exchange to let anyone reading this who is letting fear of negative feedback stop them from completing a project. Don't let negative feedback stop you. In fact, it's vital to your success. Negative feedback is just one person's opinion. Just because that person didn't get your project doesn't mean that others will also not get it. Minority Tech has allowed me to do a fun book tour, speak at conferences, get interviewed, and be published in various books and periodicals. I have also made a nice chunk of change from it. However, this is because I worked hard to champion the project, market it, and associate it with my personal brand. If, instead, I had scrapped the project or distanced myself based on negative feedback, I would have missed out on a lot of benefits.

So, ain't everybody gonna "get you". Don't let that stop you. The worst case scenario is that you get valuable feedback that will help make your next project even more awesome.

By the way, if you want a great book about technology that is presented in novel form, then I strongly recommend The Phoenix Project. I got a signed copy from Gene Kim at Puppet Conference, and it's a great read.