The Comic-Con Effect

Every year, San Diego hosts Comic-Con, a combination comic book, cartoon, science-fiction/fantasy convention that keeps growing every year. Hollywood loves coming to Comic-Con to preview their latest science fiction/fantasy movies and TV shows to gauge the crowd’s reaction, but lately, Hollywood has been less enthusiastic.

The problem is that the crowds at Comic-Con tend to love anything in the science fiction/fantasy realm, so they give great reviews to movies like “Sucker Punch” and “Battle: Los Angeles.” Then when these movies arrive to the general public, Hollywood has high hopes that inevitably get dashed to the ground when most people wind up disliking the movie.

The problem is simply that the crowds at Comic-Con do not represent the tastes of the general public. So now Hollywood is relying less on Comic-Con attendees reviews and more on reviews from a broader mix of people. The problem is that if you cater to a niche audience, you can’t expect those results to reflect the general public as well.

When people join writing groups, they often want to submit their writing samples for others to read. Depending on the writing group, the criticism can range from valid to completely useless. That’s simply because some people like certain stories and won’t like or understand others. Tell a science fiction story to a woman who loves romance stories and her eyes will often glaze over out of boredom. Tell a guy a romance story when he wants to hear an action story and the same result will happen. The problem can just be targeting your product to the wrong audience.

When people criticize your writing, ask yourself what they’re really criticizing. Sometimes their criticism will be valid and sometimes it will be totally pointless. Just listen, see if it makes sense, and if it doesn’t, kindly smile and ignore it. Just because a small group of people love or hate what you do doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or bad. Ultimately, you have to depend on yourself and decide what’s right, even though everyone will always have an opinion of their own.

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