Golden Heart scores are returning to mailboxes worldwide, and there are probably more than a few of you who are confused or disappointed or even elated at what you've received. If you're elated, then this post probably isn't for you. ;)
But if you're confused or disappointed, listen up. Yes, five people gave you scores that vary between fabulous to horrendous and you want to know how some people hate what you wrote and others love it. And you're probably thinking the ones who hate you are closer to right than the ones who liked you (because writers are contrary like that).
I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter. That the ones who hate you aren't any more right than the ones who love you. There will always be people who don't like what you write. Trust me. It doesn't go away once you get published. In fact, it gets worse in some ways, because the people who dislike your work will write scathing reviews that will sit on the web for others to read. It's simply one of the things you'll have to learn to live with.
So learn to live with it now, while it's still between you and the anonymous judge. Wear your 5 (or 1) with pride. You made someone feel something, and even if it's not what you hoped to make them feel, it's far better than apathy.
The Golden Heart is a fabulous contest, and yes, being a finalist is a wonderful feeling. But remember that you don't need to be a finalist to sell a book. I was a finalist in 2008, and it was the most wonderful experience. But I didn't win and I didn't sell that book. In fact, though I was a finalist, someone gave me a 4.5. Someone hated me. :)
Obviously, it didn't matter. I sold a different book, and I'm about to celebrate the release of my 3rd book in June. I didn't win the Golden Heart, but I did hit the USA Today bestseller list with my 2nd book. And someone gave me a 4.5 in the GH. :)
So don't worry about those scores. Think about them for a day or so, but put them aside and get back on the horse. Ultimately, they don't matter. What you do now matters. How you move forward matters. That's it. :)