My life as a novelist begins with a bang. Great comments and reviews, boost in sales in the first week. This all makes ones heart beat faster, the world seem a bit brighter. Then there are other comments - the book made a few readers angry (although both claimed to like it in the end), some have issues with the morality - not of the author, mind you, but of the characters. This is like a roller coaster ride. The trick is to keep your heart out of it and your focus on the original message.
It certainly does make me think: what constitutes a "good" book? What does "good" mean? Certainly there are technical aspects - language use, plot, characterization, pacing, flow. But beyond that, when we have the technical stuff down and we are just talking about reader experience, what makes up "good"?
I have to wonder if a book that 1)makes someone rethink life and morality and love, and 2) makes one ask questions they are reluctant to ask of themselves, and 3) haunts the reader afterward - is a success in the end. I wonder if a "good" book doesn't have to make the reader happy in order to leave them satisfied.
Perhaps that satisfaction comes hours, or weeks or months after reading. Maybe it doesn't come until there has been time to digest and perhaps reread. Maybe stirring up emotion in a reader no matter what those emotions are, and causing him or her to think in a new way, is in the end success?