Which one is the BEST?

There’s a good chance a series might be coming out of this. Prepare yourself from a Rant About Work that Turns into a Metaphor About Writing, number 0002.

“Which one is the BEST?”

Not our gelato case, but it’s similar enough.

So, I work at a coffee bar in a grocery store, including a gelato bar, which is pretty sweet because we make our own gelato and it’s pretty good stuff, if I do say so myself. Our case is a decent size, too, so we have around eighteen different flavors at all times. Variety is the spice of life, but it’s also the bane of my existence with a certain type of customer. This is the customer that would do best in a situation where only chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla were available because they can’t make a damn choice to save their life. This indecisions comes with easily my least favorite question at the gelato case: “Which one is the best?”

“BEST,” you see, is an extremely subjective epitaph. What I consider the best one is not necessarily what you consider the best one. In fact, when customers ask which one is my favorite (which is a cousin-question to the question in question), I tell them my favorite (Salted Peanut Butter Sorbet), and they wrinkle their nose in disgust. If you have a strong opinion about what you don’t like, how the hell don’t you have an opinion about what you do like? Not to mention, favorites vary day by day. Salted Peanut Butter Sorbet is usually my favorite, but sometimes, I go crazy over the Chocolate Sorbet or the Mixed Berry or the Blueberry Pomegranate. Also, I’m vegan, so I’ve only had the sorbet, since those are dairy free. I usually give them that warning, because I have no idea what the gelato proper tastes like.

Another variation of this situation is “Which is the most popular?” This one drives me crazy, too, because it just makes me think that this person simply cannot form an opinion without consulting the driven masses. And that varies too, because, guess what? All of our gelato is good. There’s rarely a bad one in the bunch. Which is the best? NONE OF THEM. They’re all going to be the best to someone, it’s just a matter of opinion.

So what does that have to do with writing? I was thinking about the question in the context of the publishing world. What path to publishing is the BEST path? Is it traditional publishing houses? Indie prints? Self-publishing? Should you focus on quantity and get a lot out there quickly? Or should you toil over your quality to ensure that you’re putting out the best book you can, even if that means you’ve only got one every decade or so? Are quantity and quality mutually exclusive? There are so many choice! Which is the best?

And that’s just it. There is no best. What’s best for me is not necessarily best for you. We all have to choose our own path, because, I swear, if you ask me what my favorite path is and you wrinkle your nose because you don’t like that path, then why did you ask me in the first place? Who cares what other people like best? Be bold in your own decision on what feels right for you and embrace it…by getting the biggest size and digging in.

Interestingly enough, we offer samples at our gelato bar, so the worst question of all is “Is it any good?” Just try it! I don’t know what you like. And I like to think you can sample different paths, too, but here’s the thing: you’ll never really know until you try, right?

Dang. I kind of want some Salted Peanut Butter Sorbet now. With Mixed Berry. Because it totally tastes like PB&J, and that is ah-maze-zing.


  1. Your topic here reminds me of why I get so upset over reviews. Just like there are different paths to publishing, and different tastes when it comes to yummy frozen desserts, there are widely different tastes in fiction. And sometimes people give bad reviews just because a book isn’t their cup of tea (or sorbet!). So why review it at all? And if you do review it, then be helpful and state WHY you didn’t like it, if it isn’t to your taste, instead of bashing it. For instance, someone could say “That Salted Peanut Butter sorbet is just awful! The person who makes it should stop making sorbet if they can’t do any better than this!” Or they could say “I didn’t care for the Salted Peanut Butter sorbet. It just wasn’t to my taste, but others might like it.” Some books are just obviously bad. But many times, it’s just the reader’s opinion.

    Back to the publishing thing. It really burns me up when a traditionally published writer (or wannabe) slams a self-published author for their preferred publishing method. Or vice versa. Traditionals sometimes look down their noses at indies. And indies sometimes think traditionals are stupid for going the harder (and often less profitable) route. There are pros and cons to each method. Those who are kind of control freaks (like me) usually do better as indies because they want to control every aspect of their work, including cover art and formatting. People who just want to write and let someone else handle everything else will probably do better going the traditional route.

    To each his own, I say!

  2. If I’m deciding on a book by reading reviews, I always read the bad ones, and a lot of the reviews are people just saying it’s a bad book, it was horrible, it was the worst book they ever read!, without any good reason or discourse, then I’ll usually buy the book, lol. And if I read the positive reviews and they’re all filled with praise that doesn’t go beyond “This book was great! I really like this author! Best book ever!” and not bothering to highlight WHY it’s so good, I won’t buy it. I feel anyone offering an opinion without supporting it isn’t someone worth listening to. Drives me crazy either way.

    And, yup, To each their own. All paths are valid, and that should be the end of the story, but it’s so bizarre to me that it’s not.

  3. In my opinion, in India when you ask in any upmarket restaurant “which is your best?” or “what are you good at” ? The staff usually points towards most expensive stuff….trying to up-sell! only at few places they are honest, divulging the most popular stuff they make and sell!

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