Writing Circumstances Beyond My Control

The day a book goes "live" on Amazon or Barnes and Noble is exciting in a sickening, hang on for dear life, all I can do is watch everything unfold sort of way.

For the past five years, my imagination and efforts have been consumed (for the most part) by the creation, rewriting, tweaking, overhauling, and details of a book I once called The Sword of the Patron. It was the first novel I ever began to write, and now I would say it is in something like its third version since its inception. And that labor of much angst, joy, struggle, and triumph is now available for sale, over a week before I thought it might be on the virtual shelves.

Until now, the fate of my work has been more or less in my hands. I could have my say about what stayed or went. I could advocate for the story, or the look of the book, or the promotional information. But now that the book is released, it's like sending your child  away to college. You've done all you think you possibly could to prepare that child (and yourself,) but now that it comes down to it, you have basically zero ability to direct the path the book now follows. The public is free to pan it or champion it, and all you can do is watch.

I am horrible at this part of the process. Part of me wants to cheer and celebrate, but a much more demanding part of me wants to curl up in a corner and hide for the next age of this world. A million authors have said this before, and a million will say it after me...and even though I've released a couple books before this and I always say "be honest in your reviews," I'm terrified people will tell me my baby is ugly.

For the record, nobody has yet. But they have said my baby isn't perfect. As much as we all know our work is flawed, I am positive that I have written Curse Bearer the best I could possibly write it right now. And what if that turns out to be just "pretty good?" Only in the arts can "pretty good" be devastating.

So if you see me over the next few weeks and I seem sort of foggy and wide wide eyed, it's just because I'm working through my day in an only slightly decreasing state of terror. Eventually, I know my heart rate will get back to normal and I will come to embrace the thoughts people leave in reviews. And then...it will be time to write another book and go on the crazy-coaster all over again. :)

Comments

  1. The tough thing about reviews is that it's all reader's opinion to other readers. It can't be a critique of the book. Some people will love things that other people hate.

    Just remember my dad's sage advice: "Everybody's entitled to their own stupid opinion."

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    1. Very true...a review is indeed a very different thing than a critique, and I think we writer types lose sight of that sometimes. It's hard to think like a reader once you've written your own stuff!

      As for what one person loves being the very thing someone else hates...my husband often quotes Oscar Wilde on that: "When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself." Look at any popular book, and you will see people giving it one star reviews for the same reason some give it five. It's good to keep that in mind.

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  2. Whatever imperfections you or others might see You've got a great universe and a great story. Also Culduin is hot. :)

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    1. Heee hee...I guess I've managed all right with him. There seems to be a growing consensus he hits the swoon-notes pretty well. :)

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  3. As a fellow author who has recently released a book and is waiting for the first reviews, I sympathize. I enjoyed reading your post and want to read your book sometime. Congrats on a successful release, and a little ahead of schedule, too! :D

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    1. Congratulations, Aubrey, on getting your work out there onto the playing field. I'll have to take a look. :) If you do give my book a read, please do let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.

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