I know I’m a good writer and editor. While my books aren’t perfect, I know I tell a good story. However, there are days when I feel like I can’t do anything right.
Writing is a tough job which requires dedication, concentration, and perseverance. One of the things I struggle with daily for writing is marketing my books. Really I need reviews – lots and lots of reviews. Preferably positive reviews but always HONEST reviews.
On a regular basis, I send out requests for people to read my books and provide a review. I send a lot of these emails. I feel lucky if I get one or two responses to the emails and thrilled if I actually get a review.
I won’t say who but I got an email from a reviewer recently. I’m always apprehensive about these emails – did they like my stuff; did they hate it? Will they write a review? Are they going to say what was I thinking?
I read this email – well written, professional but not giving an indication of how the review was going to go. Each word holds me enthralled as I hope for a good review.
I’ve written reviews. I’ve worked with publishers who want you to be snarky, harsh, and even mean (though I draw the line there unless it’s a really bad book). I get the requirements and expectations.
I read this email. It may sound dramatic but my heart in my throat and at the end of it, the reviewer says, “you’re a great poet, but you already know that”.
I hope I am. I dream of being one but … to hear someone else, a complete stranger say that to me. In the moment, it made my day. It was a small sentence which carried big impact. I still have no idea of what the review says – can’t wait to read it. But that small compliment lifted me from my cranky self to a place which reminded me I was on the right track. Thank you to the reviewer.
A friend told me she was going to read my book in the bathroom. At first I was a little offended by this but as I think about it at least she is reading it. Additionally if it sits in her bathroom and other people use her bathroom they may pick it up. This may be a whole new marketing technique that should be explored.
I’ve sold 17 copies of my book in one form or another. Now I have to patiently wait while people read and hope they will post a review. I’d love all positive reviews but I know that they won’t be.
The hard part for me is as I look over the versions I’m seeing changes I would make – small changes that I would do differently. The changes aren’t large enough to merit an update but if I find enough of them they will add up eventually.
Criticism is a part of life as an author. I won’t be able to please everyone all the time. Some people will take offense at my topic, writing style, amount of sex (or lack of it) in a book, or almost any aspect of the book you can think of. All I can hope for is that most people will like the book and will be willing to give it a try.
I won’t lie – a negative review will probably hurt my feelings. It is bound to. I’ll get over it. I always do. Books are like a baby to most authors. It is a lot of work to create characters, plot, and so on. By the time we are done, I have molded the manuscript into shape (I hope). It is like raising a kid – here is this unformed being and as a mom I take and shape it into what it will be – hopefully in a positive and good way. To have someone come along and tell you that you did a lousy job is tough to hear. However, I have to look on a negative review as a way of looking to improve my writing. If it is constructive – like I found errors in these locations or here is a plot oooppss – then I can use that as a way to improve the product. If it is a “I didn’t like it” type of review, there is little I can do about that.
If you’ve read my novel, please go and write a review on it. Be honest because honesty helps me hone my craft and make a better product either by updating and improving the current product or creating a better product for the next manuscript.
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