A new book release is a rollercoaster of a time that never gets old—and, so far, hasn’t gotten easier.
Deep inside, beneath the thin veneer of self-confidence and fairy-dust sprinkles of excitement, is the fear: What if it’s not good enough? What if everyone hates it? What if this is the book where everyone finally figures out that I suck at writing?
Yep, it happens with Every. Single. Book.
I always say I won’t read the reviews, and it’s true that after a couple of weeks, I do stop reading them. But those weeks before the release and immediately after? I can’t help myself.
And so it is that I have hesitantly begun scouring for early reviews of my April 21 release, PIRATE’S ALLEY.
OMG, Publisher’s Weekly says it’s disjointed and hard to follow.
But wait, OMG, RT Book Reviews says it has the perfect elements of urban fantasy and, even at book four, is clear enough for a new reader to get lost in it.
Oh no, OMG, someone gave it two stars on Goodreads. Oh, wait, that “review” was filed before I’d even finished writing the book. How exactly does that work?
And there you have it. The good, bad, and ugly of book reviews.
To post a “review” on Goodreads, one is not required to have actually read the book. Some readers use the rating system as a way to prioritize their reading lists.
Some reviewers don’t understand the system. Here’s my favorite one-star review from Amazon on another of my books: “Great read—couldn’t put it down.”
Some reviewers don’t understand the genre. A two-star review of one of my romantic suspense titles: “This is awful; it scared me, and it kept me awake all night thinking about it. The bad guy is just horrible.” To which I mentally high-fived myself. I mean, it’s romantic SUSPENSE, right?
My all-time favorite review: “I can’t believe a woman would use such language in her writing.” He'd really be shocked if he knew my advanced age and conservative upbringing.
So here’s the point that I eventually remember: I’m neither as horrible or as sprinkled with unicorn glitter as anyone thinks. I’m glad people are reading the books. If I’m fortunate, more will love them than hate them. If I’m really fortunate, they’ll look for other books I’ve written. Otherwise, well, I do have a pension to look forward to.
This is the irony of a writer’s life. Most of us are introverts (extremely so in my case), yet we do work that goes in front of (we hope) thousands of people we don’t know, who will judge it, often publicly, sometimes harshly.
Which is their right. Because once the book is out and we’ve sullenly donned our marketing hats and scared ourselves silly trying to be publicity-hounds, our job with that particular book is done. Then we turn to the next one and, before long, we’re again taking sneaky peeks at early reviews that will send us hiding in a corner one moment and dancing with glee the next.
But it’s a fun ride. Right?