Many writing manuals say to never write a ‘fad’ book. What’s popular today will most likely be a cliché tomorrow. Never chase the fame or fortune wave they caution. Still, there are topics that agents keep their eyes out for and there are definitive writing trends that publishers push for. All this makes me wonder, is my writing what people want?
My first rejection stung, but I still had hope. My twentieth rejection made me question my work. Was my writing not good enough? Was my novel not something people wanted to read? I concluded that my book was destined to remain a file in the cloud. But then, a publisher finally expressed interest.
Now, shortly before going to print, comes the next challenge. I must ask well respected authors for reviews of my work. I am asking them point blank. Do you like my writing? Will you write something nice about it to go on the back cover of my book? Then, after my book is finally published, I must chase down readers to write reviews online. Again, I will beg, “please be kind, please like my writing.”
I wish I didn’t have to ask. I wish that people would simply take a chance on my novel. But that’s not how it works. People want to know they aren’t wasting their time on a book they won’t enjoy. And I can’t blame them either. For over twenty years that is how I have decided what books to buy for myself.
Whether it’s at the bookstore or online, I check the reviews and consider what others are saying about the book. What’s the rating? Did people find it boring? Is the romance captivating or will I lose interest in the characters by the third chapter? I learn all about my potential book purchases through reviews. And that is how potential readers will learn about mine.
I know this process isn’t personal. I know a bad review isn’t a reflection on me as a person. But it will be a reflection on me as an author, as a writer. The reviews will either attract readers or scare them off. My career hinges on people writing nice things about my work. Not the most stable way of basing a career, but that’s how it is.
I wish I could say I won’t let this review process get to me over the next few weeks, but they already are. My hands are quivering at the thought of opening emails from famous authors telling me what they really think of my work. I wish I could say that I’m not worried about reader’s reviews, but I am. Almost to the point that I don’t want to even bother putting my book up for sale.
There is one thought that keeps my hands steady and heartbeat even and that is the fact that I have a book to review. All those years of writing and dreaming have come down to a real, live book that I will be holding in my hands very soon. I enjoyed writing it. I like it and I hope with all my heart that you will as well.