Write a book. I dare you. It’s a labor of blood, sweat, and tears, and sometimes, actual blood dribbles down into the keyboard, gumming up the works and sending authors racing to the Apple Store for new stuff like a laptop. But mostly, it’s a labor of tears and sweat. After that, there’s a book and it’s beautiful and lovely and of good report.
And then the reviews come in.
“The descriptions are amazing. I could smell, hear, taste, and touch the humidity.”
“There could have been more description of humidity.”
“The action lagged in only one spot.”
“The action was almost too much. I liked when the characters sat around and talked.”
“Too many bears.”
And so it goes . . .
Seriously, and so it goes . . .
I love feedback from readers and reviews are publishing’s lifeblood, but there’s a trick to keeping reviews in perspective. Don’t try.
Don’t misunderstand. I am a big believer in studying and refining craft. I have about a hundred books on writing to prove it, but honestly it’s a crapshoot trying to get the number of bears right for every single person that will pick up and read your book.
It’s important to know that the world is full of experts, critics, and people with peeves.
Keep in mind that every reader brings his or her own experiences and hang-ups to the story.
“You’re such a nice lady. How do you write about such terrible things happening to children . . . and bears?”
“Too much cussing.”
“Not enough cussing.”
Just keep writing.
“Cliff hangers make me breathe hard and dream furry dreams.”
Keep on writing.
“Why aren’t there fifty shades of gray zombies in your story?”
Write and write and write.
Then, on a fine humid day full of expectation and lemonade, a reader will grab you by the shoulders and say, “Linda! Your book! I couldn’t put it down!” making you run not walk back to the keyboard and proving that crying blood-sweat to get your story told is a small price to pay.
Then sit down and write.
Linda (Keyed Up) Zern
DISCLAIMER: All the above quotes are fictional and represent no actual opinions from any actual readers about any actual review stuff. Mostly, it’s based on smart aleck stuff my kids have said. Sigh.