I almost didn’t write this post. Then I almost didn’t post this post. I’m a newbie. I just published my first book a couple months ago. What the hell do I know? Mostly when the twitterverse explodes with some publishing controversy or other, I keep my mouth shut. But dang. I couldn’t help it.
1. I read all my reviews.
Yup. All of them. I admire authors who don’t read reviews. I want to be them when I grow up. I have a bunch more books coming out this year, and I hope that I won’t always be like this, that I’ll become uber busy and, I dunno, SUCCESSFUL, and I won’t care anymore. But I doubt it. I think it’s just the way I’m wired. I care what you think of me.
2. Sometimes, I read a review and I think, “Was this person on crack when she read my book?”
Did she even read my book? If she read a book, was it perhaps someone else’s and not mine?
3. When this happens, this is what I do.
I send the review to my writing friends and I say, what the everloving hell? And they say, what the everloving hell? And then I get over it. Because I have other shit to do.
4. When this happens, this is what I don’t do.
a) Contact the reviewer in any form up to and including stalking.
b) Write a blog post about it.
c) Respond in any way other than to send it to my friends and say what the everloving hell?
5. In fact, I don’t respond to reviews at all.
Sometimes, when I read a good review on a blog and there are some comments, I want to jump in to answer a question or something, but I DON’T DO IT. The only fashion in which I “respond” to reviews at all is when someone tweets at me that they reviewed my book. I usually say, “Thanks for reviewing!” or, if they liked it, “I’m glad you enjoyed!” I stress out about even this. But it seems rude to ignore someone tweeting at you when they took the time to review your book. So I err on the side of vague gratitude (which is underlain by real gratitude). Sarah Wendell gives a great conference session on this topic, and she’s funnier and more articulate than I am on this topic, so I encourage you to check her out if you ever have the chance.
6. I have become friends/friendly with some reviewers. Sometimes I worry about this.
But I think it’s inevitable. We like the same kinds of books: I write them, and they read them and review them. It’s a kind of self-selection: it’s bound to happen. I also think that if you’re worried about turning into Kathleen Hale, you’re probably not going to turn into Kathleen Hale. You might make some mistakes, but they’re gonna be smaller than hers.
7. I don’t think this means they owe me reviews on any subsequent books.
8. I don’t think this means they owe me positive reviews on any subsequent books.
9. I’m not going to say anything one way or the other if they do or do not review or do or do not like my subsequent books.
10. Because basically, I hang on to two first principles.
a) I wrote a book, but then I put it out into the world. I cannot control the world. (If I could control the world, I would not be writing books. Okay, yes I would.) The world is full of people who will not like my book. I cannot make them like my book. All I can do is send their reviews to my friends and say what the everloving hell? Sometimes this is hard, but you know what? So is being a grown up, yet I manage to do that every day—mostly.
b) I am so crazy-lucky that people are reading and reviewing my books.
This is not rocket science, people.
Now because that was so heavy, here’s a picture of my boyfriend.