Thank you for having me here at Long and Short Reviews! Now that a few weeks have gone by since the publication of my first book, A Royal Pain, I am beginning to feel normal again. Or, you know, as normal as I ever was…which is not very.
That whole thing about nothing to fear but fear itself? That's mostly true. The fear of the unknown, at least, has passed. It has happened! I am a published author! Still, there have been a few surprises that I didn't see coming. A friend suggested I write about the surprises. So. Here goes:
Surprise 1. There are still people who will happily pay $15 for a trade paperback.
I am such a hardcore devourer of books that I have to operate on a very strict budget. I rarely spend more than $6.99. I go to the library for hardcover new releases. I wait for e-books to go on sale. I shop the used book sections of my local thrift stores on a regular basis. If I spent $15 on every book I read, that'd put my annual reading habit at *mental computing* roughly $2,500. This is probably all wrong of me to confess when I am supposedly in this game to sell books, but there you have it. (Speaking of bargains, A Royal Pain is free to members of the Romance Ebook Club, Discover A New Love.
Surprise 2. I remain baffled that people are actually reading my book.
I thought it would have worn off by now, after a few weeks, this feeling of wanting to hug every single person who has read A Royal Pain. Whether they loved it or hated it (my apologies to the latter…please see below for cookie offer), they took time out of their lives to read my words. Just. How surprising is that? It's crazy. I am new. I am nobody. (Just took a moment to re-watch one of my favorite scenes in all of cinema. No. Not the break-in scene from Rififi. Steve Martin in The Jerk) Anyway, I am an unknown commodity. People are taking a risk. I'm amazed. I'm grateful.
Surprise 3. Reviews do not roll off me like water on a duck's back.
It probably sounds stupid, but I did not adequately prepare for what it would feel like to have lots of people really (really) analyzing the hell out of my words. I've been through all sorts of assessments at jobs, hardcore edits, performance reviews—you name it. I've been raked over the coals many (many) times in this here life. I'm pretty tough. But. Wow. When someone is really disappointed in a book that was written with the overarching desire to bring pleasure? I don't know where to go with that. I want to bake them cookies and write an apology note for their time. And I'm not trying to change their experience at all because I am a huge believer in the book becoming the experience of the reader, and not always being the property or the possession of the author. I put it out there. I knew what I was doing. It's the reader's book now to interpret any which way. As the astute Miranda Neville advised, "There's nothing you can do about bad reviews except keep quiet and drink gin." I have tried to follow her advice to the letter!
Have you ever thought you were prepared for something, only to be really surprised? (Matrimony springs to mind.)
Thanks again for having me!
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