This post is by way of a follow up to ‘The Waiting Room of the Psyche‘ which I posted back at the dying embers of June. To be specific, it relates to a particular part of that post which was about how I feel after publishing a book. This specific part in fact:-
…readers will read in their own time. Readers are the thing that you have no control over and bare in mind up to this point you had absolute control of everything to do with your book. Be it a short novella like ‘A Scar of Avarice’ or a full-blown novel like Passing Place. Once you put it out there all you can do is wait.
Wait and hope, that somewhere someone is reading the damn thing and sort of, kind of, maybe, likes it.
Wait and hope that maybe someone will even take a moment to tell you they liked it.
Well, one waited, and one hoped, as one always does while fighting off that grim darkness at the back of one’s mind, the dark suspicion that you have successfully written just a huge pile of drivel which no one is going to like and enjoy. Though maybe that’s just me. Perhaps I am the only writer in the world who agonises over what they write, agonises again when it is published and then agonises on whether anyone is going to read it, enjoy it, get it, or just plain care enough to say so. Indeed I may just be the only one, but I somehow doubt this of all my experiences as a writer, is in anyway unique to me. I suspect it is something we all go through.
I have spoken often enough on here and elsewhere about how important (specifically on Amazon) reviews are to a writer. I have pointed out all the reasons why and quirks of Amazon as a marketplace that make reviews so important (here for example). I have even been known to rant about it occasionally (here more recently.) And plenty of other places on this blog. But what I haven’t often done is talk about why they are important physiologically.
Writers write in a bubble. Which is to say unlike a stage actor, or a comedian or a musician, our audience doesn’t turn up to watch us. They don’t even start reading our works on our sofa. The sure as hell don’t come and take up a chair beside us while we work. We can’t see them, we can’t feed off the crowd. Indeed they don’t even read it as we write ( which is frankly all to the good, no one wants people reading this stuff as we write it… I don’t even want people to read the second draft, the third maybe…). Even when we have finished our work, all we do is send it out the world in hope. And sure we may see the sales, we may obsess about Amazon ranking, we may even if we are brave enough, go stand behind a table at a convention and try to appear interesting, and sell people books that way. But even if we are brave enough to do that, no one is going to stand there and read the whole novel in front of us. So we never know, can’t know, haven’t, in fact, got a clue, if anyone enjoys what we have written.
As I am not a well-rounded individual with his feet firmly planned on the ground, or one of those mythical people who are normal, to put it another way. As I am in fact a bundle of paranoia’s, full of strange thoughts, and have a confused self-image. As I am in fact normal, for my own definition of normal. i.e., just as screwed up as everyone else. Being a writer in my writer’s bubble is all well and good, but occasionally I actually need someone to tell me that what I write has value. Even if that value is it made someone laugh, or smile, or think, or just not think about anything beyond the page for a short while if they needed an escape. Because if no one ever tells me this, I’m just staring into the void, and eventually the void stares back…
I may be a tad more self-aware about these things than most, but I am who I am. There is a favourite line of mine.
Never lie to yourself, for that way lays madness.
So, telling myself I know something is good, that’s fine and all that, but occasionally one needs others to say so, and readers, as I noted, tend to do things in their own time… But reviews have started to come in for A Scar of Avarice, and they have been on the whole good ones, so I am feeling better about myself. As such I would like to thank those who have taken the time to write a quick review in the last couple of weeks. For Scar and other books of mine. Both on Amazon and elsewhere.
So anyway praise for A Scar Of Avarice… Just to show I am not just staring off into the void…
So thanks for all those who have taken the time to write a little review, they are always welcome and indeed let me know I am not just wasting my time and energy.
And no… I have no idea who ‘The Watchers’ are, or what the last of those reviews is on about either… perhaps I should be just a little more paranoid…