By Lonnie Cruse
Reviews...What do they mean? Readers, how important are they?
Fifty-Seven Heaven is getting great reviews, which will certainly help promote my book when Five Star releases it on December 12th for readers to buy. (Shriek, am I ready? Have I covered all my bases? Deep breath, deep breath.) The book recently got positive reviews from Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly, which was a huge thrill. The latest review on Books N Bytes is at:
Scroll down to Pat Reid's name and click for the great review. Another great review is due out December 10th at: http://www.romrevtoday.com/
So, aside from me bragging and blatently self promoting (BSPing), what does this mean to an author? Well, for me, I sit in my home office most days, by myself, and plunk out my story, wondering if anyone will ever want to read it. Then I do the first revision, and often I'm surprised to read something I don't remember writing. Sometimes I'm even surprised at how much I love it. Then more revision.
Then I send it to my critique group. Sometimes they're devided on an issue, which means I have to choose which of their suggestions to follow. Of course, I'm prone to take the suggestion closest to my thoughts. Hehe. But if all of them are puzzled by something I've written, (which was perfectly clear to me, so what's the problem???) I obviously have to clarrify that issue for the reader. If all of my critiquers hate something, I have to change it. Sigh. And if all of them love it, I take a bow before my moniter. Ego, don'tcha know.
Then comes more revision. Then I send it to friends who aren't writers or critiquers but who catch errors the group missed, and I missed. And I fix those. And take more suggestions. By this time I'm becoming thoroughly sick of the story. Who would ever want to buy it? Or read it? OR reivew it? And there is likely another story floating around in my head that I want to write because, did I mention, by now I'm sick of the story?
Then I send it to the editor who finds errors the other dozens of readers--not to mention me--missed. Then the publisher makes advanced reader copies and sends them out to reviewers. Now the REAL fun begins. Will they love it? Hate it? I chew my nails and wait.
The reviews come in and I'm (a) shocked that they like it and (b) wondering if anyone will review/buy/read/like the next book I'm working on. Circles within circles. Around and around.
Beyond all that there are times like right now, at the busy holiday season, when I'm trying to find the right gifts, spend time with family, host a party or two, wrap, bake, cook, get some sleep, and writing time is scarce. Think hen's teeth. Family time is hard to come by, with everyone inviting everyone else over. So we're all busy, scrambling to get it all done. Sigh. And I'm wondering if I should go back to the simpler time when my time was my own, not my computer's.
Why do I write mysteries? Who will want to read them? Sitting alone at the computer, day after day, is tough. Time away from family life is tough. Getting critiques is tough. Revising is tough. Then I get a positive review, and I'm back at the computer, writing and wondering. Is it all worth it?
Ummm, yeah, it is. It's worth it when reviewers tell others they liked it. Or even when they don't. Because chances are, others will still be curious enough to read it. And then they write me to say they loved it. Which means they understood what I was struggling to say. They entered my world and spent time there with me. So I wasn't really alone. Thanks, reviewers AND readers. And please, keep reading!