I was sitting here yesterday contemplating what I do and why I do it. Admittedly, it was after reading a review that was not exactly what my ego wanted to hear. And by that, I mean to say that the reviewer pretty much stomped on every element of my story and writing. Now, I'm not the type of person to let one review crush my hopes and dreams, nor am I one to complain about the fact that people have different opinions. I like the fact that people have opinions that differ from mine. Life would be boring if people all agreed on everything. Anyone remember A Wrinkle in Time?
I also think that if any of us in the entertainment game were to sit around and wait for universal approval we would have an epic Rip Van Winkle type of situation on our hands. Nobody likes everything that someone else likes. I get it; I'm not complaining. What the review did do for me was set off a spark of thought about the perceived versus the actual. So, what I wanted to do today was share five misconceptions about e-book authors. Or maybe just misconceptions about me. Or maybe both. Or maybe neither. Hey, man, I'm not a mind-reader!
1: My Books Are The Most Awesome Books....EVER!
I think that there are a lot of people out there who think that I think my books are right up there with Harry Potter, the Bible, and Ellen DeGeneres' book, 'Seriously...I'm Kidding.' They think that because I published it I find no fault in it, no sense that the book could be better.
This is absolutely not true.
Don't get me wrong, I love writing the characters and imagining new worlds. I wouldn't put them out there if I didn't love them; and there's nothing else on earth I would rather be doing. I wouldn't let you read them if I didn't absolutely feel a need to share them with you. That's not to say that I feel like my work is 100% the way I like it. I always have doubts: "Maybe if I had worked that sentence differently." "Maybe the plot could have been better or different." "Maybe if I changed my premise it would be more marketable." "Maybe my writing would speak to more people if I was smarter, better, brighter, or taller."
All art forms come with a sense of profound humanity, humility, and the desire to please. We're all just human, and only hope to bring people in on our vision of the world. The big-headed-ness and arrogance doesn't usually come until after we've made a bajillion dollars. I'm kidding. Mostly. Self-doubt comes with that open doorway into our mind. It can't be helped. It simply is.
No, I don't think my books are perfect. But I do work hard, and I do want to make people happy. If I can make someone forget reality, for even a brief amount of time, and pull them into my world, well, then, mission accomplished. It's not a flawless reality, understand. It's just my reality, and I welcome you inside it with open arms.
2: Writing Must Be Easy. She Doesn't Actually DO Anything.
No. It's not. And, yes, I do.
I put aside a certain amount of time every day to sit down and write. I work at it, fret at it, work at it some more, and do my best to bring a story that I like to your doors, figuratively speaking of course. It always amuses me when people find out what I do and then arbitrarily decide that they can do it as well, and better, too. They think it's simple.
It can be, if you're prepared, but it takes effort and time. Most people don't want to invest in either one. To my knowledge, not one of these people have sat down and written their own novels. That was my point with the first book in The Watchers Series. I was irritated at a book and I set out to do it myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and that it wasn't impossible. But what happened was that I fell hard for the process and the world-building. Now, I'm obsessed. I couldn't imagine doing anything else. The effort and time are totally worth it to me. But it's not easy. I work hard for my bacon. Ew, bacon. Sorry.
3: She Doesn't Read Her Reviews
Don't be silly. Of course I do. I read them all, take them in, and try to be better. People who don't like your stuff sometimes point out things you need to know.
I have to understand, however, that opinions are like farts. Everyone has them. And some of them stink worse than others. How's that for a metaphor? : )
Not everyone should be reading a book about teenage angels who fall in love and try to save the world or about dreamers who fight shades in the darkest places of our nightmares. It's not everyone's cup o' tea. I'm fine with that. It's the way things should be. I like fantasy novels - David Eddings is not the same kind of author as John Steinback. I think they are both lovely writers, but Eddings is more interesting to me. I can see why people like Steinback, I just can't get into his writing. It's okay to be different.
I don't find it okay to hate for hate's sake, or really hate in general, but that's a whole other problem that can't be cured in a blog.
And as far as the good reviews go - I wish I could hug you all! You have no idea how much it means to me. Most people don't stop to comment. They don't know that I read the comments and try to see where my problems are or chat with the people who like my stuff. Maybe If I got to where there were thousands of reviews, I couldn't do that as much. But, right now, I try to catch them all.
4: She's Read Every Single Book In Her Genre
I have not.
I've actually not read that many fantasy teen books, to be honest, quite on purpose. I love Harry Potter. Rowling is brilliant. I in no way compare myself to her. Never, ever. I've read the Percy Jackson novels, Ella Enchanted, and, yes, Twilight. Most of my favored books are sword and sorcery. If my books happen to coincide with others, it is purely because I A: started writing the Watchers because I wanted to prove something to myself (and make fun of the character a bit) or B: dumb coincidence, or the fact that there are only so many monsters and setups out there in the world...You can take your pick. I like humor in my books. I like super powers and people that can do crazy Kung Fu and save the world. Other people seem to like that as well. We should start a club or something.
5: She Likes Raisins
I don't. Ever.
They are sad grapes, and I cannot condone the texture or taste. There, I said it.