When I saw this tweet from one of the sweetest book bloggers and reviewers I know, I was incredibly sad.
I don’t know exactly what made her say it, but I wanted to let her and others who feel this way know that their dedication and love of reading and written words keep us writers going.
For me, writing a story is a solitary affair that can last months. Sometimes it’s fabulous, sometimes it’s hard. Then there’s the post-publication period, when I wonder if anybody’s reading my work.
I told someone — I think it was Pearl from Pearl’s World of Romance — that publishing a book is like an audition. I’m in a dark auditorium, and I stand on the stage completely alone. I cannot see my audience at all (assuming I have one). A bright spotlight glares down on me. I’m performing, doing my best, to engage this audience I cannot see, hoping that something — anything — I’m doing hooks them. Makes them want to stay till the very end.
Then the reviews slowly start to trickle in. Book bloggers and Goodreads members start talking, and I know that at least I wasn’t alone in that auditorium. Nobody likes a bad review, but even a bad review is better than being ignored, and can be used to make my next book better. And if I get flattering reviews, I savor them and keep them, so that when going gets really tough, or when I feel like quitting, I can go back and read those reviews and know that it’s worth it for me to grit my teeth and chug along.
Perhaps it’s selfish of me to want people like Lea to continue when they feel so down and sad about book blogging and reviews. I cannot ask that they continue if they derive no joy from their labor of love; writing thoughtful reviews is hard work. But I want them to know that I love them deeply and that they’re appreciated.