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Reviews (Thank You)

This is an extra post onto my weekly schedule, which I’m proud to say I’ve both accomplished and done completely on time for an entire week. I thought about waiting until Monday to write this up, but I already have a subject to discuss on Monday (shocking, I know), and this is fresh now. Extra is good, right? So is writing about something you feel the need to write about, when you feel the need to write about it. And I need to write about this now. Forgive the length in advance. It’s important.

I woke up this evening (yesterday, technically) to find another review for Reave up on Amazon. I was half-asleep and looking at it on my phone, so I had a moment of, “Does that say eleven now?”

It said eleven.

I read the newest one and did something similar to what I always do, which is shake my head a bit and sit (or lay) there in this state of disbelief.

I should say here that I have faith in my work. Not so much in myself. I’m self-deprecating by nature, and compliments pretty much roll right off my back if they’re related to me. That’s a subject for another post, but I feel it’s important for me to clarify the difference between anything negative I say having to do with me as a person, opposed to my work. It’s difficult to get the difference across when you’re saying the sort of stuff I do. So when I say, “My writing is crap,” (usually another word), I don’t mean that I feel my work is crap. I mean that I wish I could do better. It keeps me striving to do better. I always want to feel that.

Even though I have the utmost faith in my work (but I will add here that this series was difficult to set up with that first book, opposed to others I’ve written, due to circumstances in it and a limit of . . . well, everything), the positive feedback . . . it’s baffling.

I nitpick, and stuff still slips through. I nitpick and overlook things because I’m looking too closely at something else. There are some things technically wrong with that book that make me want to punch myself in the face. But . . . people are enjoying it anyway. And that is the point.

The mindset I have when writing stories has always and WILL always be characters first. I focus on characters first, story second (because they put in place themselves), writing third. So I’ll be totally honest and admit that I expected to get my first one-star review right off the bat. I expected some person to do what I do and tear that thing apart. It’ll happen one day, but today is apparently not that day. (If you’re hearing Aragorn shouting, “BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!” in your head right now, we have something in common.)

That first bad review is going to sting. I’m sure it will. I’ve heard that my self-deprecation can be very off-putting, so unless we’re talking in person (where I have essentially zero control over what comes out), you won’t know what my response will be when my writing gets torn apart. I’m not going to write it down on here. If you know me at all, I’m sure you could take a guess at it.

But bad reviews will never take away the feeling of a good one, not for me. It could be the worst review in the entire world, and it wouldn’t take the others away.

My biggest fear with it (it being Reave here) was that people wouldn’t get it. I worried people wouldn’t (or COULDN’T) relate to Aster. I worried some of the subjects would put people off. I worried things would be misinterpreted. I worried people would think it was too slow, or that it lacked ‘explosions’ (everybody loves explosions). I worried people wouldn’t be able to stand the writing style. I worried nobody would be able to make it past the first page. I worried and worried and worried about so many things (it’s what I do).

PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING IT.

So . . . this entry right here is for me to thank any and everyone who has spoken to me about my book, or left me a review. Waking up and finding a new one where someone says they couldn’t put my book down, or that Aster is an achievement as a heroine, that the characters were well-developed, that they were attached to it in some way, or rooting for Aster, or saying the only bad thing is that it ended and they can’t wait for the next.

Can’t wait for the next . . .

I’m shaking my head again.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately, not knowing how to ‘get it out there’ with this freaking debilitating anxiety I have. I’ve done a lot of struggling with a lot of things that run along those lines lately, and different ones that all lead back to the same issues: My ability or lack thereof. My faith in myself.

Before I published, I was constantly asking myself why I ever thought I could do this. After I published, it was more, ‘Can I do this well enough?’

So thank you, from the absolute bottom of my heart, to anyone who has taken some of their time to say one good word about my book, either to me or anyone you think might enjoy it, or in a review. Reviews (along with word of mouth) are the lifeblood of an author. They’re what point out to potential readers the good and bad things about whatever book they’re contemplating picking up. They can make all the difference in the world in that regard. But what you reviewers might not realize you’re doing in writing just a couple sentences is giving an author a little bit of faith in themselves, and a lot of validation in what they’re doing.

I don’t know most of you to thank you in person, and trust me when I say it wouldn’t come out right if I could (along with the fact that I might possibly be tearing up a bit as I write this).

I’ve spent the last several years of my life holed away, writing, and hoping that I would finally get to the point where I thought I was good enough for this. 99 people out of 100 could hate my work, but if that one person loved it? I would keep releasing books, just for the one.

I really can’t thank any of you enough for making me feel like I might be good enough to do what I love. You’ll never hear me say my writing is good. I’ve said many times that I’ll claim passable on a good day. But it’s good enough for somebody out there, and that’s more than enough for me.

I just have to make the connection that it equates to me being good enough, and I’m getting there, thanks to you.

(And for all of you who are looking forward to the second, I promise I’ll have it out as soon as I have the funds to cover it. It’ll be a bit, which is good because it’s currently in the hands of one of my best friends [who is pretty much the most spectacular beta-reader in the world, along with being one of the most spectacular people in the world]. But I’m hoping to get it out for you all soon.)

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