Today, Kristie Cook and I have decided to abduct each other's blog (please visit me here!). I've been blown away by the things she said today and I bet you will too.
If you're a writer--doesn't matter where you stand--you need to read on!
Since Elizabeth’s debut novel just released, I thought I might share some tips and insight from a (sort of) seasoned author. I wish someone would have told me these things when I was a young’un – I wouldn’t have thought myself (extra) insane. So, Elizabeth and other soon-to-be-publishedauthors (it doesn’t matter what “soon” really is), here are some things you can expect:
You will get reviews, people’s opinions written for the whole world to see. These are usually great, but when you’re opening the page to read a review, it’s normal for your gut to feel like you swallowed a school of flopping fish. By the time you’re done reading the review, the queasy feeling will either turn into your heart growing three times its normal size and a smile being plastered on your face or into the desire to throw things and yell at the computer about how wrong the reviewer is. I’m sure you won’t experience the latter often because I know people will love your book. But even those who don’t do you a great service. After all, if every.single.one of your reviews is glowing, people wouldn’t believe them.
It’s also normal to check all the retailers’ sites, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc., on a daily or even hourly basis to see if any new reviews have been posted. This compulsion will wear off after the third book or so…although it might rear its head right after a release.
Once your book starts climbing in sales numbers, it’s perfectly normal to refresh the sales report screens and/or product screens to watch your rankings climb on an hourly basis. You may be tempted to do it more often than that (not that I, personally, ever felt the need every five minutes, no, not at all), the sites only update every hour, so it’s kind of pointless.
Be sure to print out every single review and every piece of fan mail. Keep copies on external hard drives or flash drives. Blogs disappear, taking their fab reviews of your book with them. Email files become corrupt – when I thought I’d lost mine for good, one of the worst parts was thinking I’d lost all my fan mail. It’s not neurotic at all to keep these things. Trust me. I’m a writer and we all know writers are perfectly sane.
Seriously – when you do get a less-than-stellar review or you’re struggling with writing the next book, those reviews and fan mails can be exactly what you need to get back on track. They remind you that although one person might not have loved your story or writing, all these other readers have. They remind you that real, live people out there (not just family andfriends, who may or may not be real and live) are waiting for your next book. They remind you that there’s a reason you write.
Finally, enjoy the ride. You only get one debut book. There’s nothing else like it. Cherish every moment because it really is just a stop on your writer’s journey. You have more books to write, more fans to meet, more excitement to come. And we’re all here with and for you during the ups and downs and in-betweens.
Best wishes, Elizabeth and Darkspell! Your journey has only just begun.
Kristie Cook is the award-winning author of the best-selling Soul Savers Series, which currently includes Promise and Purpose and the newly released Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella. The third book in the series, Devotion, releases February 2012. She can be found at www.KristieCook.com.
Whoa, Kristie, thank you for these words of wisdom. I'll always remember!
Have a great Thanksgiving, guys!