The Treachery of Beautiful Things has been getting some lovely reviews. Which makes me very happy. The paranoia of a writer (this writer anyway) is such that it doesn’t matter that you write something, polish, have other people edit is, polish it, sell it etc. That all kind of pales when someone who doesn’t HAVE to be nice to you or doesn’t have an interest in the book, or indeed any contact with you at all, tells not you, but people in general that they like it. That is such a rush.
And makes me slightly terrified, but that’s my own problem.
Reviews are funny beasts. (NOT REVIEWERS, I NEVER SAID THAT). Because I believe a book needs to stand on its own for the reader. I studied English Lit in college with a firm ethos that the reader brings things to the reading experience that the writer perhaps never intended to be there (and with my mental insertion of relationships into otherwise relationshipless stories I know that’s true). Reading is a subjective thing. What works for one person will not work for another. And the writer… well… once a book is finished and out in the world I kind of imagine it skipping off with no more than a backwards glance at me. A bit like the cat. Off to the person willing to carry on loving and feeding it with their imagination. A review is really something for the person writing the review. It’s their expression of what they liked or didn’t like in a book.
Coming from the Sci-Fi & Fantasy critique boards that I first found when I started writing seriously, I learned (not through direct experience thank goodness) that it did no one any good to argue with critiques. Slightly different there because in that case of critiques they are written with the author in mind. Most of them helped a lot. Some didn’t. Some exposed problems that actually did lie with the reader rather than the piece of writing. Luckily the people who ran these boards were generally very quick to stop things becoming unpleasant. But the fact remains and was drummed into me there too. Books are out there on their own. I don’t want to rake up all the bru-ha-ha of earlier this year but yeah. Books gotta run free as the Patchwork Cat
and kill some birdies…. err maybe not that.
But it also means I sometimes find it hard to poke my head up at all, even to say thanks for a good review. I deliberate about clicking “like” or retweeting something, let alone replying unless I’m named in the tweet. (Although I did this morning. Yay me!) So I will say it here. Thank you for reading my book, thank you for reviewing my book. If you liked it and gave it a good review, awesome. Thanks again. *danceofjoy* If you didn’t like it, well, I’m sad it didn’t work for you but thank you all the same for giving it a chance.