Now that Perceval’s Secret has been on sale at Amazon, B&N and Kobo for seven months, i.e. published, I am finally feeling that I have published a novel. Last April, I even thought that I was still working on the publication process and had to remind myself that it was done. It’s a strange feeling, actually. Writing a blog has helped me deal with the feeling of exposure that sending a piece of writing into the world can create. I’ve been doing that for seven years now and I’m acclimated to a certain extent. I also write for Classical MPR online, and that has added to my feeling of exposure but thankfully in a good way.
Being an author can mean different things to different people, I guess. To me, it means that I’ve written a work of fiction that’s published. It’s now available for people to buy and read. Often people who are complete strangers. A few have written reviews at Amazon for the novel, and I am ecstatic to hear what they think of the book and that they enjoyed it. I think it’s important for authors to hear from readers — a meeting of minds over a work of fiction.
But what about when readers don’t respond in some way? It’s understandable to me that readers who don’t know the author might remain silent, which is the reason I’m thrilled when a stranger writes a review. What has been a surprise is my reaction to the silence of readers I know, people I know have bought the book — they’ve told me — but then say nothing after they’ve read it. Did they hate it that much?
My insecurities come gushing out. Why hasn’t so-and-so told me what she thought? Why hasn’t this relative responded or written a review? Why haven’t other relatives bought and read the book? I need to take a deep breath, let it out, take another deep breath, and let it out. Breathing is an amazing defense against the ego’s chaotic sensitivities.
I remind myself that I know not everyone will like Evan’s story. Some people won’t like being immersed in the classical music world, or read about PTSD and its effects on a person’s life when it’s untreated, or like Evan’s dilemma and his way of dealing with it. Maybe some people just won’t like my writing. It’s impossible to please everyone, but I would hope that people will try the book before making any kind of judgement or forming an opinion.
Then I remind myself that no one is required to communicate with an author with a response to the author’s book. Even the people I know personally.
The best way to move away from all this ego chaos is to write. I write in a journal daily. I write my blogs. I write e-mails. I write promotional materials for the book. Slowly, I write my way back to fiction. My current projects are short form: a short story entitled The Negligee that is finished and only needs some tweaking, and a short story that I’ve begun writing. Eventually, once I’ve completed shorter writing projects, I’ll begin work on Perceval’s Shadow, the second book in the series. Its first draft is done, but needs a lot of work.
No matter what anyone thinks about me or my writing, I shall write. Once I have this mantra back into my mind, I’m fine. The ego quiets down so I can give it something else to preoccupy it while my imagination comes out to play. So, as much as I’d love to hear from readers and what they think of Perceval’s Secret, it is not essential to my writing life.
Perceval’s Secret is still on sale at Amazon, B&N, and Kobo for $2.99. Now would be a good time to buy your copy if you haven’t already. I’ll be raising the price on January 1. Or take a shot at guessing the mystery element in the book’s cover design to win a free book! (See details under the “Free Book!” tab) And if you’d like to write a review to let other readers know what you thought about the novel, that would be grand, and I thank you for it….