GIRLS ON THE VERGE releases today, the third novel release of my career, and it’s a very happy day. A book birthday is a thrill for writers—it’s the day when that little idea, which turned into a story, becomes a book.
So what happens now? Well, aside from promoting the book as much as a writer and her publisher can, pretty much nothing. Writers get to work doing what they do best, writing. The one thing every writer should avoid doing, however, is peeking under the rug—meaning reading reviews. The one piece of advice I give all debut writers is this: DO NOT READ YOUR REVIEWS! Of course that’s difficult to do because it’s natural to want to know how your book is received, but be warned, that way lies dragons. Dragons are the bad/snarky reviews and the one and two stars, which every writer (even big name authors and best sellers) gets. And never, ever, under any circumstances, add a rebuttal to a review. That way lies white walkers and that scary white walker dragon. So unless a writer has the skin of a rhino, bad reviews will ruin a book release and might even spill into day-to-day life. How do I know? Because it happened to me, and it ain’t fun. So I don’t read Amazon or Goodreads reviews, I don’t read blogger reviews, I don’t Google my book. I only read reviews that my agent and publisher send me. I only read and respond to emails people send me. My theory is this: I did the best I could, I threw my heart into my book, I can’t change it, and it’s none of my business what readers think about my book unless they choose to tell me. Stories are interesting things because a writer’s words aren’t perceived the same way by one person or another. We all have individual imaginations, experiences, tastes. And readers will see things in a book that maybe the author didn’t mean to write—good and bad. Such is the magic of reading.
So. This morning I looked at Amazon to see my book up for sale, found out that it’s the number one release in YA theater novels, shut my app without looking at reviews. And then I went about my day feeding my animals and milking my goat, listening to Podcasts. I had some lovely emails from my agent and editor and friends. Later I’ll take my dogs for a walk. Tonight I’ll feed my animals and milk my goat again, make dinner. I’ll hang out with my husband and probably practice my guitar or embroider. I would say that’s a pretty good way to celebrate a book release. Wouldn’t you?
Here are the winners who entered my personal giveaway: Debi Tonks, Christina Carolin, and Kate Duncan. You’ve all won a signed galley of GIRLS ON THE VERGE, so please send me your details and I will put them in the mail. The rest of you who haven’t won, send me your details too and I’ll send you a signed book plate. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve loved reading about all your road trip memories and favorite songs!