Saturday, January 5, 2008

Having your work in the spotlight

I’m often asked if it bothers me having my novels judged & reviewed & evaluated by others. “Doesn’t it make you feel vulnerable?” Yes, but not the way it used to. With each new book, that vulnerability has thankfully shriveled to a mere speck compared to what it once was.

ie., When your debut comes out, your emotions are heightened and you go through the most unsettling time. After all, here's a story you created, stressed over, revised to death and now (gulp) it's out there, competing against thousands of others, many who have been doing this much longer than you have. (Note of interest: In 2005 there were over 172,000 titles published in the U.S. alone. Is it a competitive market? You bet.)

There's no way you can avoid bad reviews altogether if you plan to make this a long term career, because not everyone is going to like your work (ie., take me to a science fiction movie and I'll be clawing to get out within minutes; we all have different tastes). But should you lose sleep over it? Nah! You have more books to write, so get going already!

The Silver Compass is currently in production so I’m in “the safe zone” until reviews begin rolling in. It's as if I’m in an auditorium watching the spotlight flash around the crowd, focusing on others while I sit in the shadows, observing.

Still, when it comes to writing as a career choice, I'm in my element. Matter of fact, I can’t not write. I’d be miserable if I couldn’t. So if having my work judged by others comes as part of the package, I'm okay with that. The other option — not being published — would be worse than any bad review that ever comes my way.

19 comments:

Adam said...

I write short stories with a noir tilt to them (none publishd yet) but the idea of a bad review makes my skin itch. I guess you'd get used to it, but I can't even work up the nerve to get my blog rolling yet. Ha!

Chumplet said...

I'd take any reviews at this point, but on second thought, maybe I'll just remain under the radar until my next book.

Patry Francis said...

Enjoy the safe zone, but as a reader, I can't wait till you pass through it, and I can pick up The Silver Compass at my local B&N.

Ramona said...

I have heard others authors say "any review is a good review" cause it's so hard to get exposure and now that I see how many books were publisehd in 2005 I can see why. Ugh!!

I loved loved loved your first two novels so I also can't wait for Silver Compass.

kyla-dale said...

From the bottom of my lil old heart, I hope the spotlight shines long and hard on The silver compass (in a good way, with great reviews) *smile*

spyscribbler said...

But I'll still wish you many great reviews!

Nadine said...

I sent you and email and asked this very question months ago. I know I would feel almost naked vulnerable having something I wrote criticized!

wordman17 said...

Here's wishing yah
solid & strong reviews
for 2008!

Melissa Marsh said...

I love your attitude, Holly. :-)

Victoria said...

I guess yah'd have to let
it be water off your back right?
I don't envy yah!!

Holly Kennedy said...

Adam -- It's a new year; dive in and start posting. You'll enjoy it!

Chumplet -- It's such a catch-22, isn't it? Nobody wants a bad review, but most people also don't realize how difficult it is to get reviewed. So many books/novels are completed overlooked and the work is wonderful.

Patry -- So nice to have you pop by! I hope you're feeling better. I've thought of you often the last few months.

Ramona -- You got it! Any review is a good review.

Holly Kennedy said...

Kyla-dale and Spyscribbler -- thanks for your kinds words! What a great way to start the week.

Nadine -- Yes, you did ask me this, didn't you?


Wordman17 -- You are so kind.

Melissa -- Keep pushing on your WIP. I know your confidence will come back in a few weeks.

Larramie said...

Although you claim to be in the "safe zone" now as far as reviews, do you enter the "twilight zone" while you write, Holly?

Holly Kennedy said...

Larramie -- Yes, I do, and (big confession) I should also admit that I'm not very approachable when I'm writing.

I envy writers who are able to compartmentalize their lives, moving smoothly back and forth from kids to family to writing. However, I can't.

I get grouchy. I hate juggling anything when I'm writing.
I just wanna write.

Travis Erwin said...

Thanks for sharing your insight ion this. I'm not to this point with my writing, but I did use to ref high school football here in Texas and I got critiqued by an angry public nearly every play. Not to mention the coached breathing down my neck, I'm hoping a book review will be easier than that.

The Anti-Wife said...

You are in an enviable position. Many of us would love to know what it feels like to have even one thing published - much less three.

Therese said...

Holly, your wisdom is a good salve for me, with only 5 more weeks remaining before release day.

The long view is the one I believe in, too. Thanks for the timely reminder.

p.s. Congrats on the RT nomination!!

ORION said...

Yup! Any review is good! I say this over and over. Even if I'm described as creating an inept piece of sh** and shouldn't even be allowed to write on black boards or do graffiti...LOL
(Now don't you all start googling and try to FIND that - I made it up.
I'm a novelist.
Remember?

Trish Ryan said...

Great wisdom -- thanks for letting us benefit from your long-term view of all the parts of this career that are intimidating (says the girl waiting for her first reviews).