Wednesday, July 30, 2014

rambling thoughts about writing, reviews, etc etc etc

I love doing research

ANY kind of research.

I was one of those nerdy kids who thought writing a term paper was just the coolest.

Sitting in a library surrounded by books, writing on index cards - loved it!

But then I grew up and I became a secretary.

Now my life consisted of sitting in an office answering the phone and typing other people's notes and research.

Then I got a little older and realized, "Hey!  My real life is NOT confined to this office!"

I decided I wanted to do "stuff!"

I wanted to not be too tired to do fun things with Donald

I wanted to take pictures

I wanted to write

Truth of the matter is, it wasn't until I had a piece published in a regional anthology and received about enough "Attaboys!" from the people I worked with - make that "worked for," for me to realize it was past time to move on.

And why this is coming out today?

Well, actually, I have no idea.

I started out wanting to write something entirely different, but this is just what came out.  Guess it was time, huh?

Anyhooooo  -  I'm going to get back on track and tell you what I started out wanting to say.  It does, truly, tie together in a tangled sort of way.

When we first write a novel and we first start seeing reviews pop up at amazon, a lot of those reviews are from friends and family.  And they mean a great deal.  They help validate our efforts.  And they help balance out the really bad One Star reviews that crush our spirits.  And, in many cases, that is exactly what they're meant to do.  Not to be critically helpful, but to crush us.   And, admittedly, in my case - it worked.  I cried some mighty big tears.

I mean.




But then I realized, hell's bells, I was crying some mighty big tears over those great reviews too.  And in my own convoluted way of thinking, I decided, tears are tears - just let 'em flow.

'Course, what I really wanted to do was write back and say ugly words to the ugly people who said ugly words about a piece of my heart.

But, of course, I didn't.

But only because my friend Deborah Crombie reminded me that I just could not do that.  'Course, Deborah Crombie is also a much nicer person than I am . . .   She's also a brilliant writer, and an author who encourages other writers.  I'm proud to call her friend, and she's a person I listen to (even if I'm just eavesdropping on things she's actually saying to someone else).

Then there are those good and great reviews being written by people we don't know.


And we wonder how they even heard about our work.

And we're stunned.

And even more stunned that they took the time to write a review.

And we're grateful.

and humbled.

And we realize this is how it was supposed to work, but we maybe didn't realize it would work for us.  For "me."

All the promotion we worried about being too much is maybe paying off after all (but, was probably still too much).

And those people who do like our work are telling other people, and so it goes.

And we're just about getting used to all that.



Here's the cool thing.

The VERY cool thing that is happening to me and to Whimsey right now.

Since doing the three-day give-away at amazon's kindle store, I have started receiving reviews from new readers.

Some of those 3,000 people who took advantage of the give-away are starting to leave reviews.

I am stunned by the fact that Whimsey found its way to 3,000 new readers.

Brand new readers have discovered my Whimsey a year and a half after publication.

The word of mouth thing we all hope for is starting to pay off.

Now, don't get me wrong - I do know some of the people are going to hate it.  And they're going to say things that will make me cry.  But right now, the people who are leaving reviews and saying nice things are making me cry.  So. I'm back to my tears are tears - just let 'em flow thing.  I mean, really, what else can you do?

I'm sure there are many answers - including don't read the reviews.


That may be something a seasoned writer with loads of confidence can do.


I'm going to go read the reviews and I'm going to cry.

good tears/bad tears - I'm gonna cry.

What does any of this mean?

I have NO idea.

Maybe it's just that writing is, at least for me, a tear inducing labor of love.

And that it is way past time for me to get back to my Whimsey #2 manuscript.  Because people - people I have never met - have asked for it.



Maureen Harrington said...

Wise words from a wise woman and her wise friends. <3

Anonymous said...

I loved this charming piece!!!! Haven't heard "hell's bells" in ages!!! Must be a Southern thing! What AM I doing up north??? Thelma Straw in hotterthanhell Manhattan!!!

Deborah Crombie said...

So glad something I said was helpful, dear Kaye!! (I love that pic of the four of us, by the way; you, me, Marcia Talley, and Kate Charles. The Bestest!) And I love the pic of you and Harley writing!

And I still say DON'T READ THE REVIEWS. I know it's hard not to, and every once and awhile I break my own rule, and I'm almost always sorry, even most of the reviews are very, very nice, and I know the few mean ones are not really about the book, but about whatever axe that person has to grind with the world. BUT, even the good ones tend to twist your perception of your work, and you start to worry about what people will think about this plot line, or that character.

And we should all just write our own books, the books we have in our heads.

So glad to hear you're working on Whimsey #2!

(And I've just put dropped the page proofs of TO DWELL IN DARKNESS at the UPS store. Yay!!!

big hugs!



Jill said...

A nice post, Kaye. So glad you are working away on Whimsey 2! I have always thought that there is a way to say that you don't like something without being an ass. Some folks just can't do that...because they are an ass in everything they do and it serves no purpose. Creative criticism is another thing and it helps creative people in their thinking. It is also done in a helpful way. However it should not be what drives us or changes us. Keep writing and enjoy those good reviews, because you deserve them.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

So excited you're working on Whimsey 2! And congratulations on all the wonderful reviews. But reviews can be hard to stomach! I only read mine when I'm feeling in a very strong, confident mood. :)

kk said...

From one Kay to another Kaye... Very glad you're working on Whimsey #2. Live the life you've imagined. Go for it! It's lovely to see you're doing just that.