I have come to the most unsettling realization that I am apologetic about my work. I see a positive five star review and I'm thrilled, but deep down those never feel real. Then I read a one or two star and I nod along to the review. "Yes, it IS choppy." "Yes, I should have had Ari do X or Y or Z." "Yes, damn, I wish I could have fixed that."
See, I hate one and two star reviews, but it's not because they make me mad. They make me sad for the reader. I hate that I didn't produce something that he or she enjoyed. I hate that they feel their time was wasted. But I can't control whether or not that person enjoys my books. See, I am not one of those writers that ever wants to lash out at a reviewer, good or bad, because I tend to think my books are still unfinished. And the truth is, they are.
We are put on extreme deadlines in publishing. This means that I may have two weeks to edit something that should take two months. I may have hours to review copyedits, when I need days. The entire process is so intense that when I finally click send to my editor I close my eyes and I never allow myself to look at the book again.
But that stops now.
I am fortunate to be published, but the truth is, I am still learning. Yes, I said it. I am still learning. And if you're a writer, it's okay that you say it, too. I am sickly jealous of those that do it perfectly the first time, but that isn't me. Sorry. BUT I have learned (see I used that word again) that with each book I get better. The plotting is better. The characters are better. The writing is better. And I hope I forever feel that I need to learn. It keeps me grounded.
Last week my publisher put the title "Bestselling" before GRAVITY, and my publicist said from now on I could put "Bestselling Author" before my name. So what does that mean exactly? It means that while I am still learning, there are people out there enjoying my books. MY books. So, for them, I am going to stop apologizing for my work. I am going to be proud and have faith in myself. And I hope you will read this and find the will to have faith in yourself, too.
Writerly love your way,