Friday, August 9, 2013

Have faith in your work.

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,



  1. I so needed to read this today. Thank you for your honesty. It's encouraging to fellow authors.

    1. I am so glad this post made you feel better today. It was difficult to write, but something I think we all need to hear from time to time.

  2. I just want to say that I love your book! 'Gravity' is amazing and I loved every second I spent reading it.

    Now obviously your book(s) won't be for everyone that's just how it is. There's no such thing as a perfect book (in my opinion) and we as readers will always wish one or two things happened differently but this is YOUR book and YOUR story to tell, we just have to trust your judgement.

    I think it's great that you're still learning and are in fact still WILLING to learn new things to improve yourself/your work in the future but please don't try to please us all. Because then you'll end up writing the book you THINK we want to read instead of the book YOU want us to read.

    P.S. Ari rocks! she's so cool and I cannot wait to learn more about her in book 2 and you're an amazing Author so please don't apologize for your work. ever. It's fantastic just the way it is.

    1. Well, you just made me cry. :) Thank you. I'm so glad you're enjoying the series. You are very wise to say that we, as authors, cannot please everyone. We can't. And at some point, we just have to tell the story that's in us and hope it finds a home. I'm so thrilled that my books have made their way to you!!

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  5. Lovely honest post! I agree that we're all still learning, and we need to be honest with ourselves about it but not over the top judgmental about our work. Which is what I tend to do. Anyway, thanks for posting, and I think your book is great! Looking forward to the next one.

  6. Melissa,
    You are amazing, and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. I adore your books. Ever since I finished the first chapter of Gravity I was hooked. You can't please everyone. Reading is so incredibly subjective and not everybody is going to enjoy the same thing. But... And I think you know this by now... You are amazing to me! You are one of my favourite authors in the world and I will religiously read everything you come up with... Because to me you are incredible! Right from when I first started reading Gravity I was blown away by your world building, character building, incredibly writing style and amazing creativity to write such a fantastic and heart-stoppingly phenomenal book.

    I know that you will get better and better the more you write because everybody improves with practice no matter what they do. But to me, and I'm sure plenty of others too, you were already fantastic to start with so that means when you do get better, you're going to be phenomenal and unstoppable.

    I heart you so much


  7. STOP reading anything below a four - works wonders! :) Anyway - I just came by to grab some graphics and saw this... and I do the same thing. So there you go. You're completely normal. <3

  8. I'm so happy for your "Best seller" status! You've worked so hard and deserve it.