Well, at least for me, one of my greatest fears is the dreaded review, especially when I write in a new genre. Being a multi-genre author, I have always stuck to either contemporary fiction or chick lit. However, I must confess that I've always had a weakness for the smart-talking, wiseass type of characters I watch in film noir movies. You know what I mean, the down and out detective or investigative reporter, going great guns against all odds to dig up the truth. Meanwhile, he (yes, it's usually a "he") is battling with either a drinking problem, or maybe he smokes too much, or he just cannot have that sexy dame he finds wildly attractive and who is driving him to distraction.
My love of these types of movies have led me to write the first of a modern and contemporary mystery/suspense series with a female protagonist. Right from the start of the story she's got a chip on her shoulder about men, as she has been dumped by a cheating husband; she's got the hots for a younger man (she's 48 years old, by the way); she dislikes cops because she was prevented from joining the force by none other than a man; she's assertive, sassy and a real smartass with an attitude. She's very much like a film noir hero. But I'm digressing...
I set out to blog about an author's greatest fear -- the book review -- well, at least it is for me. What will people think of my work? Oh, the nerve-wracking drama of it all as I wait for my first review!
The interesting thing is that I don't fear so much the reviews from readers; although I want those readers to like my work and become fans of my novels. This aside, however, I just need to know that my peers think that my work is good enough. Yes, this is a sign of insecurity; plus, we are usually our own worst critics. Most actors suffer from it, even the really famous ones; artists feel the same way, and so do authors. Therefore, as soon as I finished writing my first mystery/suspense with my older female protagonist, Mia Ferrari, I sent a complimentary copy to one author who I consider to be at the top of her genre (mystery/suspense), and whom I esteem greatly. Her name, Darcia Helle. Then, while I waited for her to read my story, I prayed that she would like it.
I know Darcia is a straight shooter (pardon the pun) when it comes to reviews, and she won't gloss over them. If she likes the story, she'll say so and if not, she'll tell you why. So you can imagine my relief when she gave me a wonderful review. Okay, so I was happy that I wasn't shot down (again, pardon the pun) in flames by someone who has a lot more experience than me in this kind of genre.
The big surprise, however, came when I started to get reviews from other authors who purchased my work and read it. One of them was romance author, Gloria Antypowich, who posted a wonderful review of my novel on Amazon and on her blog. Then, there was Aussie author Charles Jackson, who also gave me a great review.
My novel has been purchased by many people, some of them leave reviews and some don't, but to me the biggest honour is when peers who read my work take the time from their busy schedules to leave a review. This says they truly liked my work, and nothing could be sweeter to me ... well, it would come close to that film option from George Clooney or Clint Eastwood! Hehehehehe.
So what's my point? Personally, as an author, I find it more scary to get reviewed by my peers than by the public in general. Don't ask me why, but there it is. That's not to say that the general public are not discerning enough when they review something they've read. Don't get me wrong; I've seen some fantastic reviews posted by readers of my and other authors' work. And whether the review is favourable or not, it doesn't matter. The feedback is what is important.
Still, it's little wonder that with all this anxiety about reviews authors are often driven to drink. LOL. Thankfully, I'm not a big drinker, so I am driven to cappuccinos and pizza, just like Mia Ferrari :-)
Wow! I am honoured and humbled that my novel "The Soul Bearers" has not only been getting some rave reviews, but has now made it to Editor's Choice on the Breakthrough Bookstore!
I worked long and hard on this novel, which started out by being a screenplay in 1997, and which I adapted into a novel in 2000. After counteless drafts and having worked on it for 13 years, it's fantastic to see that it's getting such wonderful reviews and the recognition it deserves!
Now I'm waiting for Robert Redford or George Clooney to come along and buy the film rights to it :-)
This morning I woke up, feeling rather sorry for myself and wondering why life has to be so difficult at times. Anyway, I made myself a coffee (coffee always helps to hold misery at bay, especially if you're a writer. LOL), and then I switched on my computer to check my emails and found this lovely, wonderful message from an author who apparently read my book "The Soul Bearers". This was not a "giveaway" copy or a solicited review at all; this came from the reader's own experience after she read my book (which I assume she must have purchased). The double bonus is that she's an author herself--and I know that we authors make the hardest critics. Therefore, I am honoured, thrilled and grateful to have received this review. It certainly made my day--and made the last 13 years that I spent working on this novel worth every minute of it (yes, it took that long because I went crazy with drafts and edits and more edits. Hehehehe).
So here is what author, Gloria Antypowich, had to say:
"Sylvia--I just finished "The Soul Bearers" last night. This book really touched my heart--and I want to hug you. It truly is "a story about great human courage and unconditional love in the face of adversity". It is controversial subject matter, but real life for many in this world. I think this is one of those stories that needs to be read. It is a wonderful book that should make people think about how circumstance, judgement, betrayal, deep friendship and unconditional love and great human courage can affect lives. I have a wonderful daughter-in-law who I am going to buy this book in paperback for; she will feel the same way I do about it and she will share it with many. I did leave a review on Amazon for your book. Thank you for your work."
When a writer gets wonderful feedback like this, it certainly makes the months or years we spend toiling over a book worth every second.
I wrote back to Gloria, and informed her that The Soul Bearers is not out in paperback format yet, but if her daughter-in-law wants to read it, I'll be happy to give her a complimentary copy through Smashwords and she can download it to her computer, if she doesn't have an e-reader.
Well, thanks to Gloria, I am now going to have a wonderful day! :-)
Author Sylvia Massara's: