I know authors, actors, musicians, all insist they don't read reviews. Kevin Bacon was absolutely right when he said, " I don't read criticism of my stuff only because when it's bad, it's rough-and when it's good, it's not good enough."
I obsessively check Amazon rankings and reader reviews. No question that one small note of reproof is enough to put me in a depression so deep that there isn't enough chocolate on this earth to make me happy (and believe me, I've tried). But conversely, there are times when the self-doubt as a writer is also so strong that a complete stranger taking the time to post a positive, yea, a glowing review, is enough to sustain me for at least 24 hours before the doubt creeps in again.
ZONED FOR MURDER is our newest, full-length mystery and it's not set in any of the universes we've previously created. It's a little more serious with a higher risk quotient. It's scary to create something different. Reader expectations of who you are as a writer can force you into a mold that you might be eager to break or maybe just expand. Sometimes it works. Ask Stephen King, who can pen both Carrie and On Writing, with equal brilliance. And sometimes it doesn't. Check with Arthur Conan Doyle. He had to bring back to life a character he loathed because his readers demanded it and didn't care to read anything else he wanted to write.
So the decision to try something new? Fulfilling as an author; terrifying as a writer who needs…wait for it: outside validation that she really is an artist, not just a pretender.
So forgive me for tooting my own horn, since I just finished saying that I wanted someone else to blast it, but this review of ZONED FOR MURDER, from someone I don't know, gave me, if only briefly, the courage to write again. Because fear can paralyze the creative juices.
"I fell in love with the characters in this book, especially Maggie. I found this book entertaining and spell binding." Then she adds, "I will recommend this books to my friends."
Not only did she like it, but that critical word-of-mouth campaign that marks the success or failure of most projects – this wonderful lady was happy to participate.
Stephen King, whose books terrify me, the Northern half, but absolutely delight the Southern half, is a wise writer. I respect him enormously. He explained why he writes, "The answer to that is fairly simple—there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do."
Ain't it the truth?
I don't know if Stephen King reads reviews. I suspect not. He also said, "If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented." And perhaps for him, the check is validation enough.
But for me, I need more. Maybe I should work on that, but in the meantime, whether it's to an author with a new book, or to the plumber who just fixed your leaky toilet, taking a moment to compliment someone on a job well done may be just the thing that makes a stranger's day.
Marian, the Northern half
Zoned for Murder - Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Sullivan Investigations Mystery - e-book series
Murder Off the Books Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords