Before I expound on this title a little, I want to amend it. I have and will ask general people in a generic way if you’ve tried one of my books before. That’s not what I’m talking about. I will never personally ask that question. I won’t corner you in a room and say with an expectant smile on my face, “Did you read my book?” Or worse yet, “Did you like my book?”
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to know if you read it or not. I do. I’m curious, always, about feedback and how different people experienced my writing. I love to hear about it, actually, but I’ll never ask.
It’s tacky. It puts the reader in an awkward spot. What would happen if the reader (a friend, perhaps) did read my work and thinks it’s a piece of garbage? How shall they respond when I ask them to describe how amazing my story really was?
I had a student approach me the other day and told me that he finished reading “The Recluse Storyteller” and that he really liked it. That made my day. That book has been out for a while and it is a little of an acquired taste, so when someone enjoyed it enough to tell me, that means a lot.
So readers, I promise you, if you ever see me in person, don’t worry, I’m not going to track you do and force a confession out of you.
But at the same time, if you do have something positive to say about a novel, writers feed off of that so don’t hold it back.
Readers are the lifeblood of our industry. They should be respected, and that means they need space. A lot of it. They need to be able to write that negative review if something doesn’t resonate, and writers have to get over it.
I’ve learned to distance myself from the outcome of my writing. I can’t control that. All I can control is what I type on my screen. That’s my part. The rest is up to the reader.
So if you don’t like my writing, go ahead and write a negative review. Be honest. But at the same time, if you’ve enjoyed the hours you’ve spent with my characters, I’d love to know that too! I just won’t ask you about it.