I’ll never ask if you’ve read my book.

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.

I don’t take readers lightly

This is one of those ‘remember how blessed you are posts’.

I’m just very thankful for my readers.

Every time I sell a book, I remember what went into that buyer’s decision.  The potential reader, perhaps, got a recommendation from a friend and then clicked on a link to read about my book. The potential reader then had to weigh in their mind if the price of my book was worth the possible enjoyment they would receive by reading it. Then the potential reader consciously decides that he or she wants to read my book and presses “purchase”, downloading it to their reading device.  And though Beauty Rising isn’t very expensive, it still requires hard-earned dollars, dollars which could be spent on a million other desires or needs but have been allocated to me. That’s very humbling.

That’s so humbling that it makes me want to be a better writer. It makes me want to write better stories that readers will even enjoy more. (Though I don’t write for the readers. More on this topic later in a different post.)

So to all of you readers who spent the time and money to read my first novel, THANK YOU.  I appreciate your kind and encouraging words. I certainly will take your critiques into consideration.  I thank you for choosing my book over many other options.

And I’ll do my best to make sure my next novel is even more enjoyable.

-mws

When it’s not good enough. (It keeps you humble.)

I’m (hopefully) very close to completing a second master’s degree – this one in Humanities with a history concentration.

My thesis is now in the hands of “The Committee”, as each committee member reads and gives me feedback.

My mentor sent me back a copy of it last week, and I was sad to see that it wasn’t good enough yet.  All that work researching and writing still hadn’t risen it to the level needed.

At first, naturally, I felt disappointed because I want it to be finished! But as I looked at my mentor’s comments, they drove me back into my books, and to my surprise, he was right. My thesis needed more context in certain areas.

I spent all day last Saturday reading, writing and revising. Did a final read-through on Sunday and I had to admit – it was better! Much better.

Oh, writing is a humbling business!

It’s probably a good thing. I’m learning new writing lessons, day by day, and they all keep screaming at me two specific things:  1) readers matter  2) every piece of writing can always be improved.

I FEDEXed my thesis back to “The Committee” today and it will be routed to reader number 2. I’m expecting to be disappointed once again when I receive the comments.

But I’m also anticipating  that after another round of revisions, it will be even better.

I’ll keep taking my lumps as lessons to be learned on the way to unattainable perfection.

Process is where it’s at – not the end result.

(But I am still very anxious to complete this program!  Please? Soon?)