Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Good and The Bad

THE LIFE OF GLASS will be out in just over two weeks, which means two things for me right now: One, my blog tour & awesome blog tour contest start to-morrow!!, and two, I’m in the midst of prime review time for the book. This means nearly every time I open up my e-mail I’ve been seeing another Google alert with yet another review on there.

I’ve blogged before about reviews, about how waiting for that first one is one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve gone through as a writer. And I’m not sure it’ll ever get any easier for me. This is my second book, so I’ve been through this once before (doesn’t matter, still not any easier.)

I’ve been really fortunate to have received a good number of glowing reviews for THE LIFE OF GLASS so far, including, some gorgeous pre-publication blurbs from Beth Kephart and Cecilia Galante, very, very nice reviews from both Kirkus and Booklist, a review from BookPage that was so beautiful it made me cry, and, just today, amazing reviews from both The Compulsive Reader and The Shelf Elf.

And yet, I have also seen one or two that are not so glowing. I understand that not everyone is going to like my book, and honestly, I’m okay with that. There are plenty of books I love that other people don’t and vice versa. But it is still hard to read and brush it off and forget about it, because even if I get 50 glowing reviews and one bad one, it’s the bad one that sticks in my head far longer. Why is that?

I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because a book, words, something I created is, in a way, a part of me. Every compliment feels personal, and every negative comment, even more so. Or maybe it’s some sort of deep seeded insecurity – I hang onto these negative comments, this little voice in the back of my head wondering, wondering, could it be . . . right?

One thing every author knows is that we can’t (or we shouldn’t) respond to negative reviews, and I don’t. Ever. Which is sometimes hard when I see things written about my books that are just plain factually inaccurate or completely misread. Which is hard because sometimes a book feels like a child, who you might want to defend (even if you should really just let them battle it out on the playground themselves.). It’s hard because, also, deep down, don’t we really all crave positive feedback? Don’t we all want people to like us, to like anything that’s a part of us?

My point is, I guess, that having a book come out, being in the midst of all these reviews is like being on a merry-go-round with constant ups and downs and highs and lows. There are moments when I read a review so lovely that it brings tears to my eyes, and moments where I read things that just make me feel pretty awful.

Someone recently suggested to me that I just stop looking, that I turn off the Google alerts and just look away. I have other things to do. Other books to write and revise. But I can’t stop looking. Good or bad, I feel like I need to know.

The funny thing is, I did not sit down and intend to write this post. I intended to write about my blog tour (the details of which, I will, I’m certain, bombard you with over the next three weeks!) But just before I opened up my blog, I logged onto Goodreads, and there I saw some new reviews and ratings of both THE SEPTEMBERS SISTERS and THE LIFE OF GLASS. And there I felt compelled to check them out. And there I saw that someone who I knew in high school – not someone who was a friend or an enemy but just an acquaintance -- gave one of my books a low rating. She is, of course, entitled to her opinion. But as she left only a rating and not a review, I began to wonder, why she didn’t like the book? Or, was it me she didn’t like – had she hated me back in high school and I hadn’t known? Did I ever really talk to her in high school? I couldn’t remember.

Coming up in the next three weeks, you’ll be able to read a bunch of interviews and guest posts and reviews of THE LIFE OF GLASS, and you can learn a lot about me and how I came to write this particular book and what’s up next for me as a writer and how I feel about beauty. But today I give you this, a glimpse into what’s going on in my head, as my book is about to journey into the world.


Maureen Lipinski said...

She's just jealous. :) And yeah, the bad reviews always stick the longest.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I can't imagine. I'm not sure if I could read the bad ones. I might have to have someone read through them and only give me neutral or positive ones. At least until I had a bottle of wine ready. ;)

Anonymous said...

WHAT!? I just finished this book last night, and read it ALL in a day and a half, it was soooo good! I really liked the courtney character and how she started so many problems. Keep writing!