Sunday, April 14, 2013

First Review!

   
Editor gave you her blessing and sighed with relief, probably even ran for the nearest bar to celebrate like it's her birthday. (She deserves it after what correcting all those mental, grammatical, and developmental errors you put her through) Check.
Cover agreed. Check.
Identifiers. Check.
Pricing. Check.
Promotion. Check.
Release. Check.
   And here's where the fun begins. The part of the process when your novel is out of your hands, out of your safe circle of readers (safe unless you have a hyper critical father and spouse like mine...Hugely Critical), family, friends, supporters, and it goes out there into the hands of a complete stranger who will either love or hate (hopefully not be completely unaffected with) your story.
   Sales pick up, a tiny but significant spike in downloads. Friends tell you their friends got it and started reading it.
   You wait anxiously for a row of stars (and you pray for 5) appears on your book page on Amazon.

   Two days later, you begin to imagine people torching the
novel, a justification of those pesky insecurities that plagued you when the plot gave you its first glitch or when your editor gave you a long paragraph that starts with "I don't get it. Really? Please rewrite" and more than likely a skyward roll of the eyes.
   On the third day you're trying to stay calm and suddenly remember that shipping a book takes time, (unless it's an ebook) and reading a novel is a commitment our modern lives seldom allow.
   And then...it happens.



    
   Whether through a social outlet, an email or because you religiously check your book page on Amazon, you see it: The First Review! (insert heavenly chorus here)
   Initially you don't care what it says. You got one! Your novel mattered enough to someone to write something about it! Mission accomplished!
   Deep breath. It's time to see what the reader wrote.
   It's so much easier to double-click after seeing five golden stars. Two or one require a quick visit to the sidebar for a shot of liquid courage.
   If that reader found a way to make a connection with your characters and their situations, chances are you will either a) do a hideous happy dance better reserved for highly private displays. Or b) (especially if you're an emotional wreck like me) your eyes will
turn liquid as a sense of validation courses through your veins.
   Now you're a veteran. 
   You can expect more will follow in due time.
   You can expect not every one will be a five stars and you can most definitely expect you may shed tears for entirely different reasons.
   Reviews are powerful, and don't we just wish like hell more people took that time to let the fragile-egoed, insecure author inside of us know what you did for them?
   The first one is there for the world to see. Your novel, your work, has been accepted by a reader!
   Celebrate your reviews. I wish you all, my author friends a million of them. Now if you'll excuse me, I shall go perform my very private, hideous happy dance...

   Javier A. Robayo