One of the scariest things about being an author is book reviews. I had no idea.
A lot of reviews are unanticipated—the ones that show up on Amazon. Of those, there are the fun reviews, written by friends who aren’t writers, but read your book and loved it. Of course, an odd moment inevitably follows when you realize that they’re shocked that you could have written it and you wonder how much of a loser they think you are. But you let it go because you realize that they loved you even though they thought you were a loser, which is very cool.
Back to reviews. There are reviews written by strangers—they are the ultimate authorial experience. A complete stranger falls in love with your novel. Total rush. And, of course, there are the total loon reviews (thankfully, I’ve been spared these so far), where someone, who is most likely a sadist, decides you and your book are an appropriate punching bag. Not much you can do about those reviews except hope said person gets struck by lightning—just kidding, sort of.
Then there are the reviews you anticipate. Where either you ask a reviewer to consider your book or a reviewer contacts you and says they will be reviewing your book. These are wonderful opportunities. But too scary. (Talk about stress dreams.) You can’t help but wonder, what if my novel has spinach between its front teeth. Just because no one has noticed it thus far doesn’t mean it’s not there. Or what if this reviewer doesn’t connect to my main character or my plot or my voice? Those things happen.
A week or two ago a reviewer told me that she’d be reviewing Screwing Up Time. Yesterday, I got an email saying that she really enjoyed it. PHEW! I wanted to throw a party and dance around the house. Instead, I emailed my writing buddies, told my husband and sons (“That’s nice, Mom”), and made my daughter read the email on my laptop screen. So my blood pressure has returned to normal, that nervous twitch near my eye has disappeared, and I’m becoming more certain that my novel doesn’t have spinach between its teeth. At least, I’ll be convinced until I’m waiting for the next review.
1. When the review and an author interview come out at the end of the month, I’ll post a link.