Although I've been lucky enough to maintain high reviews for INSIGHT thus far, the time will inevitably come when I have to suck it up and endure a terrible tongue lashing. Perhaps this seems rather obvious, but the pointed truth is that, as an author, it is impossible for me to please everybody. Someone, somewhere, is going to have a negative freakout over all the things they hate about my book.
To address this emotional subject, I have invited author Teri Harman to answer this one, painful interview question. Take a listen. It's definitely worth 5 minutes of your time.
Teri, authors open themselves up to unaltered public ridicule. Why would you choose such a potentially painful path? Do you hide in dark corners at night and poke yourself in painful places with a sharp needle? Is publishing a book just another dark pleasure for you?
Although my question is full of sarcasm, Teri considers this subject no laughing matter. Her response is quite serious, and very insightful.
Author Jessamyn West once said, "Talent is helpful in writing, but GUTS are absolutely essential." If you are going to put your work and yourself in the public eye, you must be prepared for and strong enough to take frequent evisceration (metaphorically, of course - this is not Tudor London, thank goodness).
When I first started writing my bi-weekly book column for Utah's ksl.com I was not prepared for the Internet lashings in the form of rude, mean, hurtful comments. As a newbie to writing for the public I had no perspective on this kind of feedback. It was hard not to take the comments to heart, to start wondering if I was a terrible writer. On many occasions, the dark space under my bed became rather inviting.
Slowly, with the help of a logical and wise husband, I realized there are two kinds of criticism: the kind that matters and the kind you completely ignore. Writing is mostly a closed door activity: seek out the valued opinion of a few, close the door to everything else. If we writers listened to every comment, opinion, review, lashing, etc. we'd never write again. Even the positive things can start to mess with your head.
Putting a novel out into the world is even worse than writing a column. Reviews are strange beasts. As the release date grew near for BLOOD MOON, once again, I found myself reading negative things about my pretty words, wanting to sit down and sob like a toddler whose Lego tower fell over. Although most of my reviews have been very positive, the few negative ones stuck in my head, had me moping around the house and seeking out chocolate solace. So I made a hard decision: I will not read reviews. Reviews are for readers, not authors. The only criticism I need to listen to on my novels is that from a few trusted writer friend beta readers and my editors.
So if you are considering being an author, ask yourself if you have the guts to take the lashings and/or ignore them. To stand in the storm or sunshine and remain unaffected. It's a glorious thing to put a book out into the world, to share your talent, but no two persons ever read the same book. Some people will love you, others will hate you. And that, I've realized, is totally okay because, after all, no one ever had any fun hiding in the dark space under the bed.
Well spoken, Teri, and speaking of well-spoken, Teri's debut novel, BLOOD MOON, released just a couple weeks ago! Rather than botch up a terrible explanation of her masterpiece, I'll share her synopsis instead.
Across town a witch is held prisoner in the derelict basement of an old Victorian house. One night as it rains, she dares to reach her filthy, scarred hand out the window. Willa, walking home from work, recognizes the pathetic hand from a recent, terrible dream.
After a daring rescue of the witch, Willa and Simon are catapulted into the alluring but dangerous world of witchcraft and the magic of The Six Gifts. Answers to all their questions are within reach, but they’ve stepped into the middle of a deadly fight for the Powers of the Earth. Do they stay, risk their lives on the promise of power, or walk away?
Teri Harman's groundbreaking debut novel, the first installment in The Moonlight Trilogy, completely reinvents the modern concept of witches and magic. With its authentic translation of the history of witches into a fresh and entertaining package with unprecedented characterization, Blood Moon is sure to capture readers from the first page.
Purchase links to BLOOD MOON: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads
Teri Harman online: facebook, twitter, website
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