A Word or Two About Reviews

One of the things that prevented me from writing and releasing a book years ago was the fear of receiving horrible reviews. For someone like me, who wrestles the self-doubt inner demon on a daily basis, the inevitability of bad reviews was just too much.

But not too long ago, I read an interesting tidbit on a writing blog: go to some of your favorite books on Amazon and read the one-star reviews. So I did. And do you know what I found? Absolutely horrible reviews for the books I’ve loved. Some were so bad I almost wanted to cry for how they must’ve made the author feel, not only how they made ME feel. These reviewers were putting down some of the most influential books I’d ever read and loved. Some of them were quite nasty about it, too.

So this was an excellent exercise, and one that I’d highly recommend to any other writers who are like me and fighting  the self-doubt monster. It puts everything completely in perspective. And although I’ve been cautioned to not read any reviews once my book is released, I feel I need to, for several reasons. Not only to see what others have liked about it, but what they didn’t like. I’ve always been quite open to constructive criticism and post-release I won’t be any different. But I’ve steeled myself against getting too emotional about negative reviews, and promised myself I will not take them personally.

My hope is to find other weirdos like me who like my book as much as I do. Make no mistake: I LOVE my book. I love my characters. I wrote the book I wanted to read, and even though I’ve read it about fifty times by now through all of the revisions and edits, I still smile and laugh at certain parts. And although I’m impatient to release it and hope it finds others who love it just as much, I must make sure it’s a quality product. I won’t put my name on anything less.

To that end, here’s a quick update on status of Legacy: in final proofing stage, roughly 75% complete. I anticipate book launch in about two weeks, or just after Lughnasadh. More to come on that.

In the meantime, I haven’t worked on Book Two for the past couple of weeks, but I’m really looking forward to getting back to work on it. There’s some really good stuff happening in it. And most likely it’ll be about 25% longer than Book One.

In the End Game

Last week, I got the manuscript for Legacy back from my editor and worked through all of the comments and changes.

This week, I’m doing final formatting of the manuscript – removing extra spaces, making sure there aren’t any orphan sentences on a page, that sort of thing – and preparing it for uploading to Amazon Direct Publishing for both the digital and print versions.

My cover artist is working on the full print cover, and once that is finalized I’ll be able to order proof copies of the book. I hope to have those in the next week or so.

So, so close now. And because of that, the pit in my stomach is constant now. But I have no fear of failure. I’ve dealt with failure my entire life, it’s no big deal. No, I’m actually afraid of success. When I started this writing journey, I did it for myself. To prove to myself that I can write and publish a story, something I’ve dreamed of doing for decades. I didn’t do it to “get discovered” or become famous.

In fact, I’d be very surprised if many people like the book at all – it’s a unique story. One that won’t appeal to a large audience. And I have no problems at all if my friends and family don’t like it.

But the story, one that started as a “what if” moment while floating in my swimming pool in the summer of 2014, wanted to be told. And so, it will be.

Current status of Book One: final formatting of manuscript
Current status of Book Two: 23K words

Music to Write By

Somewhere around the third and fourth revision of Legacy (Book One of the Keeper of the Sphere), I discovered that my choice of music to listen to while writing made a difference to my writing. I’d been listening to Celtic harp music for the most part, and while it is great for writing some scenes, it totally sucked for others.

For example, pleasant sounds of tinkling harp strings just doesn’t work for a torture scene.

No, for that you need something hard. Cruel. Mean.

So I dug out my old Nine Inch Nails CD and rewrote the scenes that were too soft.

The end result is, I think, much better. A bit gory, maybe, but it needed to be. After all, torture isn’t something neat and clean. No, it’s messy business.

While I’ve been working on Book Two, I’ve switched between the Skyrim soundtrack (three hours of nonstop music that alternates between battle stuff and sweet strains of mystical mayhem!) and other soundtracks, such as for Game of Thrones.

But today I need to write a special combat scene, and for that I need something … more. So I’m selecting the three albums I own by Wardruna, a Nordic hard folk group. That should set the scene nicely, as the music is hard-driving, make-your-pulse-pound stuff.

TL:DR: choose music appropriate for the scenes you want to write. It does make a difference.

Current status of WIP: 19K words on Book Two

Is this thing on?

Blank screen. Similar to a blank sheet of paper, back in the olden times.

Well, here goes. The start of my scribblings. I don’t have much to say right now, but in this space I plan on sharing lots of exciting things: updates on current works in progress, what I like to listen to when writing, tidbits of interesting things I’ve discovered while doing research for my writing, and much more.

So I hope you stick around or check back now and again to see what’s going on. I promise to try to make it fun and interesting for you! (Notice: I said try, so don’t be too hard on me if it’s not.)

Currently status of WIPs:

> Editor is making second pass of manuscript for Legacy: Book One of the Keeper of the Sphere Series.
> I’m about 18K words in on Book Two, which hasn’t named itself yet.