Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Love My Book?

Yesterday I received print copies of my new book, OUT OF THE BLUE, from The Wild Rose Press. I was elated to have the actual book in my hand. The cover is great; the people at TWRP were lovely to work with. Now all I have to worry about is how readers will receive this book. Picture me wringing my hands and looking worried. Will readers like my baby?

Most writers have fragile egos. We want everyone to love our creations and value us as authors. We know it’s impossible to please everyone, but we still want everyone to love our work. We’ve spent hours conjuring up the plot and characters, spent more hours recording the characters’ problems, exploits, and triumphs. Each book is a part of the author and has been painfully wrenched from our subconscious. We say love me, love my book.

I occasionally have critiquers question my work in progress (WIP). Even constructive criticism sends me into a panic. Oh, no, I think, now I have to completely rewrite this story. No, what will I do? Am I crazy to have written it this way? What’s wrong with me? I’ll never be the new Nora Roberts now. Okay, I know I can never be as successful as Nora. Who can? Still, I have my dreams.

Suggestions from critiquers are usually excellent. If they conflict with my vision for the book, then I usually sleep on it and consider each criticism carefully. When the comments would change the entire focus of my lead character and/or affect my secondary characters, I wince. Rewrite the entire book? Probably I will tweak the book, but not make all the changes suggested. The characters are real to me, so I determine their actions.

Most writers depend on critiques. They are helpful, even when the writer doesn’t agree. Critiques make us think about how others will perceive this story and its characters. For instance, in one book I said a chaparral ran across the road. In rural Texas, we see chaparral often. A friend questioned the word. I told her that was the real name for a road runner. She was astonished--she thought those were only in cartoons. //so maybe that wasn't a good read for a Northern reader.  
I never get angry at a critique. For one thing, receiving a critique means I’ve asked someone for his or her opinion. That means I value that person’s opinion and expertise. I realize the end responsibility is mine. This is my vision, a world I’m creating, and I bear the end result. So, I’ll continue to ask these excellent writers’ opinions, but it’s still MY BOOK. I don’t think that makes me a diva. And it doesn’t mean my ego is no longer fragile. It means that I want my book to be the best I can write! I hope readers will love OUT OF THE BLUE. Blatant self promotion--the link to buy OUT OF THE BLUE is found on the right.


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Gorgeous cover Caroline!

Avery Michaels said...

I love that cover! It is absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to read the book.