The signed contract! It is a thing of beauty, and something you imagined, longed for, knew one day would happen, and unbelievably here you are now with it in your hands. Of course, as a first time novelist you accept whatever the conditions- as long as they meet acceptable standards- which you can access from the ASA website.
The road to publication begins. You meet your new bestfriend (editor) and enter a new phase of work . We’ll look at all that later. For now we’re jumping ahead to after the launch, your baby’s in the book shops, and now it’s being read by people you don’t even know!
Did you ever think about that? Maybe you considered friends, colleagues, acquaintances reading your book, people who might murmur encouragingly, or avoid eye-contact altogether. But what about strangers? And that other breed of person you’ll just begin to familiarise yourself with. The critic.
Some writers say “I pay no attention at all to reviews- whether they’re good or bad.” How? I ask you that? How is anyone able to pay no attention. For then we can’t accept all the good things. All the wonderful reviews about how well crafted your story is, the tremendous impact it has, how it MUST be COMPULSORY reading. We’d have to ignore the comments from highly intelligent people, who are, like you, on the cutting edge of Australian literature- who really know where the pulse is. Disregard their opinion? I think not!
Sure, we can happily ignore the nasty ramblings of the failed writer-turned critic, who can only criticise what the book isn’t instead of what it is. Who are so far jammed up their own ivory tower they wouldn’t know what current reading trends are. Who attack even the writer- with such nastiness one has to ask- do I know you? Have I offended you in some way? Maybe I slept with your partner once?
But here’s another interesting thing- a friend of mine once pointed out that I could quote word for word the more negative comments and only summarise the positive ones! So there- the bad reviews stick with you a lot longer and hit a lot harder than the positive ones (cause yeah- that’s what you thought too!!) How do you handle it then? Take pleasure in the fact it’s your title that graces the bookshelves. You have achieved a nigh-on difficult task. To become an author. And remember you can’t please all the people all the time. And those you can’t please are obviously morons anyway!
And don’t forget the mail you receive from readers. Those readers who take the time to thank you for the story. THAT is the best review any writer can have!