Navigating a Debut Year: Once Your Book is in the World

On Finding Satisfaction in Publication:
Nothing I write will work for every reader. I can only guarantee that it works for me.
On Negative Reviews:
Think about your absolute favorite book of all time. We all have one. A book we love, one that’s practically perfect in every way. Got the book in mind? Now go to GoodReads. Look the book up. Filter the reviews for 1-stars (because I promise you, it does have one stars). And smile. Because if people can rate your favoritest book in the whole world with one star, then of course people can rate your book that way, too.
Beth Revis (read the entire post here)
On Evaluating a Book’s Worth:
Few books are perfect. If you read like a writer you must read to gain what you can from each book, so reading then becomes a generous act. I tell my students they must learn to be generous readers, and judge each book not by whether it’s the book they would have written but by whether it fulfilled the writer’s apparent intention for it.
On Remembering What Matters:
Words on the page. That’s what was important to us before we were striving to be published…Eventually, all of the glamour and the shine will fade away. The quarter that was dropped into the hype machine will expire, and the machine will go still and cold. But the story will remain. New readers will still find it, even if it’s only available in garage sales. And today’s readers will still remember it. It’s our job as writers to create a story we’ll still be proud of then.
Lauren DeStefano (read the entire post here)
On Relinquishing Control:
Once a book is published, it no longer belongs to me. My creative task is done. The work now belongs to the creative mind of my readers. I had my turn to make of it what I could; now it is their turn. I have no more right to tell readers how they should respond to what I have written than they had to tell me how to write it. It’s a wonderful feeling when readers hear what I thought I was trying to say, but there is no law that they must. Frankly, it is even more thrilling for a reader to find something in my writing that I hadn’t until that moment known was there. But this happens because of who the reader is, not simply because of who I am or what I have done.
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  1. says

    What a wonderful idea for a post. These quotes were so inspiring and so dead-on. Am going to add a bookmark to it in my “inspirations” folder. Also, it looks like we read some of the same blogs. :-)

  2. says

    I love these inspiring words, Caroline. Brilliant words of wisdom. Thank you so much for sharing them. I especially like this: “New readers will still find it, even if it’s only available in garage sales. And today’s readers will still remember it. It’s our job as writers to create a story we’ll still be proud of then.”

    I’ve actually thought this before about The Healing Spell! Isn’t that funny? That even though it didn’t do what my publisher (and me) were hoping for it, that there will be readers/kids down the road who will find it in the libraries or garage sales and that it can still touch someone’s life.

    Hope your weekend in the snowy mountains was fabulous!

    • says

      It was wonderful! I took a long hike, and it felt like eating a nourishing meal — exactly what I needed. The writing/critique time was wonderful, too.

      I’ve always thought the same about books, too. I think of the ones I’ve found (and fallen in love with) at garage sales, Goodwill, library sales, etc. It’s like they’re waiting for the perfect reader.

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