You know those anxiety dreams where you show up for a final exam that you haven’t studied for and you’re naked and on prime time TV with an audience of millions? That’s what publishing a book feels like. Your inner self is out there for all to see and criticize and—guess what—for good or ill, feedback happens.
I’ve been fortunate. With few exceptions, the response to RAVENOUS has been very supportive. Still, I get that “erk” feeling whenever someone darkens my in-box with a “check out your review here” link. Now I know what a partridge feels like in the shooting season. You’re game, baby, and someone has a rifle pointed at your butt.
Don’t get me wrong. An author (or anyone who puts their work before the public) rarely objects to constructive criticism or balanced reviews. No one is perfect. It helps to know where, as an artist, one is missing the mark. Beyond that, not everyone is going to like every book. That’s why there are 7,164 sub-genres of romance.
My only complaint about having the metaphorical gun pointed at my metaphorical tail feathers is that the intrinsic anonymity of the Internet does not enhance civilized dialogue. Which is a nice way of saying some folks are just plain off their meds some days.
Worst comment? Someone said RAVENOUS was so boring they quit reading halfway through. Unfortunately, they didn’t bother to say what they thought was missing. More dead bodies? Polyandrous android sex? Ghouls doing the can-can? Who knows?
Best comments? Well, here are some nice ones I grabbed off my website:
I urge anyone who is a fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romance to put Sharon Ashwood at the top of their list! – Night Owl Romance, Reviewer Top Pick
With its splendidly original heroine and dangerously sexy hero, surfeit of sizzling sexual chemistry and sharp writing seasoned with a generous dash of wicked wit, “Ravenous” is simply superb. – Chicago Tribune
Intriguing and darkly entertaining — not to mention sexy. Ashwood is definitely making herself right at home in this genre - Romantic Times Book Reviews
Nice, but I really like the ones from private individuals who drop an email to say, “Hey, I stayed up all night to finish this. Good work!” Those are the folks who keep me going in the cold, still hours at the keyboard.
The best, though, came when I was talking to a friend (who is also one of my beta readers) about the plot for book three. I was saying something about the heroine and she turned around and said, “No, you can’t write that. That’s wrong. Ashe wouldn’t do that.”
Oh, the proud mother moment. My characters have lives and worlds of their own and are negotiating with my readers behind my back. Alive! They’re alive!
However, I’m checking my credit card statements carefully.
I gave a few of them expensive taste.