Saturday, February 2, 2013

Surviving: A Writer's Journey to New Jersey

I recently returned home to my parents house (the house I spent time in from age 0-18). There I encountered siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, an uncle, my parents, and their friends. It was very interesting to get their unsolicited feedback regarding the books I have published. Many of them had purchased TRAIL SWAP, my first book.

The feedback I received was a mixture. Nobody was brave enough to come outright and say it sucked. I am thankful for that. It is hard to take such criticism in front of a room full of family and family friends. My parents are very popular in town and have friends who have known me since I was just a pup. One women was so excited about my book, and requested I write the name of the book down. I not only did that, but wrote the two other books I had published. She also asked how she would buy it for her Nook which I briefly walked her through that process. She was so excited and stated how she knew it was so hard to get published.

New Publishing Game: So, I briefly described that I had not been required to jump through all the hoops that one goes through to get a book deal, and be picked up by an publisher or acquire an agent. I described very briefly among clanging glasses, screaming/laughing children, and televisions blaring how the ebook world is emerging. Yes, I let the cat out of the bag gently. I did not outright say, "It could suck, have 1 million errors, and make no sense and still be published."

"The Kind of Book I Like is. . . ": Then I conversed with people who started by saying, "Oh, so I heard you wrote a book. The kind of book I like is . . ." Then they proceded to tell me the genre of book they read. Suspense, thriller, mystery, romance, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, etc. It was interesting to hear what people liked. It was even more interesting to know that my book was nowhere near any of those categories.

Kill someone in the first page: Then there was my uncle who thinks he is funny. Sometimes he is. He asked, "Does someone die in the first page? I only read books that people die in the first page." Somehow this stuck with me. I do realize especially in today's Attention Deficit, impulsive, instant gratification world, that I have to capture readers in the first page. Today things are so fast paced that it is almost as if you have to revert back to newspaper article writing by putting all the what, why, who, when, how in the first paragraph. Like Blues Travelers say you need a hook.

You're in it. Then there was telling my oldest nephew that he was a character in the book. I had forgotten since I wrote it so long ago, and only published it recently. That spurred him to say, "Now I have to read it."

All in all, it was my first time experiencing this type of feedback. It was nice knowing people were excited and reading my books. It was also scary, and that was my biggest issue. I was scared people I knew would not like the book.

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