There's been a bit of author drama on the interwebz again this week. I'm not sure if they've been temporary meltdowns or more cases of Authors Behaving Badly, but either way - dude, be nice to your readers!
I love my readers! I adore each and every one of you. I would write even if I had no readers, but ya'll make it so much more fun. You give me inspiration. You motivate me to put my butt in the chair and write. And most of all, you give me friendship. Even if I've never met you or communicated with you, we love the same books and characters, so I know I like you. And since they're my books and characters, I know you're extra awesomely amazing. Haha!
Yes, there are times I feel like I answer the same questions over and over again when the answers seem to be everywhere you find my name. There are times when I want to run to my bed, hide under the covers, and cry, "I don't care that you're just a mean old troll, you're so right that your dog could excrete a better story out of his butt." (OMG, thank God I never got a review like that! I'd seriously die!)
The most common question I get: "When is the next book coming out? I'm dying here!!!!" I answer it several times a day, although it's on my website (look over in the sidebar), on Facebook in multiple posts and comments, and everywhere else because people are always asking me. At least, I feel like it's everywhere because it's such a big piece of my life. And I admit that each time I'm asked, it makes me feel all kinds of pressure, and fear, too. Fear that I'm letting my fans down because I can't write fast enough and they're hating me for it. I don't want to disappoint!
But go off on a public rant about readers or their reviews? Insulting my fans? Hell, no! Because I know the reality is that each and every review means a stranger read my book. Even if they didn't like it, they gave me a chance, and I really can't ask for more than that. Each and every question is someone showing that they love my books. And I can only be grateful for that because I never expected to be living this dream that I do. I never expected a single fan, especially one who cares enough to take time out of their busy lives to write me a message.
Yes, we put blood, sweat, and tears - and a part of our souls - into writing a book. It's not an easy thing to do, and it's often life-changing. We feel we are a part of our books and our books are a part of us as human beings. Our characters are real people, and we feel their emotions along with them, even when we're not writing. Their stories leak into our daily lives as we're trying to fulfill our other roles of employee, spouse, parent, child, sibling, church member, and overall contributor to society. Writing a book takes so much out of us because we put so much into it. It's hard work, but it comes out of a passion and a need in our souls.
But it does not put us up on some holier-than-thou pedestal just because we accomplished finishing a novel.
And here's the thing - once our book is published, and especially when readers like it and we start to build a fan base, we have crossed over into another place. We are now living a dream. We are experiencing what kids fantasize about - what we once fantasized about. We have reached a place that we've ached to be in with every fiber of our hearts and souls. We are writing stories and getting paid for it.
Although our books might change someone's perspective on life, we are not soldiers, EMTs, firefighters, cops, doctors, nurses, or anyone else in life-or-death situations. Our books don't protect people's safety and security or ensure they can provide another week of food and shelter for themselves and their families. We are a lot closer to Hollywood entertainers than we are to the heroes on the front lines. And that most definitely means we cannot stand on a pedestal, believing we're better than everyone else, slinging mud in their faces simply because we feel justified to go off on a rant every now and then.
Yes, we all need to vent to release some pressure. That's what the privacy of our own homes is for. Not in public. Not at the grocery store and not on the interwebz. And most certainly not to the very people who allow us to live this dream.
This my rant. Send out love and love will come back. And whether it comes back to me or not, I'm sending out the love to all of you. You are my world, and I'm so grateful to have you here with me. I wanted to make sure you knew that.