Where You Left Me, Vol. 1 released on Tuesday. It is the first in a series of novellas that I wanted to be sexy and fun and so far, that message is resonating! Huzzah!
The days following a release are always so stressful. Not just in terms of trying to make your money back on your investment (shocker, it’s not free to publish a book. There are cover designs and editors to pay for. Marketing, swag, etc.) There is also the very real fear of readers not enjoying this project that you’ve invested your soul into. Putting your work out, in any creative form, is a reflection of its creator, and if someone doesn’t like the work, it feels like they are also rejecting you. It is a very vulnerable place artists put themselves into.
So, just like a troupe of actors who wait to hear if there is any applause at the end of a long rehearsal project, or the painter who gets their work hung in a gallery, hoping someone will buy their art, writers wait for reviews. It’s the real test to see if what you’ve spent months on, holds water. Sink or swim.
I think sometimes readers don’t know how important reviews are. Not just for the visibility the algorithms give books with more reviews, but for the author. Not as an ego stroke, but more a validation that yes, you are on the right track. Keep going. Keep writing. You’ve got this.
For me, I look to a review more than the sales data to let me know if a book was successful. A book could sell like hotcakes but if the reviews are lukewarm? That doesn’t feel like a win to me. I’m a writer. My goal is to move you emotionally. Let you step inside someone else’s shoes for a bit. Take you on a journey. Leave you with a smile on your face. If I’ve done that, I’ve done my job. Regardless of what the bank account says. So long as there is enough money to fund the next one, I’ll keep going.
And remember: Reviews are writer fuel. Never hesitate to leave a review if you like a book. It might be just the thing that starving artist (literaly or figuratively) needs to keep on keeping on.
If you’ve never left a review on Amazon, it’s pretty easy. You search for the book by author/title, click on ratings, then there is a place to write a customer review. It can be as simple as, “I really loved this book,” to adding as many details about what you loved about it as you want. It doesn’t need to be a book report. The review is there to help readers who might be on the fence about buying. What would you say to a friend if you were recommending it? That’s what goes in a review. Easy peasy.
What these early reviews are telling me is that they want Vol. 2. It puts a fire in my belly to get that second volume out. The momentum to outline the third. They really are that important. Reviews are the cheering squad. The thing that keeps my butt in the chair. So, if you’ve ever reviewed one of my books. Thank you. You are the reason I am still writing. For real.
Until next week my friends.
Dani/Danielle Bannister, writer and reader of reviews (even the bad ones)