Thursday, June 4, 2009
A key reason I began blogging long ago was to offer an honest account of what goes into getting a book published (first with Mom's Cancer, now with WHTTWOT) and what that experience is like. With that mission in mind, I feel honor-bound to report that I'm a little anxious right now.
Some advance copies of WHTTWOT have gone out to reviewers at newspapers, magazines, websites and other media, and more are on their way. Of course, you just hope your book makes enough of an impression that someone thinks it's worth reviewing in the first place. No reactions yet, but Editor Charlie reports hearing hints of good things through the sensitive network of nerves he has snaking throughout the book and comics worlds. I feel like Jodie Foster in the movie "Contact," intently listening to white noise through my headphones, trying to pick patterns of meaning out of the remorseless interstellar static.
Some actors say they never watch their own movies or read their own reviews. I totally get that. I rarely open either of my books because I tend to focus on flaws I can no longer fix (in fact, I found my first mistake in WHTTWOT during my webcast--just a maddening little art error, nothing substantive or factual, we'll see if anyone notices). Although there's no real downside to a good review, the problem with a bad review is that, even if the reviewer is right, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't say, "You know, you make a very good point, I'll fix that immediately." For better or worse, I'm stuck with it. I'm semi-seriously thinking of just flagging reviews as they come and asking my wife Karen to read them first. Let her decide if I can take it.
Luckily, I have an actual adult life to put everything into proper perspective and enough work to keep me distracted. In the big scheme of things--even in the little scheme of my immediate life, family and livelihood--how my next book is received is not very important. And I'm actually very confident I produced a book that at least some readers will find well worth their time and money. Once in a while, though, I can't help but wallow.