I don't think for a second that my feelings are unique. After all, many other people have written published books. But I can't deny that I feel a teeny bit nervous.
Well, um, you know... reviews. On Amazon.
It's my first ever book. Yes, of course I know it's nowhere near perfect and probably not one which vast numbers of people will want to read. But it took me months of effort to write the story, revise it and find a publisher willing to take a risk with it. Then I worked on further tweaks with two editors. So it's my baby! And it's out in the big bad world.
People in my critiquing group made very helpful comments on my first draft, which I used to revise the story. And both editors had some great suggestions. With their help, the story's better told than it would have been. And I'm incredibly grateful to Fireborn for publishing it.
But even with all the encouragement and support before publication, I'm still a bit anxious. You see, what I really want to do is write entertaining stories which people enjoy reading, even if my stories are a bit "niche" because of their genre. I don't know what people think until I start seeing reviews. Like all authors, I hope I get enough positive reviews to make other potential readers think that this might be a story they'd enjoy too.
To date, I've had five people post reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and, to my relief, all have been positive. Four or five stars and complimentary comments on the story, characters and even on my story-telling.
This is a huge pat on the back and really encouraging. This particular story is the first in a series of five I have in mind. I've been working on the second one for a few months now. So to get a thumbs-up from anyone is real confidence boost, let alone five readers. This lift helped me get through some tricky areas in writing the next story.
I'm close to completing my first complete draft, which will be posted to my critiquing group as soon as I'm happy enough with it. Then to see if the publisher's editor thinks it's worth recommending for publication...
In case you're wondering, I post reviews of everything I read and of the audiobooks I listen to during my daily commutes to my day job. I try to be constructive, as there's almost always something positive to say and it can be a critique without being over-critical. I know very well how a thoughtless criticism can hurt, even when that wasn't what was intended.
And no, I don't automatically write good reviews for authors I'm acquainted with through my crit group or Facebook. I review the book I read and comment on how I feel about it. If I accept an advance review copy (or ARC), it's on the basis that I will review honestly. A lot of the writers I know do exactly the same.
So, please, please, please, when you've read a book you enjoyed, write a quick review on amazon or any of the other book retailing sites. You could help someone else find a book they'll enjoy reading. And it will might help the writer. They might see your review just when they're experiencing self-doubt or some moments of despair, and feel encouraged enough to stick at it and write an even better story.