Welcome to May First Wednesday of the Month! You know what that means -- writers around the Web share thoughts, insecurities, and virtual hugs.
I had such fun cohosting last month. Thank you so much to all who stopped by! I've been easing my way back into the blogoshpere and you have all been so welcoming. How could I have ever left?? Well, that's a story for another time.
Today's IWSG question is,
"Have any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way you didn't expect?"
Click on the pic to the right to get to IWSG HQ and see the other responses, meet new friends, and join in if you want!
I think the first time a writer debuts and reaches a wide audience, the inevitability of a bad review is imminent. It's also a rite of passage, so to speak, because it means our work has reached beyond what we expected--even to those who expected something else by the premise.
Have you ever done that? Read the premise, or book cover and envisioned one thing, but the book or movie turned out to be something else? I know I have.
When I first read the question of the month my brain went to one reader response who so kindly went on to leave it in a review and which has been a top review for the book for years.
'BORING. THE ONLY REASON I KEPT READING WAS BECAUSE I HOPED IT GOT BETTER. IT DIDN'T.'
A few years ago I tried my hand at writing contemporary women's fiction and self-published. It never sold really. It did reach some readers who seemed to like it and left kind reviews, but it was no match for the glutted women's fiction market. And my cover wasn't great--but I was broke and had no money to pay for an expensive cover. I'd been writing for almost ten years by then so I wasn't a novice by any means. But this one person somehow found Buttercream Dreams (formerly Radical New Me) and gave it a shot, and responded with, "BORING."
LOL! What a ride this writing thing is right? I can laugh at it now, but at the time, that one word made me go into deep self-reflection of what kind of writer I wanted to be. I ended up taking a long writing hiatus. It seemed nothing was going my way in the publishing world.
Not much has changed there.
But that one reviewer comment inspired the next women's fiction novel I'd write, called Flight Club. Flight Club, I told myself, would NOT be boring. It would be a women's version of Ready Player One--everything that makes a story fun, only for women:
Romance, sexy encounters with prominent men
Frenemies and glamour
I used a familiar story I love (Fight Club) as a retelling template for a 23year old flight attendant of a brand new posh airline. Think A View from the Top meets Black Mirror.
I had a ton of fun with it myself, and beta readers said it was unputdownable.
I pitched it in PitMad back in 2018 under Pen Name and went on to sign with an agent who "liked" my pitch. That agent relationship did not last, and I'll tell you that story another day, because it is a heart-breaker, and I ended up writing an entire new novel based on that experience. In short, that agent ghosted me when my book didn't sell out the door on our first round.
So here I am, 2021, and I'm in no better position than I was back when that reviewer said my story was BORING. But! The silver lining, is that I use that one word to light a fire in my storytelling and pull out the big guns for pacing and plot. I never want anyone to use that word to describe my work again.
What happened with Flight Club you ask?
I just recently sold an exclusive limited time license to Readict. If you want to read it for free, you can! Just download Readict to your phone and there are hundreds of free books there. Do a search for FLIGHT CLUB and it will come right up. Happy Reading!
It's not the book deal I'd hoped for it, but times are changing fast and the traditional method is like a snail. Plus it doesn't seem to want my work as I've been trying for a decade off and on, with no luck whatsoever.
The good news about Readict is they are looking for more writers. If you have a novel that you think may be a good fit for their readership, give it a whirl. They have a testing method that tells them how much they will pay you to license your work for their app. You can do exclusive or non-exclusive. It's more eyes on your work if you want to keep your book up for sale on other platforms. If you do submit to Readict, tell them I sent you.
Now, tell me about your reader responses. Or tell me about a negative review that changed the way you write. Or just say hi.
I'm so glad you stopped by.