Though many author friends of mine claim they “never look at reviews” of their books, assuming the transparently fake pose of pretending utter indifference and total superiority to what the mass of the reading public may actually think of their masterpieces, I know they are lying.
In fact, lying through their teeth! When I hear that bald faced prevarication uttered by an otherwise intelligent, sensible, honest writer friend, I always smile, nod and snicker to myself. Yeah, right, Felix, you’re way above all that silly stuff.
How do I know they’re lying? Here’s how: I’ve caught more than a few slipping up and oh so casually quoting snatches from the best reviews they’ve received both to me and others. Haha. They just cannot resist sharing any, however meager, stingy, or remotely positive, response to the heap of words and pile of paper (book) they’ve worked on for so long and hard.
It’s not just writerly bragging, oh no. It’s much more complex than that. For at bottom I know from lots of personal experience myself that in reality it’s a compulsive, reflexive autonomic indulgence they’re taking for themselves. It’s the “Pleasure Principle” at work. By just repeating the words aloud, hearing them again, they take a wonderful, pleasurable warm bath in the best endorphins an author can get. It’s like a drug, the sheer ecstasy an author experiences in eliciting any reader recognition and praise. They are simply unable to resist the urge to repeat, even if only to themselves, any positive reader response to their work! Haha.
But, hey, authors are only human after all. They have clay feet. They have delicate feelings when it comes to their work. They are pathetically frail and sensitive beings in this regard. Fact is, nothing could be more important, nothing is more of a burning interest, more of a source of obsessive curiosity, fear and apprehension than readers’ reactions to their work!
And, let’s be frank, good reviews sell books AND garner more readers for an author’s work. And that, friends, is the “Survival Instinct” (wink) at work. And where the rubber meets the road. Authors , especially full-time, professional authors, are thus afflicted periodically with “Survival Anxiety” (and it’s no day at the beach).
Waiting for reviews of a new book is similar to family members awaiting news about one of their beloved undergoing risky, life-threatening surgery. There’s hand-wringing, anxiety, cold fear, worried looks and long faces. Prayers, cussing, joking, and tears are common. And even worse, more extreme behavior (use your imagination about that).
All of which is to say is that I sure would love to hear on Amazon what you think of TWILIGHT’S INDIAN PRINCESS. Really. http://amzn.to/1o9iUi9