Star Spark is out today. Yay! It took longer to come out than I had originally planned, but it’s finally here.
I’m really happy to bring these characters and this story to life. That said, launch day is always nerve wracking. I thought I would be calmer for Star Spark. I already launched three novels and I’m really happy with how my last series turned out. I also knew that Star Spark isn’t in a hot subgenre and it has a slow start, so I’m not really expecting best-selling status or only positive reviews.
I guess expecting that some people will hate the book is not that great. Expecting some people to quit it is not great either. I mean, it’s normal and it happens to great books. Sometimes reader and book simply don’t click. I tell myself to learn from the negative reviews and pay attention to the positive reviews. At the end of the day, I’m writing for people who like my books, and I can’t please everyone nor do I want to.
I thought that knowing in advance that this might not be a page turner might prepare me for negative reviews, so they won’t sting as much, but then if most of them are negative and I get a 3.3 average or something, it’s awful.
I guess if I took the time to write this story and give life to these characters it was because I thought there was something worthwhile in them, there was a worthwhile story in it. And I hope it can be true for someone else other than me. I just hope people don’t hate me for it.
TLDR, as usual, I fear everyone is going to hate the book. The fact that I didn’t write it in a popular genre and it doesn’t follow traditional structural beats doesn’t make me any more confident.
It’s scary. But at the same time, I think writers can’t only write stories that they are sure about. Can’t only write stories with popular tropes. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes there’s a story with a wonky structure, weird themes and maybe it’s something that some people will like. Or maybe it’s something dreadful and I'd better pay more attention to structure next time.
There’s fun in risk, but there’s fear in risk, too. Oh, not that I think there’s anything groundbreaking in Star Spark. It’s just that it's that kind of story that seems to have a will of its own and won't conform to certain beats. And it might be fine and it might be bad. Either way, there's that nagging feeling that maybe everyone will hate it.
With independent publishing, I find that the stakes are higher. We don't get any validation from someone saying our book is good enough to be "chosen", so it's all on us and the readers to decide if it has any merit. Validation comes only from commercial success or readers enjoying the book. This is not in a popular genre, so I'm not expecting commercial success. Now, will anyone like it?
Well, can’t wait to see what happens. I think the uncertainty is the worst. Does it suck? Not suck? Kind of sucks? It’s up to readers to decide.
But then, feeling this way perhaps is normal. I was an actress many years ago. I heard once from an experienced actor that if you don't get a chill in the stomach before stepping on stage, you're not a real actor. Each audience is difference, each performance is different, and you never know how it's going to turn out.
So maybe it's normal. Maybe all it means is that I care.
I'll see what happens in a couple months, once reviews are settled in. And this is not to say I don't like negative reviews... They are important. The issue with the negative reviews is not the reviewer but the book, and I need to know where I'm messing up and where I'm hitting the mark. That's why reviews are so important.
I guess commercial success can be another measure of whether you hit the right mark, and I think it can be terrifying, too, if you're reaching for it. I think this is a small book, so I'm pretty OK with modest success there. I guess... we'll see.
Perhaps what makes it all nerve wrecking is the uncertainty. Can't wait for some answers in a few days.