I’m still off doing stuff and wasn’t going to blog, but yesterday I happened to check Twitter and found that I was tagged in a tweet by Flux, my publisher, saying that ARCs THESE GENTLE WOUNDS had gone up on NetGalley. Cue Hyperventilation.
For those in the normal, non-publishing world, ARCS are Advanced Reader Copies and come with text on them advising that they are “uncorrected proofs to be used for reviews only.” Or something like that.
That can mean different things. I’ve read ARCs with formatting errors, misspellings, the occasional thing that doesn’t make sense. In TGW it basically means that, despite twenty-one years of living in Michigan, I forgot what the weather was really like in March and ended up having to revise a scene. Also, I can’t do math. No surprise.
What it REALLY means is that bloggers and reviewers now have access to a not-completely-shiny version of my book.
But for all intents and purposes, it’s out in the world.
I had a brief freak-out session with Kathryn Rose who isn’t only my Flux sister but whose book, CAMELOT BURNING, shares a release date with TGW. Of course, when you write something, you want people to read it. And in the process of getting a book published, A LOT of people read it. Critique partners, beta readers, agents, editors, marketing and sales people, production people. By the time a book shows up on the shelves A LOT of people have read it.
But bloggers are a particular kind of frightening because they read critically. And I get it. I’m a critical reader. When I read, I’m forever questioning whether a character’s actions make sense. I’m forever finding lines that I love and return to read over and over. I love recommending books and alternately in my pre-writer days I could be a somewhat hard critic (probably because I worked as a drama critic professionally and just didn’t get out of the habit).
In the past couple of years I’ve found that my opinions as a reader isn't always the same as everyone else's. For instance, I much prefer John Green’s PAPER TOWNS to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS even though the latter is a quality book. Andrew Smith is one of my favorite writers and I’ve recommended his 2013 release and award-winner WINGER to readers, but I still recommend two of his other releases STICK (which reduced me to a crying mass) and THE MARBURY LENS (which I read and loved in a hotel room in a desolate area in Queens and then reread it immediately after in a less terrifying location) more often.
BECAUSE READING IS SUBJECTIVE.
One of my crit partners, Beth Hull, is fond of saying that some people don’t like puppies. And I repeat that to myself all the time. Because it’s true. Puppies are cute but they’re a lot of work. Too much for some people. And some people are allergic to them. And some people just don’t like puppies.
There will be people who don’t like my book and I get that although, obviously, I want people to like it. But some people don’t like puppies. And that’s okay. Because there are cats and ferrets and 6-foot snakes that people can like instead. It’s what makes the world go around.
But if you've given literary birth to a puppy, it’s still a little intimidating when you know that people are looking at your puppy’s ears and questioning whether they’re the right length or saying that it’s fine that you have a brown puppy, but they’d have preferred a black puppy.
So we’re all hyperventilating a little and wishing our puppies the best and hoping you like them because WE do and we’re thrilled and fortunate to share our puppies with you.
It just feels a little odd to have our puppies wandering around without us.