“Heart of the Mirage” hit the bestseller list at Sydney’s Galaxy bookstore last week, which was lovely to see. I believe some Dymock’s stores are also listing it as a bestseller. Many thanks to all those customers who had faith in my writing!
Emails and message board posts are all positive so far…seems I have been responsible for miscellaneous ills including sleepless nights spent sitting up reading, getting back from work late and getting into trouble with the boss, and – with two people at least – the necessity of taking a cold shower. (I was unaware the book was that sexy, as I do not tend to be particularly, er, graphic!)
I was pondering the need for feedback yesterday, after receiving a lovely email from someone over in Nevada, who was desperate for reassurance on the ending of the Isles of Glory trilogy as the third book is not yet out in the States! That email made my day.
For years I wrote and wrote with no feedback at all. Writing was just to fulfil my own need to create. The joy was in the act, not in the feedback. Most of my work I never showed to anyone. My first published book, Havenstar, was seen by no one at all before I sent it off to my agent. It was not even read by a member of my family, let alone a more critical commentator. Same with the next, The Aware.
But those days are gone, and I find myself desperate for feedback, both before and after publication. Beta readers have become very important in my writing life, and I wonder how on earth I ever did without their input prior to sending the book off to the publisher. And reader input has become a joy. I love to know what impact I have had, if any; I want to know what worked and even more – I want to know what didn’t. If there is anything that is boring or sub standard or confusing, I want to know it so that I can prevent a similar mistake elsewhere. Writing is a continuum of learning. I even take reviews as opportunities to think more deeply about my work and how to improve it. I would hate to be one of those writers about whom everyone says: “Oh, she never wrote anything as good as her first book...”