I have reached a little milestone in my publishing author’s journey: I have hit 25 reviews on Amazon, and I wanted to stop and celebrate. Now why 25 and not 20, or 30? I don’t really know — maybe because it’s a quarter of 100, but it seemed like a good time to stop, take stock and enjoy this little success.
In his brilliant commencement speech, Neil Gaiman shares the best piece of advice he ever received, which was from Stephen King. Gaiman was in the midst of the early Sandman success and King told him: “This is really great. You should enjoy it.”
Gaiman then confesses that he didn’t follow that advice, too focused on worrying about the next book, the next deadline…He never really stopped to enjoy that early thrill of success.
Now, I’m not exactly surfing waves the size of Sandman’s success, and yet I can see how that could happen. Even as only a budding published author, I’m already getting caught up in worrying about the next book. Will it prove a satisfactory sequel? Can I get it finished to the level I want in the time I want?
So, remembering Gaiman’s speech, I thought I would take an official pause (and in these days of the internet, what better way to make it official than by writing a blog post?) to stop and enjoy this little milestone.
I’m very aware that in the grand scheme of the literary world, 25 reviews is too small to even be considered paltry. I know of other indie authors who have had more reviews than that by the end of their book’s second month. I also know of authors who’ve had less reviews than that. Each to their own pace and we all have to celebrate our own milestones, such as they are.
Knowing that my book is being bought and being read is such a thrill and I don’t want to risk that sensation diminishing because I’m rushing through everything to get to the next step, or because I’m comparing myself to other writers. Sometimes, it’s important to stop and enjoy the moment. 25 people who are not related to me by blood or shackled to me by matrimony chose to take the time to write reviews about my book. That is such a wonderful thing!!
Of course I’m aware that not everyone will enjoy my book (maybe you, reading this right now didn’t enjoy it), but that’s ok. I love Vonnegut’s take on this: ‘If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.’ You can’t please everyone, after all, and there’s no point trying. Knowing that not everyone will enjoy a given book makes finding those people who have enjoyed it all the more special. It’s like building a tribe, in a way.
So a big thank you to everyone who read and enjoyed The Viper and the Urchin, and who took the time to write those reviews, it really means a lot!