Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Writer's Angst

I've been reading articles recently on "Imposter Syndrome." Essentially, it's a psychological condition that people in all walks of life stumble into, where even if they are doing an outstanding job, they feel like it's only a matter of time before someone discovers they're only faking it. From musicians to authors to people in so-called regular jobs, the advice is to get over it. We've earned our way. Proven ourselves. Not everything we do is going to be perfect, but we've shown we have the skills.

A recent rash of unfortunate reviews have plagued me and one of my fellow authors. For my part, because I had a disproportionate number of reviews relative to the number of books sold, I reached out to some professional review sites to give me a boost. Books without reviews don't qualify for promotion. The result of those solicitations? Oddball reviews (lesson learned). People pick the book up because they get a free copy, but it might not be something they'd normally go for, and then they penalize me because of it. Regardless of whether the review is warranted or not, the effect on an author can be demoralizing.

Writer's angst rears it's ugly head. Is this book a dud? Or did it reach the wrong audience? The points I got dinged on are the same things people liked in my other books, which makes me tend to dismiss the comments. Does that make me delusional? An imposter? Reviews and critiques are by their very nature designed to help me improve my craft. Do the comments reflect the changes we are undergoing as a society? Do I need to adjust? Evolve?

While all these thoughts are going through my head, I'm forging ahead on the next book, which is something completely different. I'm enjoying the ride so far, and in the vein of evolving, I think it covers a lot of bases that had me questioning societal changes while I was writing my last couple of books. Things like don't believe everything you hear. Get your facts before you form an opinion. And the evolution around the way men and women interact.

I recently re-read an old book, one I grew up with, and the premise for the romance had me cringing. That sort of thing would never work in today's world, and yet, when I was a teenager, it didn't faze me. The author did write some groundbreaking plots, but this one was just plain bad, something I didn't have the knowledge or experience to understand then, but which rings a very loud "NO" bell today. You don't fall in love with someone who goes out of their way to make you jealous in a very hurtful way and then justify it by saying if they hadn't have made you jealous, you wouldn't have realized you were in love with them. Nope. That's manipulation at its worst, and a very poor basis for a happily ever after. The world has changed considerably since I was a teenager. But I digress.

On behalf of myself and my author friends, I'm giving you all a gentle nudge to leave a review on the books you read. They are important to the author, even if you didn't like the book. Without them, we don't qualify for promotions for our books, and if our books don't warrant a good review, let us know. Otherwise, we can't write a better book next time.


  1. Ah, that double-edged review sword. You need them, but getting good ones (and I'm not talking about how many stars, I'm talking about reviews that give good evaluations of a book, pro or con) is a struggle. Without them, we can't promote, and if we can't promote, we can't reach more readers who might give reviews.

    1. Yep, exactly right. I’ve seen reviews for one star that read “it took a week to get the book when they promised next day delivery.” That’s not a review of the book.