In this week’s blog post I’m ‘rambling’ about the relationship between indie authors like myself and those who choose to read and review their works. So my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ has now been live at all electronic retailers for a few months and in that time I have managed to sell a few copies, expand my twitter following to more than a thousand and, most importantly, garner a small handful of very positive reviews from my readers, which I then use to promote my novel. Most of these can be found here (http://tinyurl.com/pgjd68z) and the latest review I received was prefaced with a tweet that simply said “brilliant! loved it.” in reply to one of my tweets advertising my book. Since beginning this process, I am slowly realising how unique the relationship between indie authors and their readers really is.
What strikes me about the relationship is how personal it is and how, in the case of these (rather lovely!) reviews, I know who wrote each of them. Well, I know which Twitter account is attached to each review anyway. Some of my readers even kept me updated with their progress through the book as they read it and when they reached the end, each of them has contacted me to let me know how much they enjoyed the novel. I find that this is a very nice thing indeed! Now, as I’m not an author published via the traditional route of finding an agent who then finds you a publisher and thus your book is released into the world, I can’t comment on that relationship. I tried that route and didn’t get anywhere, mostly because (I think) my novel is so hard to categorise, and I’m also sure that these authors get positive feedback from their fans when they meet them in person. But something about this relationship feels unique and I doubt I am the only indie author to think this.
The first time someone (my wife) read through my novel I was very nervous. Gradually, I learned to manage that feeling and since then the novel has had many read-through’s and edits so it is far more polished than the version that she first read. Friends and family have also read my book and given me feedback, but there is only so far that you can trust the words of those who love you and are likely to be nice about your work, even if it is not working. I trust those reviews to an extent, which was why I self-published, but having done so I waited to hear what other, unbiased people thought of it. Obviously hearing from strangers who have read it can go a variety of ways. They might love it, they might not. And a bad review can leave a very sour taste. My worst review (so far) is this: “didn’t work for me” which left me more than a little amused. First, I wish it had worked for them. But, given that it didn’t, they still gave the book 3 stars, suggesting that is wasn’t THAT bad. Unfortunately, I don’t know who it was and so I cannot ask.
Now, I am still hopeful that my novel will take-off and reach a much wider audience than has happened so far but, even if it does, I will still treasure those first few, rather lovely reviews that I received. And if you are one of those reviewers (and you all know who you are) then I thank you for taking the plunge with an unknown author and for taking the time to let me know what you thought of the work. It is a truly wonderful thing to hear back from those who have read and enjoyed your book and, should I become the world-wide smash-hit author that I am surely destined to become (hah!) then I will thank each of you in person when I meet you on my world-wide tour. Until then I shall enjoy the reviews as they come and continue to be immensely grateful for my readers and reviewers! Cheers!
Check out my other “Rambling” blogs posts for articles on comics, politics, self-publishing and my novel, ‘Only an atheist can help God save the world’ which is out now at all electronic retailers! Also follow me on Twitter @onlyanatheist1. Cheers!