Monday, October 15, 2012

A Matter of Perspective

As I’ve often shared in the past, I belong to an online writers and readers group in which I upload my work for others to read and offer feedback on. In doing this, I’m able to connect with my target audience and get their insight as to what does and doesn’t work for my novels, something I consider invaluable. While many of us have our work critiqued by book reviewers, there’s nothing quite like getting the opinion of those we write for.

A number of writers participating on this site will write as they go. In other words, they post the story as they write the latest chapter. This can be a disappointment to fans if the writers doing this are plagued with a case of writer’s block and ignore or ultimately abandon the story. It’s happened so often with stories I’ve been reading that I’ve taken to refusing to read a work unless it’s completely finished and all of it has been posted. The exception to this rule is when young writers post a small sample of their work and specifically seek my advice on how to improve what they’ve come up with so far.

When it comes to my own work, I will not post a story on the site unless I’ve already completed it. This prevents disappointing fans if I happen to lose inspiration. Since joining this site, I’ve posted a total of eleven works. Not all of these are novels, but at least eight of them are. I’m also currently in the process of uploading a ninth young adult novel.  I typically like to post a minimum of a chapter a week. This gives fans a chance to get caught up on the story and keeps them interested and coming back for more. It also allows me the opportunity to edit the work prior to posting so that fans are focused on my story and not my mechanics.

At the moment, I have two novels fans are clamoring for. Like You Mean It is a teen romance novel which I’m currently posting chapters for each week. The Unholy Trinity series falls under the paranormal young adult category. Initially, The Unholy Trinity series was intended to be a trilogy. Having gotten such an overwhelming amount of requests for more, I not only created a prequel but am presently in the process of creating a fourth book that picks up the story eight years into the future. 

Between these two novels, a full time day job and parenting two kids in the beginning of competition season for their respective sports, my time is pretty limited. Still, I do my best to keep giving my fans what they want. And have I mentioned I do this all for free? I do, and I don’t mind. I only bring it up to remind everyone that I do this because I want to and I love writing and love and appreciate the fans that enjoy my work.

Lately, I’ve been inundated with requests from fans to not only upload Like You Mean It faster than once a week but to hurry up and post my fourth Trinity book. Today I received a private message from a fan who wanted to “complain” I’d kept people waiting too long for the fourth book. My knee jerk reaction was to be indignant. I wanted to remind everyone I do this for free. I wanted to say again I’ve got a full time job and a child in band and another in competitive cheerleading. I wanted to remind readers that a number of authors on this site don’t put in the time and effort I do to please fans. I also wanted to remind them that most professional authors have a year or more in between their novels and I’ve produced eight in less than two years.

Once I got over all of this, I sat back and took a second look at the requests. When I did, it occurred to me I was looking at this from the wrong perspective. These requests and complaints are actually quite flattering. It means they enjoy my work so much they want more. Rather than being angry about that, I’m going to feel pleased and honored, and I’m going to do the best I can to give them what they want. There’s not much more I can do.

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