With the new book only a month away from being in stores, it's around that time again when I start nervously searching the internet for first reactions. It's not that I live and die by reviews, or that I even write with any conscious thought of trying to please anyone other than myself. But that doesn't mean I don't care. I just believe that any artist's first aim must be to satisfy their own expectations. The hope is that what pleases you will be appreciated by others. There's a huge difference between that and actually setting out to please everyone else first and foremost.
So, if that's the case, why do I bother searching out what readers have to say? The easy answer is that I, of course, want everyone to like what I've done. It might not be the reason for writing it in the first place, but once the book is done, it most certainly becomes my focus. I've heard other writers describe the publication of a book to be like a parent sending their child off into the world. You no longer have any control over what happens to it. It's on its own and so you just hope you did right by it when it was under your care.
I know their are writers who swear they never read any reviews. More power to them, I could never do that. It's reviews and reactions that keep the book alive for me. Otherwise, it's just another item checked off on a long list. It's also a way to revisit a book for me. Typically when a book comes out, I've been finished with my revisions on it for about a year. Waiting for reactions has a way of bringing it back to the present like nothing else.
As for The Heights, it's showing up a lot on people's list of things to be read. But I still have yet to discover that first review anywhere. Though, I did have one very positive email which was encouraging. Thanks again Lewis and Maddy :)
Until that first review shows up, I'll keep searching with my fingers crossed and that first-day-of-school feeling in my stomach.