I self-published my first fantasy novel on Amazon on 21st May 2021 titled The Guardian of Magic. Then paid for a couple of online PR companies to do a bit of marketing for me, which involved getting professional reviewers to review my work. These reviews I am reliably informed will continue to surface up until some time in August 2021. Anyway today I got some of the feedback from one of the PR companies who placed my book on Net Galley and there were three, yes only three, that had some negativity. My initial reactions were – it’s only one person’s opinion – I suppose it’s impossible for everyone to like my work – do they know what they are talking about or are they just negative by nature – and so on.
However, in part, I then realised they are right. I’ve been writing now, off and on, for four decades. In my head, I can build wonderful imaginative worlds, flesh out meaningful characters and create intriguing plotlines. So I have a back catalogue of novels that I have finished or partly finished over the years that I have been writing to draw upon and take forward to self-publishing if I choose to. Yet when I decided to self-publish I decided they were not good enough and so I wrote two new novels with the benefit of hindsight to my craft. Yes, I can imagine the story in all its spectacular detail but translating what is in my head to paper is a craft all on its own. I am still learning that craft, how to hook the reader, how to keep the pages turning and to write through the reader’s eyes and imagination.
So, did the poor reviews knock my confidence – yes! But only for about an hour while I licked the wounds of my pride and then I had to agree with them in part. I am learning still; I am on a journey and it is the journey that is important. You do not start a journey at the destination you have to travel there and along the way develop. So in the end the poor reviews have motivated me.
I have had far more positive reviews of The Guardian of Magic than negative and that is an achievement in itself – I’m doing something right. My second novel, the first of a second series, is currently with a copyeditor and so that story is committed now and will be published before Xmas, but I will have the opportunity to polish the work and hone my craft and improve before it is published. I have time to take on board the criticisms and apply them to the second book of each series that I am writing, even if it means editing from the start in both. The journey is what is important and I hope the journey never stops, as I want to continually improve my craft, to learn, to develop.
Thank you for the poor reviews, they have knocked me, but onto a better path. I will keep writing and keep publishing and continue to learn. They say words cannot hurt you unless they are in a thick dictionary that is thrown at your head, but words can do many, many things and I hope in my books they will bring pleasure to many and that my readers, past, present and future will want to come on this journey with me.
I left it late to commit to my journey, it took me several decades to step from the shadows and follow my heart. Now there will never be any turning back. If you have a dream please follow it, it will be the best choice you ever make. Do not bury it away, whether you want to sing, be a musician or dance do it now. The journey is long and it will need commitment but do it. Start now and do not leave it as long as I did, as it will fill your heart and soul with joy even if the knocks keep coming.