Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You Never Forget Your First (Review, That Is)

Whoever you are, whatever genre you write in or age group you write for, your first review is a watershed moment. Good or bad, one-star or five-star, you’ll never forget it.

Here’s why:

·       It means you’re published: Forget whether your book is due out from one of the Big 6 publishers, a small or indie press or it’s being self-published, these days published is published and your first review just confirms the fact that you’re accomplished one very big writing goal.
·       Anticipation: You’ve probably been on pins and needles for weeks, maybe even months. Getting that first review is like the long wait for Christmas morning is finally over, even if all you get in your stocking is a lump of coal. At least you’re “in it,” now, and the waiting is over!
·       It’s just the beginning: It was a fellow YA author friend’s “book birthday” today and as I watched the reviews start showing up on I got excited all over again. I know this day is just one of many where she’ll be inspired, disappointed, jazzed, hopeful and a little bit bruised, but all the better for it as her journey as a YA author begins in earnest.

I can still remember the first ever review I got for Zombies Don’t Cry. It said, and I paraphrase, “Rusty Fischer writes like a girl!”

I was so relieved. One thing that had been bothering me about writing YA was that I was also writing from a female character’s POV and, for one reviewer at least, I’d passed the test.

It was a real vindication of all I’d been trying to achieve while writing ZDC, and while not everyone has agreed with that reviewer since, most have; and that’s given me the confidence to write more books with female main characters.

I’m not saying one bad review would have derailed how I write, but a good one right out of the gate certainly brightened my outlook and made my debut YA novel all the more special.

My hope is that you feel the same way when you get your first review!

Yours in YA,


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