So a little while ago I linked to Nathan Bransford's awesome GIF-illustrated post on the process of publishing, and said I was in the "waiting for reviews" stage represented by the unsuspecting guy walking down the hallway with a reviewer about to drop on his head...
Except in my case that's not quite the right analogy, because like many an author before me, I crave reviews. Seriously, they are the crack of authorhood. Jaded (and no doubt wiser) authors say you shouldn't read them - good reviews will puff up your ego to the size of Jupiter and you'll stop listening to honest feedback, until your writing starts sucking bricks through a garden hose; while bad reviews will crush your spirit and leave you a sniveling mess afraid to ever touch your keyboard again.
Maybe so, but heck if I can stay away. The whole point of seeking publication is to share your stories with other people - and reviews are precious proof that all the craziness of the publishing process isn't for nothing. That somebody read your work, and reacted to it; you're not just tossing your book out into a void, never to get a response. Monologuing is all very well, but conversation...now that's interesting. (Even if it's a necessarily limited conversation on the author's end - I hold to the policy that reviews are for readers, not the author, and so refrain from ever commenting except to send thank-you emails to the reviewers for their time and effort. Though in other venues I am delighted to discuss my books ad nauseum. :)
My goal for publication has always been to have one single stranger enjoy my book. And so, just as I did last year for The Whitefire Crossing, I've been waiting for The Tainted City's first review with a combination of seething nerves and hopeful anticipation: will my goal be met?
Well, the first review is now in...and yes. Yes! The reviewer enjoyed it. Haha, and this time it's better yet: the reviewer enjoyed it despite a) primarily being an urban fantasy reader, and b) not having read The Whitefire Crossing. (Kudos to them for forging on with The Tainted City anyway once they realized it was book 2 of a series!) Fangs for the Fantasy says: "I love the characters in this book...even though I rarely read high fantasy now, I'm sorely tempted to track down the first book so I can fill in the gaps and the background of this story - I already know I will be checking book 3." (You can read the full review here. Though be warned, it does contain some spoilers. But also a very welcome discussion of gender and LGBT issues. I love detailed, thought-provoking reviews like this.)
So. I go to sleep tonight knowing my goal for The Tainted City is met - anything else from now on is icing on the cake. And damn, that's a great feeling.