Beautiful agony of releasing your book
by Jennifer L. Fry
The very first review of my book contained phrases such as: “beautifully written story” and “difficult to put this book down for even a second”. You would think that receiving a rave review on your debut novel would be a thrill of a lifetime. It seems like it should be this amazing vindication. Instead, I found myself doubting my book even more. I thought, it must be a fluke. No one could be this excited about MY book. Then another review came in: “packed with so much emotion it just resonates with you.” And another. “An emotionally touching story.” And so on. Mingled with the butterflies of excitement was the anticipation that my book could still fail. That these reviews were all just anomalies.
It's a peculiar thing, putting out your creative work for others to read and critique. For the writer, it's so personal, so exposing. It represents the heart and soul of an individual who agonized over every word, every character, every decision. Even when your novel is highly rated, you wonder if readers really understood each subtle nuance. You question their sincerity and even their authority to be making judgments about your work. And those are only the good reviews.
Negative reviews, on the other hand, have two results. The first is to confirm every weakness you already knew existed in your story, and make you kick yourself for not doing that fiftieth revision. The second is to expose the fact that no matter how well crafted or well intended a story is, some people just won't get it.
I don't know how many good reviews it takes for any creative person, authors included, to feel like a success. Ultimately, success or failure is relative to your own goals, and therefore deeply personal. For myself, having the courage to put my work out into the hands of readers, not knowing how they would respond, is a success. And that I have moved some readers with my story, so much so they feel compelled to write me notes like this: “I'm humbled and honored to have read your debut. I wonder if you have any idea just how great an author you are.” Well, that has to be enough to put myself through this beautiful agony of being a published author.
A Part To PlayBy: Jennifer L. FryWhen fifteen-year-old actress Lucy Carter loses her older sister in a car accident, her mother shuts down and her father can’t hold the family together. Their only choice is to ship Lucy off to the Edmond School for Performing Arts. But boarding school is no cure for Lucy’s grief. With failing grades, wooden stage performances, and curfew violations, Lucy is threatened with expulsion. For the once talented Lucy, it feels as though she has nowhere to turn.One night, Lucy hears mysterious music drifting through the school’s old heating system. The music leads her to a troubled but passionate songwriter whose brilliance gives her the strength to perform like never before. Yet their intense relationship puts Lucy in a precarious position: if she follows her muse, will she lose herself? And if she breaks it off, can she stand on her own again?
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And here is the giveaway!Jennifer L. Fry is a writer, artist, and teacher in Marin County, California, where she lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable dogs, and orange tabby cat. Though she has been writing since she was young, A Part to Play is her first novel.
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