As the Readers Turn by Janice Jones
As the Readers Turn
by Janice Jones
Author of The Dagger Chronicles Series, In Her Blood and By Blood Sworn
I never realized how hard this was going to be. I started out just wanting to keep myself busy by putting words on a page to form a story I wanted to read. But, the decision to turn that loose on an unsuspecting public; man, that was hard! These characters laugh at my jokes and have certain characters traits I find amusing in my friends. But, sometimes, readers strike back. And, they had no problem telling me what I did wrong, in detail. Writing a profound piece of literary fiction was not my first thought. I just wanted to make something that was fun to read, a little mysterious and twisted, and in the end, killed the little bit of time in a reader’s day between the end of soccer practice and bed time.
Readers are strange and fascinating creatures, aren’t they? All writers are readers, so I think I’m getting an ‘amen’ from them right about now. But, not all readers are writers, so for them, it must seem easy to send your work out there for them to consume. Well, it’s not! Not at all! With every good review, we’re thinking ‘Did they read my book?’ With every bad one, we’re thinking ‘Did they read my book?’ Either way, you’re constantly hoping your readers understand your humor or they get your character’s angst. But, sometimes they don’t and you have to tell yourself, that’s okay too.
I’ve learned you can’t take everyone’s opinions on your writing personally. When I read any comment, I look for something positive, then I use it. Some are all positive, some not so much. People usually have something positive to say, even in a negative review. I think, as a writer, I have to stop thinking of those comments as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’. They are opinions and opinions are subjective. I’m not Stephanie Meyers or Laurell Hamilton and I have no intention of trying to be. I have my own voice and I know how to use it. I don’t want to imitate anyone else’s style. If I did that, nothing I created would be my own. If I fail, I fail because I’m not a good writer, period; not because I’m not good at trying to be someone else. As a writer, I have to keep telling myself that not liking my stories is not the same as not liking me. Most of my readers don’t actually know me. So, expecting them to throw me points because I’m a nice person, is pretty much out of the question. But, there are people that do like the work and don’t know me and I’m thankful that they enjoy it.
But, I owe thanks to those who don’t, too. Because that reader makes me look closer at the next words I write or the next character I create. They took the time to write a review, even one on a book they didn’t like, and I’m glad. In my mind, that person found something in the story to keep them reading to the end, anyway. There might be no love for the characters, but my characters aren’t really asking to be loved. They simply want someone to listen. Just like all of us.
And, maybe, they’ll go back and read it again, just for the hell of it. Or, they won’t, but someone else will see their review and give it a shot, I hope. That’s the great thing about so called ‘bad reviews’. They get more attention. And, readers like to prove other readers wrong, especially when it comes to vampires.
I’m not trying to change the world. I just wanted to write an old story from a new perspective. I created this series as an escape from the everyday hustle that all of us are living. I enjoy writing these characters and I hope that other people enjoy reading about them. The best thing any writer can do is to listen to their own voice. There may not be any new ideas out there, but there are new writers and we deserve a chance to shine.