Authors are funny animals. They can be seen in quiet corners mumbling softly to themselves as they live stories in their head and recorded them on anything available, computers, old lunch bags, envelope and bathroom walls (usually saved for questionable poetry). We write because we have to. It’s a inbreed compulsion. There should be a branch of AA for us.
The hard part is sharing. On the one hand, we want rose petals to fall, trumpets to sound and applause to ring in our ears when our books hit the market. On the other hand, what if someone insults our baby? We just know we’d react like any enraged mother, horns would sprout, fire would flame from our nostrils and we’d paw the ground as our heads lower into attack mode.
Authors soon discover that their creative endeavours fall into the hands of three main groups, readers, critics and fans.
I’ve come to believe that readers are not of this world. They might actually be an urban legend shared by publishing houses and their authors. They are never seen and never heard . Royalty checks arrive indicating they are out there but where? They are the dark matter of the literary universe. Hello out there! Can you hear me! This is your author calling! Still a resounding silence. Readers remain always lost in a good book.. They make up 90% of the book demand but as far as we know the books disappear into a literary black hole in the universe.
Still on a dark still night, if you listen closely there is this soft murmur. It just might be the sound of billions of lips moving as they read.
If we could only say the same for critics! Sadly, no matter how well you write there is always someone who thinks a tree’s life was sacrificed unnecessarily so an author could waste paper. I had one critic write me with a single blunt line. “I’m not gonna read a book that wants me to think!” How do you answer that? At least how do you answer it politely? Although it has been rumoured that some critics might have a mallet swinging on a chain, many critics do have hearts.
The good critics, give well balanced reviews focusing on the positives and mentioning any short comings as just unfortunate oversights after a hard night on the town. Critics are few but they are the comets of the universe. Beautiful if they stay in the heavens but darn destructive if they hone in on an author.
Lastly, there are the fans. May they be warm, cared for and spoilt all their long days. They are the stars of the literary world who brighten an author’s existence. They shake your hand at conferences and smile even when you misspell their name when you autograph their book. They send kind emails and they hardly ever get abusive when you’re a year late getting out a sequel.
They are the life source of the literary universe. May they shine brightly on us always.
Anne Azel’s Award Winning Novels
Encounters, Seasons, Three Doses of Murder, Murder in Triplicate, Journeys, Gold Mountain, Iron Rose Bleeding, The Little Book of Big Christmas Stories, America, Tides and coming soon The Dark Matter Corps Series.