Not Quite Perfect

It’s happened! My first non-five star review!

I’m so excited.

Yes, I know, it probably sounds really strange to say that. And it’s also not entirely true – I did get a 4/5 star review on Goodreads when I first published the book, though honestly, I still haven’t managed to fully grasp Goodreads, so somehow that feels less important to me (I know, judge all you want). But Amazon is where the reviews are slowly starting to accrue, so it’s exciting to me to see the decimal points appear as my reviews start to receive an average. The Fields is now rated a 4.8.

My first foray into imperfection (wow, that sounds incredibly cocky. But you know what I mean) was obviously not a completely devastating score, so maybe that’s why I remain positive – I feel like I got off the hook easy (though if I ever get a one-star review, you can bet your ass I’ll write about that, too). Four stars is still a considerably good review. But there’s something refreshing about someone calling your book not quite perfect.

I always feel uncomfortable with high praise. I guess part of that is because I never quite feel like the things I do are worth that particular feedback, and I wonder if people are lying about their review because they know me and don’t want to hurt my feelings.

As The Fields slowly plods its way into the hands of people who don’t personally know me, I fully expect those reviews to veer further from five stars. Not that I don’t believe in the story I told – I am very happy with where The Fields ended up, otherwise I wouldn’t have published it. But it’s my debut novel, and I know it’s not perfect. As I continue to write other stories, my new competitor is my last project — I always strive to create something better than the last creation.

And I think that’s working well. I have a very strong (albeit incomplete) draft of a novel going, and I’ve also got a good start to another on the side. At least, I think they’re strong. Give it another three years, and I won’t think so highly of them — then, hopefully, I will think that the project I’m working on then will be my strongest piece yet.

That’s how this sort of thing works. It would be terribly boring if we all mastered the things that we’re passionate about right off the bat. It’s the craft that makes it exciting — honing and chipping away and trying to make the best that you can make.

Another note: leaving a review for a book, especially one by an indie author, is one of the best things you can do. Even if it’s a bad review — you are giving feedback, and in order to guide an author into understanding what part of their craft they need to hone, feedback is vital. So, um, do it. Review the books you read. Tell your friends about them, get them pumped about the books you like, and push our reading world to work a little harder.

Also, look at my reviews! 4.8 stars for the win, baby!

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