I received my first review for Cat Therapy and it was a two-star. I was gutted, as the British say. It's so hard to get reviews nowadays. There are so many books out there and reviewers are inundated. To find someone who has time to read your book is like finding a gem in the sea sand. I contacted a lady who has a review blog and asked her to review my book. I'm very grateful that she took the time to do that. I don't blame her for not liking my book. Sure, in the beginning, the negative emotions like anger, disappointment, discouragement, and hopelessness swamped me, but after a few days I calmed down. And now I'm just grateful - at least I have a real review by an objective party. An honest one, too.
But it wasn't easy to come to this state. I struggled. I've always felt like my books aren't that popular, that they don't get read by the mainstream readers. I think that's true in a way, but it's also my mindset. For one, I haven't spent tons on marketing as it's just not possible, especially with our crummy exchange rate in South Africa. So, my books don't get seen all over. For two, I think I could've improved on some of my earlier books which set the tone for my work. But...I have had people say that I am a good writer. You can never know for yourself as you can't see your work objectively. In fact, I tend to be overly critical of my work.
But as the years have gone by, my dream as a writer has transformed. In the beginning, I loved writing, but I also wanted success. That was most important to me. To first get that publishing contract, and then to sell my books well. The first success came, but the second one eluded me. As the second success eluded me, I wanted to give up so many times. I thought - what's the point? But I can't give up on my writing, even if that dream of success never happens because writing is my passion. And even though I hardly get time nowadays, it's always at the back of my mind as the thing I really, really want to do when I get a chance. It's something that always lives inside of me.
Writing is a release for me - it's cathartic, even when I write fiction. I put a part of my heart and my thoughts about life into my books. That's why I don't care if the reviewer didn't like Cat Therapy. It came from a well inside me mixed with my imagination. Sure, maybe it will hardly be read, but I did it for me. Of course, I'd so love lots of people to read my books. That dream will never die. Maybe one day...
Another thing that helped me not to stew on the bad review was believing in myself. As I have written and worked on the edits of my second self-love book, I've grown even more in my self-love. It's been shiny, glorious, healing, empowering. I have learned to value myself and my work. It doesn't have to be liked by everyone.
My second self-love book is in edits and the cover is being designed right now. I'll do a cover reveal and excerpt soon.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I'm grateful to all my writer friends and readers.