Uh-oh! Guess what day it is? Huh? Anybody? Oh, come on! I know you can hear me! It’s . . . Happy*Over*The*Hump*Day! Are you happier than a camel on Wednesday, because I am . . . or I was until an hour ago . . . but more on that in a moment.
The first Wednesday of every month is also officially known as Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Our mission via Head Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh: Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer.
This past month I was feeling pretty encouraged with all the feedback I received from four of my Beta/CP’s over the sequel to 18 Things, 18 Truths (if you’ve read book one, I put a sneak preview up top ^ for book two, so go check it out and tell me what you think, if you’re so inclined). Here’s what some of them had to say in their email comments:
Beta Reader #1: “JAMIE! What are you doing to me! I already finished 18 Truths!!!! I got to read it all day long…best day ever! I have so many thoughts swirling through my brain about it, but I just want to say this…..I’m dying here! If I had book three, I would pick it up this instant and start reading! The ending was absolutely perfect! It made my “Nooo” moment in 18 Things all okay …. I just wanted to say another great read. And seriously, just as soon as you get book three done I’ll happily beta read for you again. You wrapped the second book up so well, in addition to leaving us hanging just enough that I’m salivating for the final book!!!!! You know I want you to send it JUST as soon as you write The End! I can’t wait to read it!!! ”
Beta Reader #2: “Truth: I LOVED 18 TRUTHS! 🙂 Now, I have to be honest with you, because A.) I consider you much more than “just” a writing friend, and B.) I really love your writing. 18 THINGS blew me away. The story was such an emotional journey for me, and I’m assuming anyone else who’s ever picked it up shares those feelings. My heart was wholly invested in Olga and the rest of the cast from the very first page. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that immense connection with 18 TRUTHS until I’d read a good chunk into it. So, what I think happened, is that some of the deep emotional connection we had to Olga in the first book, was lost in this second book. I think that in 18 THINGS, you concentrated on Olga’s emotional and spiritual journey, but you focused more on the story as a whole in 18
TRUTHS. . . 18 THINGS was powerful and profound . . . 18 TRUTHS was just a really good book. I guess I was missing that emotional and
spiritual journey aspect a little bit. But I am just one person, and my thoughts might be one among a million opposite perspectives, so take what you will, or don’t. 🙂 You truly have a gift, and I am so happy to be able to read such God-centered stories because at times, I really need the reminder.”
Beta Reader #3: “Brilliant! That’s all I have to say, love. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My comments are very, very few. Take them or leave them. Thank you for letting me be a part of this incredible read. This was an un-put-downable book, filled with twists and turns and while I was hoping for the ending you gave us, I didn’t really think you’d go there. I am thrilled you did. I love the way you weaved the stories, linking them all together in unexpected ways. The complicated relationships between the characters were expertly told with just the right about of passion, sizzle, and pure love. I have chosen my one and only for Olga, but I will gladly wait until book three to find out if my wishes come true or if God has other plans. Beautifully told story, strong characters, well-thought out plot, expertly written. A true storyteller. Bravo.”
My other beta reader also sung praises for 18 Truths, but she’s totally old school and printed out my entire novel and left comments all over it, and I’m too lazy to hunt through my pages and retype comments at this late hour (anyone else usually still up around 1:30am?). I always take the path of least resistance (A.K.A. letting my computer do most of the work), so I’m in awe of her ways!
So anyhoo, I was thinking I may not need any of that encouragement stuff this month, until I read an email tonight from Curiosity Quills, my publisher, that said Barnes and Noble turned down their pitch to stock 18 Things in stores nationwide 😦
Hear that sound? That was the SOUND OF MY HOPES AND DREAMS BEING CRUSHED!!! Anyone else ever feel like they can’t be too happy over something because bad news is just around the corner? *raises hand* Truth is, there are sooo many events in our lives which we have no control. It’s all up to chance, luck, and timing. However, we do have control over whether we press on or give up. The secret of survival is in fact trusting in God’s perfect timing for our lives (yup, you may recognize a line like that in 18 Things). I can sit here and question and whine about why other novels got chosen over mine, or I can trust in God’s plan for my life. Maybe he’s taking me in a different direction . . .maybe the whole nation isn’t ready 18 Things yet . . . maybe my writing just isn’t good enough. All I know is I’ve had the longing to be an author from a very young age, and I believe with my whole heart that it was divine inspiration.
So yeah, I got knocked down tonight, a dramatic power-bomb slam that put my lights out for a good hour while I cried on the couch. Then I blew my nose, took a deep breath, and remembered that it’s all in God’s hands, not mine. Even in this small room, sitting still, I am moving closer to the plan he has for me by holding onto faith.
Anyway, before I go, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to another fellow author in need of some help. My dear friend, Jessa Russo, re-launched her debut novel this week. If you haven’t read Ever yet, you seriously need to! And stop by Jessa’s website because she’s giving away some totally A*W*E*S*O*M*E prize packs!
What about you? Do you find it hard to surrender things to the universe? How do you find your peace when things don’t go your way? Have you ever had a setback that ended up being a blessing in disguise? I could still use some encouragement after all . . . . ❤ Jamie
An example of a setback ultimately being revealed good and a blessing in disguise that I think of often is in the Torah portion that corresponds to the week of my Hebrew birthday. At the time, it seemed awful how Yosef was thrown into the pit and sold into slavery by his brothers, but it turned out that he was able to save his family’s lives because he was in Egypt. Sometimes it’s not for us to understand right away why we experience a setback or tragedy, and some things we’re never meant to ever understand.
It is disappointing that the publisher didn’t pick up on your book, but you had so much positive feedback from your betas! They were some amazing reviews.
Although there is normally something less than pleasant lurking round the corner that just makes enjoying the good stuff while we can all the more important.
That’s enough of my preaching 🙂
Just remember that a good book will find an audience, and your betas certainly think the books are good! Highs and lows in the same week/day are an unfortunate side-effect of this wonderful business 🙂
What great beta feedback! 🙂 Keep living in the positive!
Without these minor setbacks along the way, the ultimate victory wouldn’t be all the more sweeter. As tenacious as I can be at times, I find that when things don’t go my way it’s TOTALLY because some part of my being (that I may not even see) is just not ready yet. But when they do eventually go my way, I’m usually better prepared to handle it. Does that makes sense? You know that everything happens on His time even when we can’t see the whys. You’re heading in the right direction, Jamie. Keep it up & congrats on the positive beta feedback!! xo
Dont worry too much about it, Jamie. Truth is, most of your sales will come from eBooks. And even tho it’s prolly always been a dream to see your book on the shelves, those days are quickly becoming obsolete. Sure it’d be great and every writer longs for that feeling, but embrace what you have, and remember there’s always someone who’d trade places with you.
Congrats on the excellent beta feedback!! Yay!!
1st – Read EVER and so glad she didn’t give up! Great book 🙂
Sorry to hear about your disappointment. It often feels like we take a step forward only to be thrown two steps back (at least, that’s how I feel right now). But keep reading those beta comments because they’re definitely worth a lot! And you’re totally right about the God leading us down His path. Just go with the flow because whatever He has in mind is much better than what we’d ever come up with. Can’t wait to see your 2nd book – now, I’m all excited again 🙂
I understand the disappointment, so big hugs. BUT…
You have work that your betas love, and you know what? Those are some of the most honest opinions you will ever get. Your books sound fascinating and since eBooks are all the trend, maybe you’ll get enough audience still that will force them to come to you and request it for their shelves after. It’s not over!
Congratulations on the awesome feedback!!!
I brace myself for failure every time I do something. Not the healthiest mindset, but it keeps expectations low! LOL I need to work on that…
Anyway, if it makes you feel better, my nearest B&N is an hour away. I couldn’t tell you the last time I was there, and I have a feeling that’s the case for most people, these days. *sigh*
Oh well. I’m glad to hear you’re getting such great feedback! 🙂
OH ugh, I’m so sorry for the disappointment. For other non-writing reasons, I’ve had to really cling to this message a lot lately, so your post is very timely for my heart. Thank you for sharing your heart with mine. Much needed.
Boo! I wonder why they turned it down. That really stinks. They made the wrong choice!
I’m sorry, Jamie! It’s not the end though. And it’s Barnes and Noble’s loss.
Don’t you just dig conflicting reports like that from critique partners? I always go with majority.
That sucks, I’m sorry!! This is your first book though, right? You have tons ahead in the future, and you’re well on your way! I too have a hard time trusting when things are going well. My mantra is “I am safe, and I deserve AH-MAZING things.”
I’m so sorry Jamie. I don’t see it as your dreams being crushed. I see it as your dreams taking a different path. It will lead somewhere unexpected and bring you more joy. You have readers who love you.
Great beta read feedback! Take care of you and enjoy your writing x
Wow, what an emotional trip. Gads! It will work out. I’m sure of it.
Such a shame B&N turned it down. Sorry to hear that. But this is just a slight set back and a new door will open up for you:) The beta feedback is fantastic. Huge congrats.