I got a lovely email today from a friend who is reading The Reckoning of Asphodel for the first time. This gentleman doesn't like elves, swords, names with apostrophes in them or that are unpronouncable and dragons. In other words, he hates everything I write about except dragons. I don't do dragons.
But he likes Asphodel to the point where he's at. That makes me happy. It's like the day a reviewer stopped in the middle of her review and emailed me, telling me I'd better be writing more Asphodel books and that I'd better not kill off Brial. I framed that email and hung it over my desk. I may do the same with this one.
Most writers never have a clue about what people think of their work save for reviewers and sales. You can deduce that if your sales continue to rise with each consecutive book that you are building a readership. That's obvious. Reviewers are paid to give their opinions of your book--and you'd better hope they like it. Talk about a make or break opinion!
But the average reader? The one who reads your blurb on the back of the book and says, "Hmm, this sounds good. I think I'll try it." -- those are the ones whose opinions you never get to know, never get to hear, never get to ponder and enjoy. That's why, to me, they're so much more important.
There's a young lady at Absolute Write who's read all four books in the series. She was really sick at home and I sent her the unedited versions so she'd have something to read because she was too sick to get out to the bookstore and wanted something new to read. I can occasionally be nice, so I sent Asphodel on to her. She finished all four books in four days. One a day. And she loved them, even in rough form and without all that editorial polish, she got hooked by the story and loved the books.
So that's why this email meant so much to me this morning. Fantasy isn't even this man's genre--obviously, if he hates elves and dragons it eliminates a lot of it. But, for some odd reason, he likes my work and thought enough of it to write me a note and tell me so. It's the high point of what has been a not-quite-as-much-fun-as-a-gynecological-exam sort of week of me. It reassures me that maybe I'm not that bad as a writer. Perhaps, just maybe, I'm on the right track.
I'm walking on air right now and trying not to wipe out on the ice. What a lovely way to start off my day! Hopefully, he'll like the other three books in the series too. That would be an accomplishment indeed.