I’ve been in a reflective mood lately, thinking of how with six full length novels out (and another already turned in), I’m still pretty new at this publishing thing, but at the same time, six books ain’t nothing to sniff at.
So I suppose I’m no longer a baby, but a toddler? A wobbly, inquisitive little creature who’s not quite running headlong into things anymore, but still tripping over obstacles.
Yes, I have twin toddlers. The metaphors come easy. Just not any metaphors that can be used in historical fiction set in imperial China.
But you know something you realize, but don’t realize when you get that first book published? That book is going to represent you forever. For better or worse. The mistakes you know are in there will come back to haunt you as new readers discover it. Even if you’ve written five, ten, fifteen more books, this debut novel has your voice frozen in time in all its rawness and eagerness and rough edges and unbridled joy.
Kind of like how you try to do everything right, but still make so many mistakes raising your first child…
I kid. I kid.
Guess what? Butterfly Swords just came out in France – La fille de l’empereur
One review called it “adorable” <– It looks the same as English, but I’m pronouncing that with a French accent, in case you didn’t know. Another review gave it “trois etoiles”. Three stars, not so bad you say? It’s 3 out of 6. *weeps softly in French*
I realized that I’ve become less sensitive to negative reviews of Butterfly simply because I have some distance between the Jeannie that wrote that book and the Jeannie of today. Actually, I always had a bit of distance between that book and reviews since I wrote it in 2008-2009 and it didn’t come out until 2010. By the time people were calling it “meh”, I had become another me. Unlike say, The Jade Temptress, where I turned that sucker in and several months later people were already saying “meh”. *weeps softly in English* (In truth, people have said “meh”, people have said “yay”, people have cross-referenced it with Shakespeare. As SEP once told me, and it’s some of the best authorly advice I’ve received: Every book you write is someone’s favorite book and someone’s least favorite. )
But, to return to my point, a re-release albeit in another language does make me realize that what’s old can be new again. At any point the old me, the now me, any version of me can be new again to readers who have just discovered it. A bit daunting, no?
And while we’re on the old being new and the French, one of my favorite historical romance books is now available in audio: The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne.
You can win a copy over at Goodreads: Giveaway for audio book of The Forbidden Rose
Or you can buy yourself a copy directly: Audiobook on Amazon
Apr 22, 2014 @ 19:29:24
A great column. And this advice is more important to me to remember right now, than ever. So thank you very much for this wisdom.
Apr 22, 2014 @ 21:23:07
What a wise reminder, Jeannie! And your books will be some new readers new favorites–how lovely!