Friday, September 18, I had the best experience of my writing career as part of the Rave Reviews Book Club Back-to-School Book and Blog Block Party. In terms of what I wanted to receive from the blog party, I was pleased.
My goal wasn’t about how to get sales or book reviews. It wasn’t about what a writer needs to do, have, or be like. My goal was just ‘is it worth me putting the words on the page’ and the response was awesome.
About 40-45, I haven’t counted them yet, independent authors from Rave Reviews Book Club came to my blog to read my post for that day and to leave their comments.
I posted two excerpts from a story under construction and asked them to read one and if they liked it, to read the other. That’s all. What they decided to do from there was strictly up to them. As was to be expected, there were well wishes, hello’s and assorted shouts out of polite encouragement.
Many said that I piqued their curiosity and that they would read the finished product and those comments made me smile, but what really boosted my spirits and made the experience so well worth the effort were the critiques.
Some of the members took the time to share tips to help me grow. If they liked it, they told me why and they told me what would work going forward. I was given ideas for possible book covers and told why one would work over another.
Members shared designers and editors with me. I even got a couple of offers of publishing. It was a good day! This has been a busy month on my RRBC journey as I’ve tried to give back or as the club is fond of saying, ‘pay it forward’. I’ve not gotten back to writing because I’ve not had the time to go deep.
When I write, I go to where my characters are and that takes concentrated time. However I don’t begrudge any time I’ve given to RRBC or to my other random projects because I have learned that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ is more than just a catchy saying.
So today, I wanted to list what I received from my Rave Reviews Book Club Back-to-School Book and Blog Block Party.
.• Understanding without needing to explain
Most of the comments seemed to sense my novel’s setting, and didn’t need too much of the premise to get into it. They could feel where it was going and they offered advice to help me get there. They noted pacing and dialogue without me saying that was what I wanted them to notice.
• Critique at a glance without a lot of redundancy or embellishment
They were able to encourage the writing, discourage certain tendencies, and offer changes with a quick phrase or just one word. I’ve taken writing classes or been in writing clubs where certain show-offs just go on and on until it becomes more about them and their style. Not true here!
• Encouragement to write/to write what I want/to write where and when I want
By spending a better part of the month with these writers, many of them more experienced than me, I’ve learned that I can write in whatever genre I choose. I can even change genres if I want. These writers tend to write in various locales as they prefer and not one said I needed to go away to a writer’s colony to get it done.
• Other resources to get the things I need, i.e. covers, editing, trailers
As I said previously, I was told who could provide me with the best editing, covers, and book trailers, in their humble opinions. I was able to view some of the finished products and I can say that they know what they’re talking about.
• Introduction to my peers via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media
The participating authors tweeted out to their friends and readers that my post was live and ready to be viewed and commented on. Consequently, they helped grow my views to proportions I had not seen before or since. I received new followers on Twitter who, amazingly, tweeted about my excerpts.
• Help to grow a thicker skin
As with anything, everybody didn’t participate and some who supported earlier participants in the B2S Book and Blog Block Party tour didn’t support me. I learned who would take time from their own busy writing schedules to be a part-time cheerleader for this project and who would risk appearing hostile to this project for the sake of meeting their own deadlines.
Thanks to Rave Reviews Book Club President and fellow author Nonnie Jules for organizing this tremendous experience for all of us.