Saturday, June 18, 2011

Paper Baby

Recently, I had a few days of inner conflict while I tried to decide whether I should get my abscessing tooth pulled ($195) or make a desperate bid to save it by taking it to visit the endodontist ($1800). In the end, I decided to spend my money on fun things. I called the dentist as soon as the decision was made and insisted on an extraction appointment the next day. After days of obsessing over the decision, I had no intention of spending another week under a cloud of impending doom. When something nasty has to be done, I like to get it over with as soon as possible.
One of the fun things I decided to buy with the money I saved was a signing pen, because my first book signing is scheduled for next week.  I invited friend Wen to join me in my search for a sexy writing implement. She has the same relationship with stationery stores that chocoholics have with Belgian truffles. I like to give her a thrill whenever I can.
As we drove to the store, I mentioned that all the reviews of Sisters of the Sari I’d seen so far were positive and wondered when the bad ones would start coming. Because we see each other so often, Wen is subjected to much more of my pessimism than you, as reader of this blog, have to endure. “Why are you always assuming the worst?” she said, with a smidgen more than a hint of annoyance. “Why can’t you just accept that people like the book?” It was a good question. I thought about it, and decided it was exactly like getting a tooth pulled – no fun, but the sooner it happened, the better.  She didn’t care much for this explanation, pointing out there was no proof it was ever going to happen. Wen is nothing if not logical.
Yesterday, when I checked on how my novel is fairing in the blogosphere, I found not one, but two book bloggers who were far from enthusiastic. I immediately fired off a hah-hah-told-you-so email to Wen. Then I stomped around the house for twenty minutes, holding imaginary conversations with the bloggers about why they were SO WRONG.  Which seemed to be all that was necessary to get over myself.
Naturally, these reviews dimmed my day a little, but there are two silver linings to this cloud I can appreciate.
1)    Followers of those blogs are probably people who enjoy reading the same kinds of books as the reviewers.  In my time, I’ve bought lots of books I didn’t like. I’m happy these people have been spared the frustration of paying for the opportunity to throw my book against a wall after reading the first few pages.
2)     The worst is over and I survived.
Okay, so some people think my baby is ugly. Other people think my baby is cute. In the end, it’s what I think that counts. (For me at any rate, the publisher probably has a different opinion.) I think my paper baby is beautiful. Of course, I have to. I’m its mother.


  1. As I read this, I couldn't help but think, if nobody pans this book, it might not be worth panning. (Having read it myself, I know it is though.) So I was really happy to see you found some less than glowing reviews. I wish you'd linked to them. Good writing always evokes an ambivalent reaction. Some love and some hate the taste of single malt. Everyone likes water.

  2. And as I read your comment, Chris, I remembered WC Fields claim he never drank water because fish f*k in it.