This week was a first in my career and a big moment for THE FAR EMPTY, when the cover was finalized and released!
Not actual cover, lol
For some authors, this is accompanied by a big roll-out and a reveal, but my cover started appearing on the Penguin Random House website and Amazon almost simultaneously Monday morning, and I happened to be on the phone with a friend who noticed it before I did. This was followed by a mad scramble to confirm it, and just like that, THE FAR EMPTY had a “face.”
There it was...one of the big firsts for any new author!
And then it took maybe 24 hours for me to have another first in my career…a straight dose of criticism.
Someone who I admire and respect hated my cover.
Now, I did ask for their opinion, and although I appreciated the honesty, I can’t say it didn’t sting. I could have made all the arguments about debut authors and their covers, and the choices of big publishing houses and their art departments, but this person understands publishing and is well-versed in all that. And I know they love the book itself, so their criticism and concern was from a "good place." I could have pushed ahead anyway and argued all the reasons why I like it, and why we went with the scheme we did, but I passed on that, too.
Instead, I merely thanked them for their honest opinion, and let it go.
That’s the nature of any artistic endeavor - you have to be prepared for criticism every step of the way. Some people will like your work, others won’t, and I’m not sure there’s a lot of profit in arguing with or trying to convince the latter. You take risks and expose yourself with every story you write, and to succeed in the long term, you have to develop thick skin; hell, you have to become bullet-proof. There will be bad reviews, and there will be worse reviews. Some readers simply won’t and will never understand what you're trying to do, and others are going to mischaracterize it even when they do know better. There are going to be slings and arrows. But when all is said done, if what you're doing speaks to you - if you’re doing credible, meaningful work with honesty and integrity - the only thing you can do is let it all go, and keep writing.
I love it.
Now I can't wait for that next "first" in my carerer, when it's up on the shelves of your local book store...
Have a great Thanksgiving, and always keep writing - JTS