Ever since review copies of Bitter Seeds started shipping a while back, I’ve become increasingly schizophrenic about my web-surfing habits. Case in point: immediately after my Tor publicist (the awesome and ultra-patient Alexis Saarela) told me that the ARCs had shipped to reviewing venues, I completely eliminated my Google Alerts. I mean, it’s one thing to know if people are looking forward to that new book by that Tregillis/Tregellis/Tregallas guy; it’s quite another thing to know what they actually thought of it once they read it. And since I’m still finishing the trilogy (volume three of the Milkweed Triptych, Necessary Evil, is due on my editor’s desk on Septebmer 1), it seems like actively seeking out reviews of the first book can only be counterproductive.
Likewise, I’ve avoided the comment threads at places like the Boing Boing review and my essay over at Scalzi‘s Big Idea column. And I’m steering wide of the reader reviews at online vendors like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as on Goodreads. After all, not everybody is going to like the book, or even the idea behind it, and some might even hate it. And they’re completely entitled to their opinions– I firmly believe that 50% of each book comes from the reader. At the same time, I have a contractual obligation to my publisher to finish my current manuscript on time, and I find writing is easier (never easy, but easier) when I’m not sad.
Which unfortunately means I sometimes miss out on really cool stuff.
(A while back, the Yeti also included me in its list of 25 authors to watch. Not sure I deserve to be listed among such talented people, but it’s very flattering nonetheless.)
So I feel just a little bit stupid for not seeing this — and thus not expressing my gratitude — sooner.