Saturday, February 2, 2013

Setting the bar high

Hi! Welcome to February already!

I've got a hypothetical question for ya.

Say there is this debut book, and while it's not climbing up the charts, the response in the reviews that it does is overwhelmingly amazing.  How would you react and feel when writing your next story? Would you feel that maybe the bar is set so high, that the expectations are going to be very high?

Can I tell you something? This isn't quite a hypothetical question. This is my story.

I released The Secret Santa Wishing Well on November 17th. The very next day I had an amazing four star raving review on Amazon. Then more trickle in. Four and five star ratings.  I'm up to nine reviews on Amazon,  10 ratings on Goodreads, and a small handful on B&N. Some of these are crossover, but regardless, they have all been four and five star reviews. They all have the same kind of message and emotion.

Here is a link above to those reviews.

I'm almost 50k into my next novel, Baby Stetson, aiming to release in March, or early April.  I keep wondering, have i set the bar so high with The Secret Santa Wishing Well?  What's going to happen with my sophomore effort?

I've talked to a few friends about it, and their thoughts were that while it may be different from TSSWW, that it's still something hat will reach new audiences.  Good point, okay. I'm probably just worrying for nothing, but I needed a topic today, so that was it. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts. How do you, as a writer, handle that kind of feeling? And as a reader, do you read an exceptional debut book and have those high expectations for the authors next book?

And because I can, I'll share an UNEDITED excerpt from Baby Stetson.

I'd share a blurb, but it's still in the works. Basically though, it's the first of a series  Love and Music in Texas. Now that series title may change too, but that's my tentative until I have to make a for sure decision.

Here's that excerpt:

A vase of roses greeted Avery in the dining room the next morning.
     Where had those come from?
     “Mom? Dad? Are you still here?” Avery doubted they would be, as by this time, at least one of them were at the inn, working.  Avery walked around the counter and leaned closer to inspect the vase, hoping for a card to signify who they were from. Aha! Good. There was one. She reached for the small card, eager to know. Her name was scrawled in messy writing over the top of the card. Avery opened it and read.

I'm sorry. I know I'm driving you crazy.


     With a sigh, Avery placed the card back by the vase. She inhaled, taking in the sweet smell of the roses. Lucas was bad news. The best thing she could do for herself was to stop thinking about him all together. With his wishy washy attitude, she just didn't need it.  Besides, what did she know about the man anyway? Sure, he'd opened up last night, though it wasn't much. Lucas had been utterly torn by something. He'd been all over the place with what he wanted. So whatever. As much as Avery couldn't deny a strong attraction, she didn't need his drama.
     She had enough of her own to deal with.
    Speaking of which, Avery needed to hurry, grab her mother's prescription so that she could meet up with Rodney. Today, she'd be taking the next step to finding out if he was her biological father or not. Avery grabbed an apple from the basket on the table and bit into it, searching for her purse. There it was, on the end table, where she'd tossed it hastily last night after bolting from Lucas' room. Mom and Dad weren't even up when she came back, and now she'd missed them this morning. It seemed like they worked harder and harder at the inn all the time, and especially when they were short staffed. It wasn't right. Even though she didn't particularly want the inn, it sucked that they weren't enjoying retirement or something.
     For the most part, her parents enjoyed the inn. Even in a small town, with a place by the highway, travelers passing through stopped over a lot. Avery found it fascinating and interesting to learn about the different visitors, and what they did in life. Harmony's Echo was just a pass through down, not many ever stayed long. Strangers in and out, that's all Avery had ever known.
     Yet, two mysterious strangers wound up here, found a place in her life and she didn't know what to do with them. Well, Lucas, what did he really do to have a place in her life? Nothing, other than drive her nuts, that is. Lucas was a man of many secrets. Why? What reasoning did he have to be so reclusive? Not that it was any of her business, but the way he pushed her buttons...Argh!
     There she went again, allowing that man to slip into her thoughts again.
     “ Get out of my head, Lucas, and stay out.” Avery  muttered, staring hard at the roses.
     It wasn't going to be so easy.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing!
Nikki Lynn Barrett


Brenda said...

Hey there.
I know exactly what you're talking about. I'm going through this right now. I've received wonderful reviews on my debut novel and I'm hoping my current Work in Progress meets and exceeds reader's expectations when it's published.

Nikki said...

Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in this feeling. It's very overwhelming. I guess we just have to go with the flow, right?

Harlie Reader said...

You both are very lucky and I envy you. My debut story come and went in December and I have one review. Since my story is short, reviewers have told me that they will NOT review it because of its length. Really? Its only 5 page shorter than a 1Night Stand.

To say that I'm discouraged is an understatement. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point but to keep writing. Not sure if I will ever publish again.

I've been told, oh no one reads your debut; build up your back list. Okay, I'm no Roni Loren (LOVE HER) but if no one is reading my debut, then what's the motivation to keep writing? What's a backlist if no one is reading your books?

I'm just disappointed and frustrated right now. And people said that they would read and review it have vanished. Grrr...


Nikki said...

Hey Miz Harlie,

I can understand your discouragement. But don't let it stop you. Debuts are difficult! You never know which way it's going to go. Hell, for that matter, you never know which way any book release is going to go. But I have heard more is the key. Does that help the feeling of a debut that hasn't gone as well as one hoped? Probably not, but it doesn't hurt to keep trying.

Reviewers are going to be reviewers. They pick and chose how they want and it may not make sense to us, but it is what it is. Don't let them get you down.

My thoughts? Keep writing. Aim for publication. I've read snippits of your work, and the fact that you play around with multiple genres catches my attention. There's going to be that one book that readers will connect with, devour and sky rocket. Aim for that. Don't lose your love for writing if that's what your dream is.