THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS JOB
By Jackie Morse Kessler
I heard once that when you don’t get feedback about your work, it’s like being an all-night DJ when no one calls in with requests: you don’t know if anyone’s really listening. Writing can be the same way—if you don’t hear from readers that they’ve read your books, you’re never really sure if, well, anyone is reading them. (Okay, maybe that’s just me. I sort of obsess. You should have seen me in my Duran Duran phase. My bedroom wall was covered with pictures of John Taylor.)
Getting positive feedback from readers is mind-blowingly amazing. There is nothing, nothing like getting an email (or snail mail) from a reader who’s excited about your book. (Negative feedback is slightly less exciting, but it can up the ante in terms of humor. Once I was accused of being a Satanist, which I thought was pretty funny.) But the best thing about this job is getting to talk to readers about my books, and then answering their questions in a live Q&A format.
And this, hands-down, was the bestest of the best for me:
I was doing a reading/signing at my favorite local indie when Rage hit the shelves. A number of my friends were in the audience, which is always nice, but there were also people whom I didn’t know at all sitting there and listening to me talk about the writing process, self-injury, the Riders of the Apocalypse, and why chocolate should be its own food group. (Another perk of doing readings is that you can talk about pretty much anything.) So when it was time for people to have their books signed, two folks I didn’t know came up to me, a girl and a guy. The girl confided that she was a former self-injurer, and that she loved reading Rage. I was thrilled to hear that the character I’d created had really resonated for her. But even better? When it was the guy’s turn, he quietly told me that the girl has been his friend for years, and he’d been trying to understand what self-injuring was, so that he could understand what she had gone through during that period of her life. And now, thanks to reading Rage, he felt like he finally got it.
That made my heart soar. It was like getting a hundred on a major exam, or a top-notch performance review at a job. Or eating Tim Tams from Australia. (I’m telling you: chocolate should be its own food group.)
Riders of the Apocalypse giveaway!
Three lucky winners will receive one copy each of HUNGER and RAGE along with postcards and a mini-poster! To enter, send an e-mail to RageGiveaway@gmail.com. In the body of the e-mail, include your name and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 4/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 5/1/11 and notified via email.
Jackie's next stop is SciFiGuy at http://www.scifiguy.ca/.