Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Few Hours

As a writer, you hope people will open your book and be hooked, unable to put it down until they've read the last page.

I've already gotten a few notes along those lines about Tower of Strength, and each one makes me realize that I've been holding my breath, waiting to see reader reactions, because I'm past the point of being able to accurately judge this one. Every time I hear that someone enjoyed it, I can relax just a little bit more.

I know I can't please everyone, and that there will be people who don't like my work. I'm okay with that. But I love hearing from those people that my books do resonate with on some level.

(The best is finding out that I've kept a woman up until three in the morning so she could finish one of my books. I'm so sadistic.)

But no matter what, fears will still build up inside. I like to hope I'm improving with each book, but what if I backslide? (Rebecca totally made my day when she said she thinks it's my best one so far. Yay!)

And there's this other, unexpected, side to getting the exact feedback you've been hoping to receive, the, "I couldn't put it down," thing, like I got a day or so after the release.

One of my best friends sent me a note through Facebook saying she'd bought it and read it "in one sitting."

And that's when the weird reaction set in.

I wanted this to happen.

But . . . at the same time, there's this little a part of you that thinks, Wait. She read it in ONE sitting? How is that possible? It took me nearly a year to write and revise and edit that book, and it's done and OVERWITH in a few hours?

As if readers should read a book at the pace it was written or something.

Writers really are a funky bunch.

Today's tour stop:
Away from It All


LisAway said...

Well, I'll tell you now that I like to savor books. I'm not the type to read one all at once. I like them to be more like a favorite series on TV where you're just dying for the next installment. I think the combination of me being a slow reader, a busy mother and wanting to stretch the story out makes me read books that way.

Plus I feel weird when a book takes place over months or years and I read it all really fast. It's like the movie version of a book (I think that's part of why I prefer a book, it lasts longer)

And I am really surprised when people say they sat down and read it in a few hours. Really? How is that possible. I guess it's helpful if you like to read a lot.

Carolyn V. said...

Wow! That is amazing. I'll have to get my hands on your book now! =)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I could totally see feeling that way about a book!

You want it to be want them to read until they are finished, unable to put it down.

But all YOUR hard work can be read in a couple of hours??? You're right, doesn't make sense! :)

Anonymous said...

It's the same way I feel when I spend hours on a meal that's devoured in 30 minutes. :) I read it in one day, too - and that was on the computer screen. I hate reading on the computer screen and it takes me longer. So that's really saying something about your book!

Kristina P. said...

I like Julie's analogy.

I like to entertain, and it can take me months of planning for a party, and then it's over in 2 hours, and you feel a little bittersweet about it.

Rebecca Irvine said...

If I wrote fiction I would want the same reaction from my readers. Writing books is hard work (and underpaid), so good work should be rewarded with such sincere compliments. You deserve it!

Heidi said...

I could have written this post. Every word would have been true, too, except the title of the book. Instead, I posted about the rotten review I got last night from some really mean blogger. Gadzooks, she was spiteful!

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those jerky readers who read it all in one sitting or end up going to bed at 3:30 AM because I couldn't put it down. I'm voracious. If I like it, I can't wait. Sorry 'bout that.
If it makes you feel better, I have to own my books so I can re-read them often. (Which I truly do. If I don't have a book in my hands, I'm not happy.) =]

Alison Wonderland said...

I was thinking that I'd make a big point here of telling you that I didn't read it in one sitting and further telling you just how long it took me to read it (not very, by the way) but I know, from having sent my manuscript to people, that that isn't going to mke anyone happy. So I'm just going to tell you it was great. And leave it at that.

Amanda D said...

I went to Deseret Book last week and they didn't have your new book yet. :( Is it on shelves everywhere yet?

I hope to read it...and SOON!

Lara Neves said...

I sometimes feel that way about a performance. You put so many hours of rehearsal and practice and memorization and polishing in, and the performance is over in one hour. Sometimes it seems a terrible let down!

hi, it's me! melissa c said...

There's something amazing that happens when someone tells you your book is wonderful.

Everyday, my thirteen year old bursts into my room and asks, "Have you written any more?"

My favorite thing to do is watch him read...straight from the computer, and tell me what he thinks. (I wish he read faster!)

Today, he said after finishing my latest chapter..."I don't know what to say...that was awesome!" He said it with such reverence that I started jumping up and down!


The ultimate compliment was when he said, "Mom, you have magic in your fingers."

He keeps me going!

Annette Lyon said...

Melissa C, That is priceless!

Joy For Your Journey said...

I read about your book on Becky's blog and bought it to read while in Utah visiting my mother--who coincidentally is from Sanpete Co. I very much enjoyed the book--it was sweet and inspiring. I wish I had read the historical notes at the back of it first, however, as I think it would have made it more meaningful. BTW--I noticed you had a good review today in Meridian Magazine.
Also--I saw your other blog. We are going to Finland this summer as part of a cruise so that was interesting to read. I also returned to Costa Rica last year where my father served as mission president when I was a child and it was so much fun to see everything from my childhood. I was amazed at everything I could remember. How fun for your parents to be in Finland again and for you to be able to visit them.

Julie Wright said...

At least you know I will always be a huge Annette Lyon fan. You've never let me down and I have loved all your books!

Kathy P said...

I love reading my books fast... I can't stand to be left hanging onto a story...

I read crazylands blog the other day,and because I am on vacation, grabbed one that day. Finished it last night.

Wonderful. Brought tears to my eyes. One of my favorite parts was when Will made the mess in the Printing office.

If you hadn't spent so much painstaking time writing, rewriting, editing, then maybe I wouldn't have been able to read it so fast... which is what makes me love a book.

Well done.

wendy said...

It must be so rewarding for you to be able to actually write BOOKS ------incredible. I will have to get my hands on some.

Heatherlyn said...

There are all different types of books. Some are really wonderful, but NOT one-sitting books. But they have to be high on the prose and philosophy in order to be good multiple-sitting books.

For most books, reading them is like watching a movie. I can't stand to be interrupted. If I don't mind the interruption, the book must not be that good.

What makes a truly great book is if it is interesting enough to allow for a re-read. Those are truly rare.

I'm glad that you are getting good comments on your book. It must be really really nice.

Luisa Perkins said...

We ARE funky; this post made me laugh.

I'm a total sadist: I love it when my writing makes people cry.

Heather of the EO said...

I'm like Lisa a bit. I like to savor a book and I have a hard time finding time to read one all at once. But I have lots of friends who can ONLY read all at once, they just can't stop :)

I like your kind of funky bunch :)

Janelle said...

It is just crazy that you can get instantaneous feedback from hundreds of people. I wonder what authors we love would have shied away from writing in this kind of environment. I imagine we can already guess, it would have been the anonymous and name chaning authors of long ago.

I admire you and Heidi for putting yourself out there like this and then blogging about it.

Chas Hathaway said...

That's how I sometimes feel when I go back and read old journals. Some drama I went through for 6 months can be read in 30 minutes, and I think to myself, "Wait, I thought I wrote more about that."

- Chas

Annette Lyon said...

Chas, Great example!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I recently finished reading "At The Journey's End." I have enjoyed all your books thus far, including this one. I often read while using the elliptical trainer at the gym and a couple of different times I added more time to my machine so I could keep reading. You have a way of pulling a reader in :) !!


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