Worries of a Newbie Author: The Terror and Comfort of Divergent Reading Tastes

I started writing my first book almost precisely a year ago. Since then, very few people have read my work. My critique partner. My agent. My editor. Judges in a handful of contests. A few trusted friends and family members.

That’s about it.

I’ll be honest. Even among those few people, not everyone has liked my work. My mother, who loves me very much, doesn’t really like my writing. Too much sex, I think. And I received enormously varying scores and feedback in the contests I entered. Some judges adored my voice and gave me perfect scores. Another assigned me 42 points out of 100, urged me to consider family values in my writing, and noted that my heroine (who had a master’s degree—as I do, incidentally) was much too educated to enjoy or, God forbid, make dick jokes.

(NOTE: I am inordinately fond of dick jokes. I hope this doesn’t mean I have to return my graduate degree.)

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