Sometimes it really sucks being one of a few people reading a new book. Especially one that is worthy of being talked about. You just sit around wondering: “Why is no one else reading this?”
That’s what it’s been like for me with a couple of Melissa Simonson’s books. The first was Burning September. I think I needed a support group after that book, for the best of reasons of course, but there was hardly anyone around. Burning September was my hands-down favorite book of 2017, which would hold a lot more weight if I were Oprah, I guess, and could inspire the masses to go and give the book a chance to steal their hearts as it did mine.
I haven’t quite achieved that status yet, but I’ll stay on the course.
Anyways, after Burning September (which you can read my full review here) I added Melissa to the list of authors whose books I will read no questions asked. It took awhile, but then Lingering happened. I downloaded the digital copy on release day and dedicated a large portion of time to reading as much of it as I can.
Completely binging, I tell you.
Now, contrary to Burning September, that I read obsessively until I finished, I did eventually put Lingering down and vowed to come back to it. The problem wasn’t with the writing, or the story, it was just that I don’t really like reading ebooks; I like turning pages and giving dog ears, or inserting my fancy metal bookmarks. So, I waited until I could get my hands on the physical copy of it, which took longer than I thought.
Anyways, you don’t want to hear that tangent, and this is sort of like a prologue to the full review of Lingering that will be posted later. What I really want to talk about is the fact that so many great books and amazing authors are so overlooked. I’m aware that it isn’t just limited to authors, but the fact remains true.
It just raises so many questions about how social media could have you running out to your nearest Popeye’s for a chicken sandwich, or how things just become popular overnight for no apparent reason at all.
I’m reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald and how he died believing he was a failure at writing. After the release of The Great Gatsby, he received so many critical reviews about it; he thought he would be better off not writing at all.
Then, after his death, suddenly he was a raving success.
Lil Wayne probably said it best in his song Don’t Cry from Tha Carter V:
“Gotta lose a life, just to have a life…”
We’ve seen it happen countless times before, where people criticize, or even worse, don’t pay any attention until after a person has gone on to glory.
I lay awake a many of nights hoping that isn’t the case for me.
Recently, I received an email from someone who wanted to give up writing because it just isn’t panning out how they imagined. As in, the level of skill and dedication it requires to bring forth a single book, wasn’t producing the volume of readers.
Now, it’s true that as writers, we write for the joy of it, and the passion. But, like most careers and passions, you should be able to monetize it. Sure, you could trump it up to the level of marketing it requires, promotion, and it’s true, things are never going to be handed to you. But, for some people, it is just handed to them.
Of course, I believe all stories have the right be told. No matter how poorly written, barely legible or strange intent.