I think many writers are people-pleasers. We want other people to enjoy our work. You get that review where the person states your story is their favorite, and you just swell with pride.
That happened to me.
You may or may not know of a project I participated in a while back called The Seven. We released an anthology called The Ancient. My story, Smokeless Flame, was first and one of the reviews said it was their favorite. Reading that made me giddy.
But they didn’t call my story by name.
Then The Seven shifted around. Some roles changed. They corrected minor errors and typography issues and released a second edition. I cracked open the new version on Amazon and my heart skipped.
The order had changed.
It no longer appeared like the review was about my story.
I fretted silently for a while. It was just one review. It shouldn’t matter. Still, it niggled in the back of my mind. What if people didn’t know this person liked my story? There was that people-pleaser aspect of my personality coming out. And yet, I didn’t want to cause problems. I hate conflicts in real life. I’d much prefer to read about them. But I took a deep breath and emailed about my concern, terrified that I might be labeled a difficult child. (Gotta love insecurity, eh?)
Thankfully, the person in charge is very understanding. She hadn’t realized the review didn’t call my story by name. She even bolstered my spirits by saying they wanted a strong end to the anthology, which is why mine was moved. We discussed via email and since we didn’t know the person who left the review, she left a comment specifying the order change and my story.
I don’t know how many of you are like me—people who don’t like making a fuss, don’t like causing problems, don’t like inconveniencing other people. But getting my concerns out in the open helped calm my insecurity.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Did you speak up, or did you keep quiet? Did it work out well in the end?
If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Ancient, it will be on week-long sale for 99 cents starting tomorrow (3/3 – 3/10). I’d love for you check out my short story contribution, Smokeless Flame, and let me (and others) know what you think.