Yes, having people review my book is very important to me. Every artist needs the feedback. No painter hangs a picture on a wall hoping people won’t see it, no playwright writes a play hoping it won’t be staged, no musician writes a song hoping people won’t hear it and sing it, no one gets on stage hoping no one applauds.
When I receive a review I know two things: first, and most importantly, is that the person writing the review read the book, and that the book moved that person enough to make them write a few words. A good review can lift me, give me the energy to write on, and tell me that the years spent creating the story were not a waste of time. One does not sit down and willy-nilly zip off a three-hundred-page novel. It’s work, hard work. I was once asked, how long it took me to write In Search of Joel Gomez, and when I responded "five years" the person who asked the question was astonished. “Really? I couldn’t possibly imagine working on a story that long.”
When I was a kid, I would just write, plunge right in without knowing what it took, or how long it would take. I can’t tell you how many novels, short stories, and plays I had written and then stuffed in drawers never to be seen again. In those pre-computer days, I was a very poor typist and left stacks of smudged papers everywhere. Check out my story Where’s The Bag/it’s policy, the tale of how I lost thirty pounds of writing). Now, when I get an idea, I say, whoa, hold-up, think about this, how long is this going to take? Let’s not waste another two or three years. Now, I only begin to write if the idea persists, if it won’t let me put it aside, if it haunts my dreams. I’m not kidding!
I started writing seriously when I was eighteen. I sold my first piece to the Philadelphia Inquirer when I was thirty-two. They paid me three hundred dollars. That’s approximately twenty dollars a year. One does not continue to write for twenty dollars a year. A person continues to write because he or she is compelled to do so. Telling the story is part of my DNA. If you paint a picture, sooner or later you’ve got to hang it up for people to see. I want people to read my book and I want people to review my book. For those of you who have written reviews, thank you so much. For those of you who haven’t, take the plunge. Read In Search of Joel Gomez, and let me know what you think. Enjoy!