So here’s how it goes. You & a team of people (fabulous people!) put together a collection. You get to the end of the process & you think, “Fck, I’m tired.” That’s it, that’s all you think for a while.
Then you get through that, a little, & you’re enjoying the relative quiet in your brain. You find yourself humming. You don’t think too much about things. You’re enjoying the mental downtime.
And then one day you think, “Gee, I hope this eye of the storm can last.” By which you mean: you hope you never, ever have to hear the reactions of people to what you’ve just done. Or, at least, the reactions of the disappointed people. That’s the toughest bit. The disappointment. The rest, well, you’ll probably hear from those guys sometime soon.
But the next thing that happens is, the quiet goes on. The humming stops. There’s a whole lotta silence in the top of your skull where the buzzing used to be, the buzzing that signified too-much-to-do back when. It is soooo quiet. And still. Inside your head and out of it. You think, “Gosh, I kinda wonder what people think of that collection we did. Maybe.”
But you don’t wonder too much, in case they don’t like it. People tell you not to worry, these things are a slow boil. Especially single-author collections, especially if you’re not marvellously famous yet. You sit back & wonder what that means, slow boil. I mean, just how long is a boil usually, anyhow? Don’t things just either boil or they don’t?
Casually several people will mention they’ve read your book & you’ll apologise automatically. Then you’ll enquire, “You read it? You don’t mean the whole thing, though, do you?” Sometimes they actually claim they do! This is astonishing.
You’ll apologise again & say, “Well, it’s really the buying that’s important. You shouldn’t’ve felt obliged to read the darn thing.”
It’s all about shifting the stock, see.
And THEN not only will someone read the book, they’ll review it. Sometimes in detail. Embarrasingly detailed detail that makes you admit, ‘er, yes, that really was a sexualised image I used in that story, I’d forgotten all about that & I’d probably kinda thought nobody had noticed’.
“Oh,” you’ll think. “That’s one helluva review.” And then a little later, “Huh.”
This, then, is that review. Dan Hartland & Strange Horizons: thank-you. :)