“You have created a wonderful piece of literature.”
“How is your book doing?”
“You wrote a novel? How cool!”
I get a certain amount of that. People who have read The Anvil of the Craftsman seem to like it, and are eager to share their feedback. It is great to hear, and I treasure every comment. To have written something that pleases others is rewarding. Most of the opinions include the words “you” or “yours” or “Dale’s.” I have a guilty secret.
AOTC is not really mine, though certainly I have written every word. To claim it as mine alone would be to ignore the contributions of a great many others that made the title what it is. My long-suffering Single Candle Press editress, under whose pen my prose bleeds red, has at least as much a claim to the quality of the work as I do. It is fitting then, that we are equal partners in the enterprise. The contributions, however, do not stop there.
I have a network of beta readers I did not intend to use as proofreaders. I assumed—because I had not produced a novel yet—that I could provide them an error-free read. I read and reread the drafts of AOTC until my eyes were bleeding, and I was not the only one. It went out in beta with at least twenty errors caught at various times since then. It was a harsh lesson, and led to process improvements that we are implementing in working on the sequel.
There are people who have not even read the work yet, and still provide their encouragement and their praise. That is another component of the fuel that keeps a writer going through the long process of becoming an author, and the result belongs, at least in part, to them as well.
Most importantly, there are the readers, the ones who I yearn to please. They are perfect strangers who, for whatever reason drew them, paid their money and digested a novel that I love so much. I hear from them as well, and their words make me determined to make the sequel and the third title of the Jon Anthony trilogy worthy of their expectations. To disappoint them would devastate me.
Having said all that, I cannot escape the thought that these words are something more. Had another pair of eyes not seen them, could I really claim them as mine? There is a magic in the storyline, the lessons, and the truths there inside those pages. All of those always existed, and perhaps my part was only to organize and present them for the sake of others. That is a humbling thought.
I love these words, but they are not really mine. I was merely the first one to see them come into the world. I can count that as the blessing it is.
Choose to love, -DA