Waters of Bimini has been published for about a week. Our highest (spot) score on the national bestseller list was #3,000 for fiction and # 35 for medical fiction. Not bad . . . but not spectacular. However, there has been no advertising so far and so I’m quite satisfied with its performance.
Now comes the nervous waiting game. It takes about a week for the paperback to reach the reader, and of course, seconds for the digital version. It is a long book–520 pages–so it would take the typical reader a week or more to finish. Tick-tock, tick-tock, the time is in limbo. The world is in suspense.
All artists live on reviews. The vocal or instrumental performer, the painter, the writer, and others all wait for the response. However, three types of artists are most vulnerable to the review and that’s the stage performer (such as a Broadway review), the culinary artist (waiting on a food critic’s review), and the writer (waiting on the Amazon review).
The writer is a little different, but then again, maybe not. Personal reviews in the literature world not only can make or break a book but is also the key to getting professional reviews in newspapers and placement in bookstores. In a previous book on the ills of Evangelicalism, (Butterflies in the Belfry) the book was considered for a review in Christian Today, which would have secured the book’s great success. However, for the life of me, I could not get the ten required reviews–out of the hundreds who had read it–by the assigned time. That situation somewhat sealed the fate of the book, although the reviews that did eventually come in for me, and they were rather good.
For Waters of Bimini, the stakes are even higher. It is my first novel and could be my last (although there is nothing more I would rather do than write). But not just for the book’s opportunity, it is for my own self-evaluation. It is very difficult for an artist of any type to evaluate their own work. I would not go down as the first writer who thought he or she had written a great book, only to find that it was a flop. So, I try to be patient while the reviews come in. I may have to prod people to do them. It is so important to writer’s dream. The suspense may indeed, kill me.