You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
We all know that old saying, right?
While I agree with it in fact, I don’t feel it is truly factual, or wholly factual? I should say. I have broken this rule myself, and let’s face it, an up and coming writer has to bank on it being broken.
While I agree this saying holds true for say, a 32 year old interviewing for the CFO of a muti-billion dollar company, I think (and pray) there are cases where this is, well, not the case.
As much as I agree with the once-a-dick-always-a-dick kind of thing, there are circumstances where I think; no, not really.
Like the dick I dated at 17 with a black Trans Am, Member’s Only jacket, and bad boy attitude in full bloom. He was a HUGE DICK back then, and if you would’ve ask me at 17, or even at 25, I would’ve said he was a pox riddled dick that needed to masturbate with a chainsaw. However, he turned out to be a really great guy later in life. Faithful husband (as far as I know), devoted dad and not the party favor prison bitch I killed a chicken and danced naked in the moonlight, while praying to unseen forces he’d become.
Same with actors, writers and other artists. I hated some of their early work. There were times I wanted to jump through the movie screen and strangle the fuck out of an overacting, wooden bastard, whom I now go all gooey eyed and wet Victorias over. No, I will not mention specifics, but I said more than once that they would never become anyone and I would never spend a dime on their work. WRONGO – Same with some of my absolute FAVORITE authors, again, I will not name names. I will say that one book was so bad, (IN MY OPINION), some passages are still a running joke in my house, but I read every word they’ve written since then faithfully, and stalk them creepily on social media.
Because like Trans Am dick, they grew. And as they did, they changed. In the case of artists, got better in their craft. So while that first impression is there, and it’s true that it will never go away, I do not believe that is always all she wrote, fat lady singing, and curtain closing type final.
When it’s an arena where you can grow, whether literally or metaphorically, I think this saying shouldn’t apply.
While I like to think I am the greatest author in the world, the truth of the matter is, I’m not even close. BUT, what I am, is growing. Growing with every sentence and I hope I never stop doing so. Just reading the 2 books I’ve published, I see tremendous growth. And that’s saying something considering I think I’m the Muhammad Ali of authors. LOL (actually I don’t, I’m very insecure in that arena)
The problem I face as a just starting out, independent author, is getting people to know when to apply the first impression thing and when to fucking throw it out the window.
I’ve heard that many authors (even some big ones) go back and entirely re-write their first books because they personally think they are awful. Now, if authors themselves find them horrid, then why should little ole me expect all the readers in the world to find my first book brilliant?
The truth is I never did. I was so blown away by the people who enjoyed it, I cried, yes, me who only cries over fictional characters and my kids, cried over real people. While the bad reviews stung, still do. (I’m being nice by saying sting, they fucking burn like a bitch.) I expected them, prepared for them, the best I could anyway, but I never prepared for people to say nice things, so when they did, my soul ate that shit up like warm Krispy Kremes at 3am. And in doing so, it made the bad so much worse. I got a taste of something sweet that I never anticipated, making the expected more bitter.
But even worse than the taste in my mouth, is the fact that some people will never know that I can do better, am doing better.
As long as we grow and learn, we are better. And that applies to EVERYTHING in life.
So, I have a proposal for anyone with who (whom? I never know which) I made a bad first impression.
- If you wrote a review before this date and didn’t enjoy my first book, zip me an e-mail. Verlene.Landon@gmail.com
- Let me know you left an I-Was-Not-Impressed review and why, (the why helps me grow) and I will send you my second book FREE, to see if maybe we just got off on the wrong foot and if I’ve grown as an author in a way you might appreciate.
- If you’re still not a fan after you read book 2, at least you gave me a second chance and I thank you for that. That is more than some people ever get.
Well, I’m off to work on book 3 (which by the way will be better than 1 & 2) and maybe save the citizens of Solstheim from the evil Miraak.