Someone tweeted “Do you read your own books?”
Everyone except me and one other person answered “Yes.” One of them said “That’s why I wrote them.” While I get it, I also don’t get it. Sure we write the books we’d like to read, but there’s no way I’d sit reading one of my own unless there was a good reason to.
When I decided to write a sequel to Nate and the New Yorker, I had to go back and read it to take notes. This was before I did detailed character breakdowns so I had to revisit what I said about eye colour, siblings, or any other factors that were needed to keep continuity.
I always planned to read books one and two of my Actors and Angels series before I wrote book three.
For me, it was important to marry the feel of both books in the third, as the first two are very different from each other.
Plus I wanted to make sure Guy (the gay angel in these stories) had consistency in his journey, even though he’s not the main character. I was taking note of what some of the reviewers had said of both books, and wanted to make sure their critique was understood when writing the third.
However, it felt like a distraction when all I wanted to do is get the third in the series written.
Sometimes I open one of my novels to a random page and read.
But I put that down to being a proud author. I don’t continue to read the chapter to the end. I couldn’t. I’m not sure why.
Is it because I know my writing has improved and I don’t need to revisit my earlier attempts? Is it because that story is now complete and I don’t need to relive it?
The truth might be it just doesn’t appeal to me.
My time is better spent reading someone else’s novel to help me learn more about my craft. So, for those that do go back and read their own work, I’d really like to know why?
Another author friend recently freaked out when she reread her own debut while she was auditioning a narrator for the audiobook version. She became haunted by what elements she could have done better.
I know that’s one of my fears. The book is published. Finding something that’s not quite right would just invite the type of behaviour all authors dread – overthinking.