I’m not gonna lie. There are days when throwing in the towel on this whole writing business can seem pretty attractive. In the world of publishing, nothing ever happens quickly, and none of it is easy. Even the days when the words practically flow straight from your brain onto the page can be a bit depressing, because you know how much work it is going to take to go back and edit those words to make them as close to perfect as possible (and you know that even then there will STILL be a typo on page 78 that you, your twelve editors, and all your beta readers somehow missed). Even the thrill of completing a book can easily turn into a sense of gray gloom because you know that just because the story is finished, there are still months of work on your part, your editor’s part, and your cover artist’s part before you can put that book in the hands of your readers.

Then you look at your sales rank on amazon (you should never do this, by the way) and see that it’s somewhere north of 3 million. And you sigh. And your shoulders slump. And you wonder, “What’s the point, really? If there ever was such a thing as toiling in obscurity… this is it.”

But you were trained to never give up. Your parents told you over and over that they loved you too much to let you quit or be mediocre. So you square your shoulders and send your book out for free in exchange for reviews. You get involved in discussion forums like goodreads where the sole point is to connect authors with readers. You enter a contest or two. You send out queries to agents and publishers.

And you wait with hopeful heart. You have DONE something! Surely you’ll be on the New York Times bestseller list in a matter of days!

But only half the people you entrusted your book to actually take the time to read and review it. The discussion forums introduce you to a bunch of great people, but none of them are interested in buying your book. You meet some fellow self-published authors and they hop online with their news of winning such-and-such an award, of being ranked in the top 10 on amazon, getting a publisher, etc, and you are happy for them, you really are… it gives you hope! But you also feel a tiny twinge of envy that you hate yourself for feeling. Then you don’t win the contest. And you start getting form rejection letters… and your shoulders slump some more.

“Well, Jenelle,” you ask, “if that’s what the world of writing is really like… then really, why bother? I’m not sure I see what you see in it!”

It’s for moments like these. Moments when some random stranger reads a few of the pages you put so much effort into and decides to send you a completely unsolicited message like this one:

You have an amazing way with painting pictures in this story. Your descriptions are very poetic and beautiful. I think the idea of the Old Kraic language or Dragon Tongue is very original and I love the ancient sound of it. The Fang Blade made from the dragon’s teeth and his scales was a very creative touch.

Kamarie and Oraeyn have an interesting relationship, him considering her a burden at first, then coming to enjoy her spirited, determination and independent ways.

I felt Brant’s losses strongly as the scene at his home was intensely dark and painful. There are elements of darkness and light in this story, war and peace. I felt a distant threat looming on the horizon. I love how you veiled much of your story in the dusk, with the Dragon’s Eye shedding light. I think this is deep and the plot very clever. You definitely have mastered the art of storytelling. I think this is extremely impressive and am giving you six stars for your writing. It always shows up as four for the first person who rates it, for anonymity’s sake, but I wanted you to know I gave you more.

~ jenelle


Connie Keller

Congrats on the great review!! There’s nothing like hearing a stranger loves your writing/novel to give you the strength to persevere.


I love hearing from you, dear Reader!