Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Reviews

One of the scariest things about being an author is book reviews. I had no idea.

A lot of reviews are unanticipated—the ones that show up on Amazon. Of those, there are the fun reviews, written by friends who aren’t writers, but read your book and loved it. Of course, an odd moment inevitably follows when you realize that they’re shocked that you could have written it and you wonder how much of a loser they think you are. But you let it go because you realize that they loved you even though they thought you were a loser, which is very cool.

Back to reviews. There are reviews written by strangers—they are the ultimate authorial experience. A complete stranger falls in love with your novel. Total rush. And, of course, there are the total loon reviews (thankfully, I’ve been spared these so far), where someone, who is most likely a sadist, decides you and your book are an appropriate punching bag. Not much you can do about those reviews except hope said person gets struck by lightning—just kidding, sort of.

Then there are the reviews you anticipate. Where either you ask a reviewer to consider your book or a reviewer contacts you and says they will be reviewing your book. These are wonderful opportunities. But too scary. (Talk about stress dreams.) You can’t help but wonder, what if my novel has spinach between its front teeth. Just because no one has noticed it thus far doesn’t mean it’s not there. Or what if this reviewer doesn’t connect to my main character or my plot or my voice? Those things happen.

A week or two ago a reviewer told me that she’d be reviewing Screwing Up Time. Yesterday, I got an email saying that she really enjoyed it. PHEW! I wanted to throw a party and dance around the house. Instead, I emailed my writing buddies, told my husband and sons (“That’s nice, Mom”), and made my daughter read the email on my laptop screen. So my blood pressure has returned to normal, that nervous twitch near my eye has disappeared, and I’m becoming more certain that my novel doesn’t have spinach between its teeth. At least, I’ll be convinced until I’m waiting for the next review.

Two Notes:

1. When the review and an author interview come out at the end of the month, I’ll post a link.

2. A big congratulations to Lydia and KO, who both signed with literary agents!!!


  1. The idea of reviews scare me to death. But, really, I've already had people who love my book and people who never get back to me on the pages they read, even when I email and ask them what's going on. So, hopefully my skin will be tough enough when the time comes;) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh man, reviews have got to be the scariest things. I'm so glad to hear you've had positive experiences so far! :) Looking forward to seeing that review!

  3. Well, we could arrange that they get struck by lightning. Soak them in salt water, make sure they're well grounded, etc.

  4. I was trying to think of something cutting to say about ugly reviewers/critics, but Luke said it well enough!

  5. I've been reading some of the bad reviews on Amazon lately. And I can't believe how cruel some people can be. This scares the pants off me.

  6. Yay, glad the reviewer enjoyed your book! Congrats! :)