Once your book
has had a 5-Star Review you’ll need that rush again. But remember,
some reviewers won’t be so benevolent, so be prepared to suffer the book review
blues. Then, be strong, and send your baby out into the world again.
Authors long for reviews. We go to great
lengths to find folks willing to pen blurbs about our babies. Because, of
course, reviews sell books.
So…we contact newspapers and magazines and TV stations, radio
outlets, book bloggers, and those with the keys to the podcasts. Then there are
the book clubs and bookstores – the few that remain in brick-and-mortar
form. Sometimes, authors beg friends and family members for reviews,
but that seems a bit on the suspect side. I mean, generally, don’t loved ones
want to say nice things, if only to be polite and avoid familial strife? I have
so far refrained from this particular approach, which does not mean I might not
give it a try in the future. I just haven’t…yet.
A well-written query letter, to all the proper
specifications, might glean a review about two to three percent of the
time. Really. I sent out 60 requests one weekend and got two “No thanks”
replies for my efforts. The other fifty-eight beautifully composed
queries went unanswered.
Still, on that rare occasion when someone
agrees to review your book…oh, the joy! And then the wait. Weeks, maybe months,
go by before the results come in. And that first 5-Star Review? You read it
over and over, lingering over the verbiage like it’s a letter from a lover:
“I say this is a must read! The book is
utterly captivating and mature.”
“The story was tightly plotted and
“Tragic, disturbing, captivating, but utterly
But as with most love affairs, eventually
the words become too familiar, stale, and you long for something different.
So the quest begins again. You need that high, and the begging – OK, go
ahead and call it marketing, if that makes you feel better – begins anew.
Then, of course, authors must also stomach the
not-so-charitable comments. There’s the dreaded DNF: Did Not Finish, meaning your book was so bad the
reviewer simply couldn’t get to your well-crafted, quite brilliant ending.
“The writing style wasn’t for me. It was too
descriptive for my taste.”
“This work aims high but ultimately falls
“The brief, cliff-hanger chapters might appeal
to reluctant readers.”
Ouch! And yet, we keep…on…looking. Hoping that
someone will read our words and tell us what they think.
Perhaps there is something
inherently wrong with authors that we are willing to put ourselves in
a position of such utter vulnerability. I’ve heard budding writers say
they fear rejection and I want to laugh. Rejection is part of the job
description. One must embrace it: “That which does not kill us makes
us stronger,” and all that.
A way to survive the emotional ups and downs of the book review
process is to consider the subjectivity of the practice, because these missives
are but personal opinions. Don’t believe me? Well, every one of the comments
listed above, including the dreaded DNF, came from actual reviews of my
most recent novel, The Scent of Rain.
Go figure. How can one person adore a book and another find it repugnant? Beats
me. But I do know we authors must never refuse to offer our books up
on the sacrificial altar of Reviews. Yes, there will be low points,
but the highs, I promise you, will blot out those blues.
So stand straight. Be bold. Believe in your prose and send your
baby out into the world. Really, there’s no other way.
Please allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women’s fiction novel for your reading pleasure.
The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.
In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.
Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.
When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.