Review Anxiety

The launch is over. I’ve done my reading. I’ve signed a bunch of books. That means one thing:

Thunder Road doesn’t belong to me anymore.

The book is in the hands of readers (and so I’ve been told, reviewers), and once published, books really do belong to the reader not the writer. I had things I wanted to accomplish in writing this novel, and I think I accomplished those things, but it’s impossible to really say. Until the reviews roll in.

And so I sit, and wait, and hope. Wait for my first formal review. Hope that the Winnipeg Free Press reviews the book and that is a positive one (ten years of bookselling has shown me that a good Freep review will do more for a book locally than pretty much any other review). Will Quill and Quire or the Globe and Mail choose to review the book, so that it gets attention on a national, rather than only a provincial scale? When will word on Twitter and Facebook, or comments on this site and notices from other bloggers start to roll in? What willl they say?

I’m trying not to obsess about it. It will happen when and if it happens, and those reviews will say what they say. If following publishing and authors behaving badly over a negative review has taught me anything, it’s that there’s no money in responding to negative review. Or a bad review for that matter. And while I don’t think the two are the same thing, it’s best to keep your nose out of either hornet’s nest.

Telling the reviewer they’re wrong, or trying to explain what they missed, or sending your friends and family to gang up on them proves one thing, and it’s not that you were right and they were wrong. It proves you’re unprofessional. I don’t want to be that guy, and the solution is simple. Just don’t be that guy. I’m sure my resolve will be tested. I’m sure I will want to respond to a review at some point in my career.

But I won’t.

And so, while I wait to see how the book is received it’s hard not to wonder, and worry, about what might be said; what might be inferred that I didn’t say and never intended. The more I consider it, the more I feel it’s not unlike submitting the book to a publisher in the first place; It’s just a level up in the game of waiting and hoping. I weathered the previous one, I’l make it through this too.

Write on.

2 thoughts on “Review Anxiety

  1. Would you be interested in being interviewed on my blog? I don’t have a large following, so it might not be worth your while, but I promise to be gentle. 🙂

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