Upon Further Review

So the last couple of weeks I’ve been posting the pre-publication reviews of LIQUID SMOKE, as we move a little closer to the book’s release date.  I know there are a few more in the pipeline that will probably pop up in the next couple of weeks, though I have no idea whether they’ll be positive or negative.  What I’ve seen so far has been very positive and that’s a great thing.

But do those reviews really mean anything?

Depends on what you want them to mean.

In version 1.o of my career (read: before I was dropped by a major publisher and endured a painful hiatus from publishing), I was convinced that the reviews would boost my sales.  All of the industry publications said many kind things about KILLER SWELL and WICKED BREAK, comparing me to bestselling writers and using all sorts of fancy words to describe the books.  Upon publication, I got a fair amount of attention from media outlets and again, the majority of the attention was positive.  I was ecstatic.  It was thrilling to see that people liked what I was writing.  It gave me confidence.  When WB was featured in Entertainment Weekly, I distinctly remember thinking “Okay.  My career is safe.  Entertainment Weekly likes me.”

Wrong.

As happens frequently in the publishing world, the great reviews weren’t enough to sustain the series at the time and I found myself in No Writer’s Land.  Critics approving of your work doesn’t always translate to sales and that was a tough thing to balance in my head.  It made no sense to me that everything I was reading was positive about my work….and yet I wasn’t being offered another contract.

Slow-Forward to today and version 2.0 of my career.  The two major industry pubs have come out with favorable reviews of LIQUID SMOKE and the blogoshere is warming to it as well.  (Gerald So posted an incredibly nice review on Friday.)  But I’m looking at these reviews from a different perspective than I did in 1.0.

In 1.0, I was certain that the reviews were going to give me a long and lasting career.  I was looking at them from a business perspective, as if each review was promising me another book or another year in the business.  That left me extremely frustrated and disappointed.

In 2.0, I’m simply happy that people like my work.  These reviews are really just for me.  I’m glad people are reading the book and liking it.  I’m not counting on the reviews to do anything other than make me smile.  It’s validation for me that my belief that I’ve written a book that people would like was correct.  Will the positive reviews translate to sales?  I have no idea.  I hope so.

But right now, I’m just pleased that people seem to like the book.  And that’s enough for now.

Until I hit The List…

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