Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Under the Bold Red and White PW . . . a first look at SEEKER OF SHADOWS

Nothing like the adrenaline shock of stumbling over your first review by accident . . . from Publisher’s Weekly no less!

I was doing a Google search for pirates illegally downloading copies of previous titles (and found them . . . arggh! Hang ‘em from the yardarms!) when SEEKER OF SHADOWS fiction review caught my eye with PW attached to it. I hadn’t heard anything from my publisher so my immediate first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I’ve been trashed and they didn’t want me to know!’ Cautiously, I followed the link and there was my cover under the bold red and white PW banner. Gulp! Then the first line . . .

“Gideon delivers a rich and complex romantic urban fantasy romance.”

Okay, it’s not urban fantasy, it’s straight paranormal, but the preceding words blur that small inaccuracy. I read on hopefully. Nice synopsis of the plot then . . .

“Series fans are rewarded with critical developments layered on previous books, while enticing new dimensions to the Shifter world keep things fresh.” Yahoo! Rewarded . . . Enticing . . . Great words for future pull quotes. Then . . .

“Susanna is slow to develop as sympathetic, and earlier series characters are thinly sketched, but . . .

What is it about authors that makes us instantly feel the need to defend our prose as vigorously as we do our children’s faults, our female rights, and our decision to have that second Cadbury egg? This wasn’t a slap or a dig or even an inaccuracy, but I start in with a mental dialogue arguing against the perceived slight. “Well, she’s supposed to be distant and unsympathetic until the reader gets an insight into her background where all emotion is suppressed under tremendous threat. And how much development does an earlier secondary character need if their purpose is well defined and they’re there to support an earlier plot line?” Huff and puff. Then self-righteous indignation becomes insecurity. “What could I change? What should I have done different? What can I do differently in the next book so it will suck less?” Previous praise is forgotten. It becomes, “Why did they hate my book? Now no one’s going to want to read it!” But . . .

. . . newcomers can still enjoy the well-crafted prose and page-turning tension.”

Well-crafted prose. Page-turning tension. Okay, my feathers are stroked, my first impression disabused, and I start seeing the big picture. Great pull quotes for my next cover! I’m in Publisher’s freaking Weekly and they said nice things!

Authors . . . We’re so dramatic!

Maybe someone needs to invent a 12 Step program for us to follow when reading our own reviews.

Enjoy the full review. I did . . . over and over again! In fact, it’s sitting beside me at my desk . . . my cover under the bold red and white PW!

Do reviews influence whether or not you buy a book? How do you authors deal with the good, bad and ugly when it’s out there for the world to see?


  1. It's the same for an artist. We are all so self-critical, that when others make what we perceive as negative remarks, it just reaffirms what we already know. We suck! Until we step back and listen to the whole thing--all the critiques. Oh! Maybe I'm not so bad after all. LOL! So, maybe not 12 steps, but a step back to look at the whole picture.
    Just for the record, YOU do NOT suck. As you found out in your PW review, you rock! Which, of course, just backs up my own opinion of your work, which usually runs along the lines of, "Oh my God! I love it! More! More!"

  2. What Patish said! We never think our work is good - never think anyone will like what we've created - and are always surprised when praise comes our way.

    I can only speak for myself, but if I ever feel so self-confident I become lazy in my effort to be the best, then that's when my work will be the worst.
    Does that make sense?

  3. Ditto the above comments. Looking at the big picture is easier said than done--but the best advice. Holy cow! A PW review! A great review, of course.