Monday, November 14, 2011
A big, beautiful, brown box arrived at my door recently, bearing within it the Special Format Review Copies of my forthcoming historical novel, Keowee Valley. Since my two year-old was napping, I hefted the box in my arms, tip-toed across the hardwood floors of our 1940s house--trying not to trip over the 88 lb black lab at my heels--whipped a knife out of the chopping block, and went to town. I'd like to say that I slit open that box with the elegant precision of a heart surgeon, but since this is a moment I've been dreaming about since I was about 12 years old, I abandoned the knife halfway through and ripped, packing tape be damned.
I have to admit, it's a bit disconcerting to see your own face and name (in my case, three of them) on the covers of an 8 x 10 copy of a manuscript that you know, in less than a year, will be a book. I set the box beside my desk, which currently resembles a Jabba the Hut of exploding English essays, and stared at it. I gave it a wide berth on my way to other rooms. I eyed it warily, as if it'd pounce. And then I got to work.
Finding the right people--authors, industry experts, etc--to review your novel and to perhaps provide a blurb or quote (or, God willing, praise) for it, is an interesting process, one into which I'm delving for the first time. A while back, after I'd finished the novel and found my literary agent, I did some big dreaming, forming a wish-list of authors for the job. Now that my novel has a home with Bell Bridge Books, and I've got those big, beautiful review copies in hand, that list has become a very real starting point--and a bit intimidating. Trying to convince experienced authors (some pretty darn famous) to take a chance on a debut novel and its fledgling writer is a much tougher process than you'd think.
So, I've reached out via whatever method I've found--email, Facebook, home addresses, agent addresses--with a letter of introduction and an earnest, honest request. I know that I'll be refused by most--they have, after all, their own novels and jobs and families tugging at their time--but maybe, just maybe, one of them will remember what it was like to be in my shoes, and give me a chance. It'll be interesting to see who does.
One very welcoming group I've discovered: bloggers. I've already had some great blogger/book reviewers request to read the novel and review it, and I'm hoping to discover plenty more. I just adore folks who love books, and love talking about books: they are my people.
My publisher will be sending out review copies to pertinent reviewers as well, but I'm all about being an active participant in the process. I think it's an adventure. And as anyone who knows me can tell you, I'm a sucker for a good adventure.
And, just because it makes me grin like a giddy kid, here's another photo of the Special Format Review copy of Keowee Valley: