Friday, June 7, 2013

Be Glad They Spelled Your Name Right

A writer friend of mine was sharing her concerns about marketing her recently published novel.  Getting reviews is always a challenge. I'm fortunate in receiving  three reviews, so far, of The Songcatcher and Me.

My friend had eagerly awaited a review of her book, but, when it appeared, it fell short of her hopes. She doesn't think the reviewer actually read the book, but instead, read the beginning chapter, then flipped to the end,  read that, and completely missed the part that was potentially controversial. "Or maybe the reviewer was trying to do me a favour by making my book look bland," she thought.

Included in the book was her bio note, mentioning her graduate degree, which was relevant to the subject matter. The reviewer truncated the bio note with the result that she appears less well-educated than she is.

The same sort of thing used to happen to me when I was published in the (now-defunct) annual of a writer's organization. My bio note was always edited so that my strongest accomplishments as a writer were omitted.  I suspected that the editor felt threatened by my accomplishments and wanted me to seem less of a writer than I was.  As a book reviewer for Compulsive Reader and Canadian Materials, I know that it's quite possible to present an author's best achievements truthfully yet briefly in a review, and I always try to do so.

The final straw was that the reviewer screwed up the information as to how to buy the book. Since the periodical appears infrequently, a correction isn't going to do much good.

"Be glad they spelled your name right," I said.

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