Saturday, June 19, 2010

My novel Delta Girls comes out in three days and I'm full of nerves. The two trade reviews I've received so far have not been great (the nicest thing Publishers Weekly had to say is that the book is "heartwarming but forgettable." I suppose I could be like those movie ads that take snippets from bad reviews and use them to their favor--turning something like "This movie is the most stupendous waste of time" into "Stupendous!" on billboards--and just say "Publisher's Weekly called my book heartwarming!" but that feels disingenuous.) I was starting to doubt myself as a writer, starting to think that the book is bound to bomb, that I'll never be able to publish my work or be taken seriously as an author again, but then I started hearing from readers who've read early copies and I'm feeling a little bit more hopeful (not that the doubts have gone away entirely. Why is doubt such an integral part of the writing life?)

Cindy at CindyREADS posted lovely reviews of both Delta Girls and My Life with the Lincolns on her site and ubiquitous review Harriet Klausner says "The Delta Girls is a delightful compelling character study that rotates subplots between Izzy and Karen as the tale looks deeply at mother-daughter relationships...With a great twist that brings the two sagas together, fans who appreciate a discerning look at motherhood will enjoy this thoughtful tale." (Okay, I left out the sentence in between where she says the storyline meanders a bit as the characters are established, but she still gives it five stars.)

The lousy thing about the lousy trade reviews is that they're right at the top of the Amazon page for everyone to see as they contemplate buying the book. So I am going to step outside my normal reticence over such things and gently ask that if you enjoy reading Delta Girls, please post a review at Amazon (or your favorite bookselling site--I especially love It's very hard for me to make such a request, but the publishing industry is hurting and writers are scared, and it's so hard for any one non-blockbuster book to get much attention, so a positive review would make a big difference in helping readers find the novel. I suggest you do this for all books you love, especially those by little known authors. Writers appreciate it beyond words. I know I do. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my warm but forgettable heart. ;)


Laraine Herring said...

Sending you a big giant hug from the mountains of Arizona!! It's OK. We can ask for feedback. We can ask for help. I'm struggling w/it all too, but we have to help each other. Publishing is not helping us so much. :-)

Your heart, and your writing, is anything but 'forgettable.'

Gayle, fuggettabout it. :-)

Brian Dunlap said...

Don't worry about what the reviews say. "Do your best and whatever happens happens." I always remind myself about that, especially when I write. There is nothing else you or I or anyone else can control. Keep writing, promote yourself and all your wonderful friends will support and help promote you.

Donna said...

I've already ordered DELTA GIRLS and can't wait to read it. Phooey on critics.

Courtney Putnam said...

Gayle, I'm going to get my book club to read Delta Girls -- as I have all your other books (my group LOVES them)!

hugs to you,