Four Steps To Reading Your Reviews

Jun42007

One of the questions I’m often asked is “How do you deal with reviews?” And the answer is, “I try not to read them,” but that’s actually a little facile. I read the professional reviews–print and online–but the drive-by reviews on Amazon and some of the other internet sites, no. I rarely get any useful feedback from them that I can use to improve my writing and I can’t quote them for PR purposes, so why go there and get depressed because some sadist has decided to improve his or her shining hour by trashing my work? You don’t have to read everything everybody says about your book.

But the ones that you can quote for PR purposes, you have to read. So how do you read your reviews with a minimum of stress? [Note: Because I got tired of typing "him or her" and there'll be snowcones in hell before I use "they" as a singular pronoun, for the purposes of this essay the reviewer will now be a "she." Because, that's why.]

Where was I? Right, how do you survive your reviews?

You follow Crusie’s Four Steps to Reading Your Reviews:


1. Take a deep breath and chant the mantra.

The mantra is, “This is one person’s opinion.” Because it comes with the weight of Publisher’s Weekly or the Washington Post, it feels as though all of publishing or all of Washington wrote the review, but actually, it’s just one person. You don’t know this person. You don’t know if this person likes the kind of book you write. You don’t know if this person is even reading the book you wrote; if he or she likes mystery and you wrote a caper book, that reviewer may be looking for things that aren’t in your book and saying, “This fails because the mystery is never solved,” even though it’s not a mystery. Or the reviewer could be somebody with so little imagination and understanding that you wouldn’t have lunch with her. The reviewer could be the kind of person who kicks puppies. You don’t know. What you do know is that everybody in publishing did not write the Kirkus review. Just one person. Probably not God. Don’t invest that review with more power than it has. It’s One Person’s Opinion.

2. Ask yourself “What can we learn from this, Dorothy?”
Read the review to see if the reviewer understood the book, if she is reviewing the book you wrote, and then if that’s the case, look at what she is saying closely. A well-written, thoughtful review can improve your writing by pointing out things that people who love your work can’t see because they don’t have the distance. A good reviewer is worth her weight in gold so pay attention when you find one, even if she’s saying your baby is ugly. It’s never too late to learn since there’s always another book to write.

3. Find the quote.
The first rule about pulling quotes is that you have to play fair. If the review says, “This tried hard but in the end it wasn’t a fun read,” you can’t put “A Fun Read!” on the cover. You can put “Tried Hard!” but somehow, it’s not the same. The second rule is that you have to pull the quotes that sell the book. While “a fast-paced mystery” is not a bad quote, if the reviewer misread the book and it’s not a mystery, you’re going to want to stay with just “fast-paced” on that one. And since “fast-paced” is not always a good thing, you might want to think about that one, too. You want the quote to evoke the book you wrote so that the right reader picks it up.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, write the reviewer.
Never, no matter what the reviewer said, respond to a review. Even if you’re pacing the floor and muttering, tell it to the cat, not the review publication. Even if you’re really, really justified, even if the reviewer is clearly out to lunch, DO NOT WRITE BACK. You cannot win, the reviewer is not going to re-publish a review that says, “My God, i was completely wrong but now I have seen the light!” and you will look like a whiner. Don’t do it.

So as an example of the four steps

1. This is only one reviewer. Deep breath. Read the review:

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes
Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart. St. Martin’s, $7.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-312-94098-0

For years, the three orphaned Fortune sisters, each endowed with a different magical ability, have been on the run from their evil aunt Xan. Dee, the oldest, is their shape-shifting protector; sullen middle child Lizzie has transmutative abilities (her latest aim is turning straw into gold); and self-satisfied Mare can move things with her mind. Aunt Xan, up to old tricks, uses a spell to send each girl her one true love-but if the sisters fall for these paramours, Xan will get her hands on their powers. What Xan doesn’t count on is that the girls are wise to the plot and determined to beat their aunt at her own game. Unfortunately, the three novellas that spring from this solid premise are hobbled by too many characters (three sisters, three love interests, one freaky aunt) and too little space. As a result, exposition crowds out the story, giving each a rushed feel and a jarring conclusion. Despite the book’s faults, it makes an enjoyable read; one hopes the authors’ next collaboration will be on a single, full-length novel-or better yet, three of them. (July)

2. What can I learn from this, Dorothy?
Not a whole lot. Seven characters is actually a small cast for me (I usually end up with about seventeen). As for exposition, I’m rabid about cutting it, so that’s no help. Okay so . . .

3. What can I quote?
“An enjoyable read.” Except I’m not sure that’s even legit because . . .
Wait a minute. Let me get that fourth one in place.

4. Do not write Publishers Weekly, do not write Publishers Weekly, do not write Publishers Weekly . . .
I think the “enjoyable read” may be false advertising since I do not see how the reviewer could have read the novel and still think it was three separate novellas. Those of you who’ve been following along on The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes blog know it’s a collaborative novel, those of you who’ve read the first chapter over there can clearly see that it’s a novel, and while I’m trying to give this reviewer the benefit of the doubt, I really can’t see how she came to the conclusion that UMF was a novella anthology. Even skimming, she’d have noticed that it was a novel, don’t you think?

But I will not write Publishers Weekly and say, “I don’t think your reviewer read the novel.” That would be dumb, even though SMP has gone crazy trying to get across the message that three names on the cover does not automatically mean that the book is an anthology, I will not write PW. Even though . . .

This kind of blows my whole “How To Read Your Reviews Without Stress” premise, doesn’t it? Even so, I will not write the publication that printed this review because I will only seem like a whiner. Even if I’m clearly in the right, I will seem petty. There are other people who can handle errors, I will stay out of it.

I might blog about it, though.

Reviews. You start to care about them, they’ll make you crazy.

Postscript: For those of you who haven’t seen the cover, here it is. Please note the subhead “A Novel” under the title.

UMF Light

Latest Update: PW has agreed to print a correction that it’s a novel, not a novella. On their website.
Which doesn’t strike me as enough.

Filed in X (Everything Else)

59 Comments to 'Four Steps To Reading Your Reviews'

On June 4, 2007 at 12:02 pm Lynn said...

Please, no one has an ugly baby (really)! There is always beauty in the eye of the beholder, even if the eye is near-sighted.

Sounds like the reviewer did like the story and it’s premise, but likened each character with their own story (hence the novella comment) instead of looking at the big picture. As a reader, and not a writer, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to let go of your baby and let all asunder comment and review.

Thank heavens you aren’t a whiner (*smile*) no matter how right you are.

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On June 4, 2007 at 12:05 pm Jenny said...

Well, what I’m not understanding is how she could have looked at a novel and seen three separate novellas and then suggested that the next time we write a novel. She didn’t say, “Next time do this better,” she said, “Next time write a novel.” And it is a novel, not three separate stories with three separate titles. It’s one unbroken narrative. So I’m confused.

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On June 4, 2007 at 12:28 pm JJ Johnson said...

Is it possible she didn’t read it? Because, IMHO, you couldn’t tell this story in three parts, could you? It would become something totally different. Can’t you just make a 5th step where you say f**k ‘em?

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On June 4, 2007 at 12:30 pm Jenny said...

I think that’s just aggressive whining. There is no whining in publishing. At least not in public.

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On June 4, 2007 at 12:47 pm Chrissy Deffendall said...

I can only imagine the temptation to whine. I would hate to be on the receiving end of a bad review. Especially after working as long and hard as you do on your books. Just so you know, I personally have never read a Crusie I didn’t like. I think I would be one of those people you wouldn’t want to review your work because I am decidedly biased! Looking forward to TUMF…

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On June 4, 2007 at 1:06 pm Brooke said...

If that book truly was a set of three novellas, then one main character per novella and one love interest per novella seems like, um, the perfect amount.

So not only did the PW reviewer get his facts wrong, he got his math wrong too.

And knowing you were involved in the book, I really doubt that exposition rushed or crowded anything. That reviewer should go back to reading Henry James, since fast-paced clearly isn’t his bag. “One hopes.” Give me a break.

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On June 4, 2007 at 1:07 pm McB said...

I think she read it, just didn’t know what to call it. Okay, it’s a novel; but it’s a novel written from 3 perspectives. I don’t think there is a term for that yet. Maybe you three could coin one?

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On June 4, 2007 at 1:36 pm me said...

Maybe you can’t write to Publisher’s Weekly…but we can. :-)

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On June 4, 2007 at 1:48 pm Naked Under my Clothes said...

OK, so you don’t want to write PW, and I can see why. What about your agent or your editor at St. Martin’s–can they make discreet phone calls? Or is that like sending Mommy to talk to the principal? Clearly, someone at PW didn’t do her homework and is claiming you guys did the wrong assignment in the hopes that you’ll slink silently away, crushed.

Of course, next time you do a workshop and someone asks you about reviews, you now have a new example to use when you say, “Sometimes you just have to go ‘huh’ and walk away.”

And I have to say, as a PW reader, I always placed a great deal of trust in their reviews. Not anymore.

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On June 4, 2007 at 2:15 pm Jenny said...

Almost all of my novels are written from three perspectives. It’s called Point of View. The book has six POVs, actually. And it’s called a “collaborative novel” which is not a new thing. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett did a fabulous one called Good Omens. Bob and I did the exact same thing in Don’t Look Down and Agnes and the Hitman and nobody said, “This is two novellas.” The PW review of Agnes directly above the UMF review didn’t say, “This is two novellas, Bob and Jenny should write a novel.”

I keep going back to, “She can’t have read it.” That’s a terrible thing to say about a reviewer but how could she have thought it was three separate stories with three separate titles?

I know, get over it, Jenny, you’re whining.

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On June 4, 2007 at 2:34 pm Kieran said...

As a regular Pub Weekly reader, I definitely am not happy with a review that is obviously confused and is being sent out to a heckuva lotta people! In fact, when did this issue come out? My librarian reluctantly lends me her PW, and only the old copies. She hides the most recent ones in her desk until she can order from them. But dang it, I’m going to stare her down and ask for the latest one, if that’s the one this review is in!

Or maybe this review appeared online so we can respond in a comment box somewhere ASAP???

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On June 4, 2007 at 2:54 pm GatorPerson said...

One bad review or misunderstood something? Piffle. If several reviewers come to the same conclusion, then maybe it’s valid.

What about, instead, have someone else compile ALL the reviews and then give you a synopsis? The marketing group might need up to the minute review info to tweek the advertising campaign, but the authoress doesn’t need timely info. Her tweeks come in rewrites.

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On June 4, 2007 at 3:04 pm Jenny said...

Actually, if it was just a bad review, I wouldn’t care. That really is a “just one person” thing. But this is not good because we and SMP have been killing ourselves trying to the word out that UMF is not an anthology. We have an entire blog based on the idea that it is not an anthology. Why? Because anthologies don’t sell as well as novels, so it’s really important that bookstores and libraries know that this is a novel and not a collection of shorter stories when they make their orders. And now the most powerful and widespread media source in publishing has announced it’s a novella anthology. So it has ramifications.

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On June 4, 2007 at 3:14 pm K.L. said...

If it helps any, I rarely read the reviews, and even more rarely take one to heart. I prefer to just look at the synopsis and decide for myself if I want to read the book. I know that those reviews are One Person’s Opinion, and I have no way of knowing if their taste is similar to mine, so their opinion has no value to me.

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On June 4, 2007 at 3:20 pm Lynn said...

Many libraries and librarians use more than one review source when selecting books to add to their collection (I use four or five including PW). And you are right, there are far-reaching ramifications for sales in that regard; I am not a big fan of novellas either, but will buy one if the author is a favorite.

Have you seen reviews from other sources (Booklist or Kirkus)? And if so, how do they compare?

Is it considered whining to ask for clarification or is the whole issue best left alone? PW has a blog too, know anyone?

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On June 4, 2007 at 3:27 pm Stressed-Out Cherry said...

I’d say she didn’t read the book because when I first heard about UMF myself (before i checked out the site) I also thought it was a novella. I mean really is it possible for three different writers to agree on one whole book? Apparently it can be done flawlessly and without blood shed. The reviewer probably had reservations about this theory.

But (of course there’s a but) You’d think a reviewer would if not read the whole book, at least, read past the book blurb. Just the first chapter maybe.

And Jenny no need to whine. You have minions, no, I mean fans that will do the dirty work for you.

*psst, someone give me the reviewers name*

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On June 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm GatorPerson said...

Do reviewers read your blog? Maybe not. Now you need someone like the Smart Bitches to review UMF ASAP and also discuss PW’s incorrect review in the same article.
But, still, the publisher’s mkt group should be doing damage control with more advertising, and maybe wining and dining the PW reviewer or taking an ad out in PW for UMF.

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On June 4, 2007 at 3:55 pm pam said...

I’m going to have to go with the conclusion that she didn’t even read the book. I read the first chapter online and it sure the heck doesn’t read like a novella to me. That being said, I can’t wait for it to hit the shelves.

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On June 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm K.L. said...

Too bad that inaccurate reviews don’t get some sort of penalty. Like the reviewer has to forfeit their pay for the review when it can be proven that they didn’t even read the book first. Or CB’s could visit the reviewer some dark evening with shovels aplenty.

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On June 4, 2007 at 4:11 pm Sally J. said...

Oh, please! I hope no one will whine in Jenny’s place. I can’t help thinking of Barak Obama’s staff and the kerfuffle over stuff they said about Senator Clinton. Obama got the heat even though he wasn’t involved.

This might be a tad more expensive than minion whining, or even a humming chorus, but how about an ad–quarter page (I know$$$) in the next PW? The ad could point out, with that sassy but not whiny voice we love so well, that these three divine novelists have collaborated on a NOVEL. You know, put the record straight, but with humor, and without pointing at the reviewer’s lapse.

Just me, but I doubt your baby is ugly, so there.

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On June 4, 2007 at 4:53 pm K.L. said...

Actually, I did see an ugly baby once. I felt awful, and of course I didn’t say that, but the kid was not cute. At all. He had squinty eyes that were a tad too close together, a mohawk, and fat lips. I almost cringed when I saw him. And he did not grow out of it. But I’m sure his parents did not share my opinion.

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On June 4, 2007 at 5:22 pm Sally J. said...

Why on earth would anybody give a baby a mohawk? That’s horrible!

Oh, wait. Maybe I am thinking of tomahawk.

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On June 4, 2007 at 5:29 pm K.L. said...

No, this was newborn hair. He had no hair on the sides, and no matter what they did, the hair on top stuck straight up.

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On June 4, 2007 at 5:30 pm Courtney said...

She didn’t read the novel.

Or, if she did, she went into it with so many expectations of her own, that the review was more about her than about the book.

As a longtime film scholar, I am continuously dismayed by critics in general. I know more about film criticism than book criticism, so I’ll use that as an example here. It is extremely rare to read a review these days by a critic who doesn’t interject her preconceived notions about good or bad, or about the director, or the producer (or what have you), into the film on which she is supposed to be giving an unbiased opinion. I would dearly love to think that the critics at Publisher’s Weekly are held a higher standard, but I doubt it.

For the average film critic, there are Films, and then there are Movies. Films are the ones they recommend for the Oscars. Movies are for the popcorn crowd, and, as such, automatically deemed less worthy of the critic’s time and effort. (Note: I am speaking in broad generalities here; there are exceptions to every rule.) Translate this analogy to the book world, and I would say that there are Books, and there are Novels.

For this reason, it is my general rule to take all reviews with a grain of salt, a squeeze of lime, and a shot of tequila. (Perhaps you should make this rule no. 5?)

But, seriously, I don’t think she read the novel.

Which is aggravating and annoying and all-around frustrating. And there’s probably nothing you can do about it. Which is why I come back to the grain of salt, the squeeze of lime and the shot of tequila.

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On June 4, 2007 at 5:42 pm Eileen said...

Good Omens is one of my favorite books of all time. Would making voodoo dolls of one’s reviewers be considered whining? If one did the pin shoving in private could it be considered okay?

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On June 4, 2007 at 5:52 pm roben said...

I recall doing my first radio interview in the land downunder, it was from home by telephone, and everything was set to go when the interviewer casually said she had never read the book. My heart almost stopped. What the hell was the interview going to be about? Well she had her pat questions, I gave her my very practiced answers and everything was fine. My sister taped the interview and it sounded great when I replayed it, but for a moment there I was stunned.

In your case, I have to say she didn’t read it. At all.

I don’t think you would be whiny if you or SMP posed a very carefully worded question asking for clarification of the review.

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On June 4, 2007 at 6:23 pm K.L. said...

I would have to believe that SMP explaining that the book is a single novel, not a 3 story novella would not come under the heading of whining. This is a very important point that has to do with the business side of things, not a whine about a reviewer not liking a book.

She didn’t read the book.

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On June 4, 2007 at 7:25 pm Michele said...

I totally agree, she didn’t read the book.

However, I hate to say it, but if I hadn’t been reading along regularly here and on TUMF blog, I would have thought it was a novella anthology too. Why?

I went to Amazon, and looked and the description there http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/031294098X/sr=8-1/qid=1181002791/ref=dp_proddesc_0/002-6220617-4965651?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books&qid=1181002791&sr=8-1
The back cover copy reads like 3 separate stories, rather than 1 novel. Even AAR has it listed as an anthology. So the misunderstanding could be coming from that.

Sorry…

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On June 4, 2007 at 7:54 pm Jenny said...

Oh, GREAT. Thanks for telling me though.

Off to do damage control.

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On June 4, 2007 at 8:10 pm Sheena said...

That’s sheer laziness on the reviewer’s part. If they’d had the physical copy in their hot little hands and even looked at the contents page they should have been able to see it was one novel – there’s a difference between three titles with different authors and one title with three authors. It looks to me as if they had seen the original premise (I’m sure I remember reading on your blog that it was going to be three novellas, but you & Eileen & Krissie decided it would work better as one novel), but how could they possibly have written a review and talked about pacing and conclusion just on the premise alone? Did the journal get an ARC? What issue was this? Who do I write to in protest? Certainly your loyal readers can write protest letters to the editor, can’t we?

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On June 4, 2007 at 9:03 pm downundergal said...

Bah humbug to PW. Dont know about the review and I haven’t been on the UMF blog because I’m trying to curb my blog addiction, but it did spur me to pick up the phone and rings Rosemary’s to make sure I had a copy of the book as soon as she gets them in. She’s ordered 10 and 1 of them has my name on it.
Truly, she is a goddess amongst book shop owners.
I like the idea of the ad in PW. I reckon that could work well.

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On June 4, 2007 at 9:29 pm Mary the CB said...

And it does say “A Novel” on the front cover, ferpetessake.

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On June 4, 2007 at 9:33 pm micki said...

You are right that it’s no fair whining about people’s opinions, but it’s perfectly OK to nicely correct facts. I’ve seen some very classy examples of this in Atlantic Monthly and New Yorker. A simple “Thank you for taking the time to review our new book. We would like to point out a factual error — this book is a novel, not three novellas. Sincerely, ”

Reviewers are under a lot of time pressures and word count problems, too, so sometimes poorly-worded things get through. (-: I’m speaking as a former college Arts & Entertainment Editor. I would like to think that the pros have their shit totally together, but somehow, I think this kind of stuff happens even to them.

I haven’t read the book yet (please, Amazon, don’t be late), so I don’t know if there’s anything to be learned from this review. The reviewer wants more, though. That’s a good sign.

I think one thing that you have to remember is that when you go into paranormal romance, you will be pulling readers (and reviewers) from the fantasy genre. The word counts in that genre don’t seem to be nearly as anorexic as the word counts in the romance genre. Three-part series are VERY common, and often necessary if there’s a complex magic system to explain (along with relationships and all that other stuff).

I discovered my first Crusie at a friend’s house, and when I got back home, I discovered that many people in my SFF (Bujold at Baen) group were raving about Crusie too. So, you had crossover even before you started doing paranormals. We were talking over there about how fans of romance genres and fantasy genres seem to have COMPLETELY different expectations from a book. So, if you get some really off-the-wall comments from fans and reviewers, you may be able to chalk it up to genre differences, too.

Here, I’m sending you a big, beautiful virtual bouquet. I can’t wait for opening night!

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On June 5, 2007 at 1:21 am toni mcgee causey said...

I got the ARC at BEA this weekend and devoured it Saturday night. (I really really should have slept some of that time, but damnit, I was enjoying it too much.)

It very clearly reads as a novel. I don’t know what the reviewer saw to make her indicate a novella in the ARC itself, because it seemed crystal clear to me–I thought it was very funny, well-written and extremely well-integrated.

Oh, and there’s the thing with Crash and the frog, and I laughed so much, I woke up the people next door. (Seriously.)

I am so going around using “evil minions” in as many situations as possible, now.

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On June 5, 2007 at 3:22 am patmc said...

I got the arc on ebay and can hardly wait till it gets here…jewelry production stops immediately…

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On June 5, 2007 at 5:22 am AndreaS said...

I really think my biggest problem with this review is the fact that she can’t make up her mind. If the book were three novellas (and I’m not saying that it is), seven repeating characters would be nothing. So either the book is a novella with good character amounts, or the novel has too many characters. You can’t really have both.

Besides, I’ve never read a novella where the POV’s were not split into distinct stories. Wouldn’t the fact that they alternate clue you in?

We should probably find a way to make a reviewing system of checks and balances. Somebody needs to be checking up to make sure the reviewers at least understand the concept of the book.

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On June 5, 2007 at 11:33 am Deborah said...

As a professional reviewer, I ask my editor specifically for books I expect I will like, and ask her not to send me books from genres I dislike. Why should I give a negative review to a horror novel because it made me feel ill when that’s not the reaction he intended readership is going to have?

But it’s difficult to be accurate in a capsule review. I get a maximum of 175 words in which I have both to describe the plot and assess the book. In doing so, sometimes, I’ve abbreviated complex plot or character elements in ways that fans have later attacked as misunderstandings. It’s not always my misunderstanding — sometimes it’s that I only get 175 words, and I try to be more clear about the things that matter than the things I think might not.

As for pull quotes, it shocks me how many authors and publishers aren’t ethical about doing exactly what you describe. “No matter what, this book will never be high quality” can get pull quoted as “… high quality”. I sometimes write torturous sentences in order to make it more difficult for the publishers to do that. (Conversely, if I love the book, I’ll try to make sure there’s a usable pull quote in the review.)

So I’m going to give the reviewer the benefit of the doubt here, even though she wasn’t that fond of the book (!). My interpretation of this review is that she didn’t have the space to say, in so many words, “this book didn’t hang together like a novel; because of the excess of characters and plot lines it read to me like three separate novellas in too short a space.” Which, hey, probably won’t agree with when I read the book, but it’s not the laziness or misreading other people are ascribing to the reviewer. It still doesn’t make it a glowing review, sadly, but I really don’t think it’s a misreading.

(Also, IMHO, “an enjoyable read” is a perfectly legitimate pull quote from the review. The reviewer said that she liked it but she wished it had been more coherent, and I think the fact that she liked it is completely reasonable.)

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On June 5, 2007 at 12:56 pm Diane (TT) said...

I have to admit that I frequently buy collections of novellas – and then stare at them before putting them in my bookcase, because the only story I liked was the one by the author whose work I had previously enjoyed (I had to take several tries at that sentence to get it comprehensible).

I would absolutely buy an anthology with a Crusie in it, but since I’m sure many people share my experience, I suspect that they check them out of the library (or read the one story in the bookstore). So, I hope people get this figured out by purchasers and the sales reflect the novel’s true character!

Off to look at the UMF site!

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On June 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm Jenny said...

“My interpretation of this review is that she didn’t have the space to say, in so many words, “this book didn’t hang together like a novel; because of the excess of characters and plot lines it read to me like three separate novellas in too short a space.”

You know, Deborah, I’d buy that, except she said, “one hopes the authors’ next collaboration will be on a single, full-length novel” which is what this is. In other words, she’s not saying it didn’t read like a novel which is a perfectly legit criticism, she said, “It isn’t a novel and I wish they would write one.” We did. She just didn’t read it.

But I’m over it now. REALLY.

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On June 5, 2007 at 4:43 pm ZaZa said...

Is it too late to make the covers say, “The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes: A Novel” you morons being understood?

Really, someone, or many someones need to address this issue with PW. Their reviews are the basis on which a lot of places order books. If a reviewer is so confused as to review a novel as an antho or so dishonest as to write a review of a book they never read, then that reviewer shouldn’t be on their roster.

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On June 5, 2007 at 4:55 pm ZaZa said...

Now, see, if I’d read Mary’s comment first, I’d have know that “A Novel” was already there. Or paid any attention to the actual cover photo. Heh.

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On June 5, 2007 at 10:38 pm Sally J. said...

This is such a beautiful cover–I would love to have this in a larger format. It’s poster-worthy. Just lovely.

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On June 6, 2007 at 1:05 am Wendy Roberts said...

I absolutely can’t wait to read this book! Lovely cover and a wonderful story by some of my favorite authors. What’s not to love?

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On June 6, 2007 at 5:19 am Jennifer Talty said...

Just my two cents – IT’S A NOVEL PLAN AS DAY, and it’s a damn good one too.

That is one of those reviews that makes you go “huh?”.

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On June 6, 2007 at 9:54 am lilyblues said...

What Sally J said. Absolutely beautiful.

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On June 6, 2007 at 11:08 am Jenny said...

I just realized that “A Novel” isn’t on the ARC which is what the reviewer got; she never saw the real cover.

The cover is gorgeous. There’s a huge story behind the Cover Struggle, but the short version is, when St. Jenderlin saw the website that Mollie and Mara designed for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes (to be up shortly, Mollie swears) she had them redesign the cover to match the website. So the type and the graphics are from Mara, reinterpreted by the SMP art dept. And I love it, too.

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On June 6, 2007 at 11:30 am Jill said...

I just realized that “A Novel” isn’t on the ARC

Yes it is. On mine anyway. Between the title and the list of authors is says “A Novel by” The title and authors are in yellow and A Novel by is in white.

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On June 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm JulieB said...

Chiming in late to agree w. everyone — the cover is beautiful. Can’t offer any insight into the other, I learned about it here and always knew it was a collaborative novel. I only read the very first scene posted, so I have no theories other than maybe the reviewer is new? Someone’s kid?
But, the cover is lovely, and I think readers will have the appropritate expectation when they pick it up. And, even if they don’t, I think 99.44% of the readers who would grab the book based on the name recognition factor alone will be savy enough to figure it out pretty quickly.

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On June 6, 2007 at 1:23 pm colognegrrl said...

I just looked up the book in Amazon.de and while it has a completely different cover (with a picket fence and a house that reminds me of ‘Charmed’ and the tagline ‘the only thing wilder than their magic is their men’), it also says ‘A Novel’ on it. Must be the British edition because it’s so expensive.

But it’s still doing pretty good on the sales list (although it’s not even out yet, only pre-order), I can tell you that to soothe you at least a little.

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On June 6, 2007 at 1:52 pm Jenny said...

The house cover is the old one. It’ll have the above cover on it. I should do something about that, too.

So it says “novel” on the ARC, too? Jeez Louise.

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On June 6, 2007 at 1:56 pm Lynn said...

Glad to hear the clarification, for want of a more accurate word, will be included on the PW website. We no longer get the hard copy of PW at work and the only reviews I see from them are through database searches or their web email notifications. I imagine it’s difficult to get much satisfaction once the journal is in print, and rarely do people read corrections. So the web correction is not all that bad.

Congrats.

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On June 6, 2007 at 3:47 pm Najida said...

I wish she lived closer. I’d go egg her house….
(JUSTKIDDING!!!)

Really, it says ‘Novel’ on the cover. That’s dumb….like a food reviewer slamming the soup because it was cold and thick….and what they were eating was ice cream.

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On June 6, 2007 at 6:33 pm GatorPerson said...

Sure enough, Smart Bitches took my suggestion (yeah, right, they really read my suggestion!) about THE PROBLEM and did an article. Good for them! And enough people seem to have read this blog to realize what’s going on.

I personally like the suggestion of writing the reviewer into the next novel as a lizard.

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On June 6, 2007 at 8:29 pm Jenny said...

The Smart Bitches are incredible. As always.

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On June 7, 2007 at 1:23 am micki said...

Oh, boo. Website correction is good, but they really, really should put it in the dead-tree version. I mean, it’s Publisher’s WEEKLY, right? Still plenty of time for librarians and bookstore sellers to see it is a novel.

Or don’t they do factual corrections on the front or the letters to the editors page?

Oh, well. Let’s give them a half-victory sign. I’ll leave the choosing of the finger up to everyone’s individual discretion. Peace, baby.

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On June 7, 2007 at 8:14 am me said...

How did you get them to print a correction (such as it is)?

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On June 7, 2007 at 9:15 am Jenny said...

My publicist at SMP called and said, “You got that wrong.” He probably did it with great tact and cheerfulness because he does everything that way. John Karle. He’s a darling.

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On June 7, 2007 at 2:20 pm DianeN said...

I can’t help wondering if the reviewer actually understands what a novella is–a novel, only shorter. For this book to be a collection of novellas, there would need to be 3 distinct beginnings, middles and endings, not just 3 writers writing about 3 characters. It seems quite obvious to me even without having seen the book that this isn’t the case. So, maybe it’s a question of someone misusing a term to sound *cough* smarter?

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On June 8, 2007 at 11:28 am Diane (TT) said...

So, the new (and GORGEOUS) Unfortunate Miss Fortunes site is up! Check it out!

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