First, you should know that the experience of being reviewed doesn’t even start with a book review. You can write a novel, have it published with a traditional publisher, have a book launch, hit “best-seller” status at the largest independent bookstore in Canada and you may never receive a book review.

One of the sad realities of publishing today is that not all books are reviewed. This is frustrating because it hurts an author’s discoverability. As you may guess, discoverability relates to how well a property (a book, a film) can get attention from prospective readers and viewers. It hurts sales, it may stunt momentum that was building after a book launch, it makes an author feel invisible after committing years to a single project. That was my fear, at least.

Bombing the moon was officially released on April 15th, 2022. My publisher, Now or Never Publishing contacted a long list of reviewers with local papers, literary journals, magazines, and so on. I know because I created that list. For a while, my publisher received no replies. I never occurred to me that people paid to do reviews wouldn’t even return an email about a new book to review. I have to wonder how they make their choices. Do they base it on size of publisher, writer reputation? In other words, is this also a form of review?

Good news came sometime in May when Now or Never Publishing made contact with the Winnipeg Free Press and sent a review copy. Weeks went by. June went by. Finally, a review came out the third week of July. It is a great book review, what my friend Lara Rae called “a rave.” I’ll never forget seeing my husband walking down the stairs with a copy of the Winnipeg Free Press, saying, “Chissy,” (“s” pronounced “z” — his nickname for me), and the newspaper swinging back and forth suspended by two fingers. 

A newbie like me races to the arts section and devours the review, without really reading it because the first question is, do they like it? Upon the first scan I saw that they did. I read it over the weekend probably three more times. The only complaint I could have is the title reads a bit like a misdirect — “Family dynamic falters in deft debut.” You hope readers don’t quit and move on before reading the “in deft debut” part.

The best part, the one that means the most to me is the part about the read being propulsive, in terms of the structure of there novel. It’s important to me that my writing draw readers in. It has to motivate readers in small and larger ways. Suspense in itself may be an art form, composed of dissonance, surprise, imagery, emotion of course, and restraint. It might seem counterintuitive but saying more often has to do with writing less.

I’m grateful of course. Grateful my hometown had a chance to see that my book exists and they can take it from there whether or not they’d like to read it. Yet, in a country of what? 35-45 million Canadians? That may be the one review I receive. Or maybe it will require more time. I remind myself that I’m new. It’s one book. For now.

If you’re interested, the review can be found here: Winnipeg Free Press…Family dynamic falters in deft debut – Winnipeg Free Press

I hope the rest of your summer is fabulous.