OK, remember my last post, about the “necessary evils of self-promotion”? Well, here we go, right here… sit back and enjoy a little “sonata for horn ensemble”…
When I was prepping for the launch of my latest book, Hysterical Love, I approached it with more forethought than was applied to my first book, After The Sucker Punch. Despite that book doing remarkably well (and still doing remarkably well) via my own little independent author efforts, this go-around I opted to work with a wonderful publicist, Julie Schoerke at JKSCommunications. She and her team were very helpful in sorting out and working on the most effective options available to me, given my indie status.
Because it does get confusing. For every blog, site, “expert” that tells you to do this or that, another slew will say something akin to the opposite. Additionally, (and I’ve written much on this) the unfathomable glut of indie books, along with the subsequent media nose-sniffing and stereotyping, have conspired to make it difficult for any indie author to leap through the burning hoops requisite for success. But still; we are writers writing books and once you’ve written a book you love, you’re obligated to get it out there and market it into vibrant life, come hell or high water.
But back to the publicist: amongst the many words of wisdom she imparted during our time together, and after I asked her specifically about industrial-strength review sites like Kirkus and Foreward, she expressed an opinion I was not expecting: go for it, she said. She felt those two, of all the like-options, were valid, bona fide; often very tough, but worth the pursuit in that they have great reach and tremendous influence on what books people pay attention to. So I pursued Kirkus, fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get eviscerated.
But I did wonder about that purported toughness, because I couldn’t help but notice there are few (if any) negative reviews posted, for example, at Kirkus. Then I discovered that every reviewed author has the option to not publish the review they receive if it’s a negative one… which explains the disproportionately jolly outcome of what’s up there! But what a charitable option, I thought. Who wants a gutting review from one of the biggest book/media resources in the world bouncing all over the internet for the rest of time if there’s an option to opt out? I felt at least assured of having some control over whatever Kirkus outcome came out.
And what came out was a lovely, largely positive review that I’d be happy to share with even my mother! I was delighted, because whatever one thinks of such “shallow pursuits” as reviews (something an acerbic blogger snarked to me once), having positive perspective of your book bandied about is much better than the opposite. Here’s the takeaway quote:
“Wilke is a skilled writer, able to plausibly inhabit Dan’s young male perspective… A well-written, engaging, sometimes-frustrating tale of reaching adulthood a little late.”
I don’t know about the “frustrating” part (they also took exception with my protagonist’s behavior with a bit more verve than I might’ve, but others have also found him such, so likely I’m biased!). And though I didn’t garner one of their “stars” or “prizes,” I was grateful to get what I got. Yippidy do dah day! May floods of Kirkusian readers come rollin’ my way!
The other “love” Hysterical Love garnered this week was the very lovely B.R.A.G. Medallion from indieBRAG.com. This acknowledgment is awarded by book clubs and readers affiliated with the site, and it really is quite an honor (my debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, is also a Medallion honoree). The site’s president. Geri Clouston, as well as its most public and passionate voice, Stephanie Moore Hopkins, are incredibly supportive and generous with their “honorees,” and the nod from them and their organization is always a welcomed gift… thank you!
To cap off this utterly self-serving but authentically felt trumpet solo, I’ll end with the other two accolades recently received: a wonderful review from Literary Fiction Book Reviews:
Hysterical Love is a deftly told tale about not only the search for love in the 21st century, but about seeking a greater understanding of the intricacies of the human heart, about love in all its various forms and disguises: puppy love, lost love, emerging love, enduring love, and of course, hysterical love.” (Read more…)
And another from the sweetly enthusiastic Tracy Slowiak at Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews:
“Oh my, oh my! I just finished reading Hysterical Love, the newest novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke, and I must say, I simply adored it! …I loved this book! Loved, loved, loved it. Wilke’s writing style is witty, pointed and funny, even hilarious at times.” (Read more…)
So yes, a good run.
But here’s the thing: none of this matters if you, the readers, aren’t inspired to get out (or get to your computers) to buy and read said book(s)! What ultimately matters most to me is that reviews and awards spark a, “that sounds good… I have to get a copy” kind of response. Because (and I’m not just saying this!), getting my books into your hands to read and enjoy is the whole gig. THE WHOLE GIG. I’m just here doing my part to make sure you know how wise you’d be to pursue that goal. 🙂
And now I’m done. Thank you for listening and go have a great day. (Damn, my lips hurt!)
Photoart by Brenda Perlin
Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.