I've been lucky with reviews- really lucky. Which is why it stung when I got what I thought was a particularly snide and carping review from that well know American provider of snide, carping reviews- Kirkus. For a time it was the only US review I'd got for Ghostscape, though thankfully, a couple of good ones from other US publications helped relieve the ridiculously personal pain you feel when a book you've written gets trashed.
OK, so I may have wished ill on the anonymous Kirkus reviewer- momentarily, of course. But the news I heard today that Kirkus is closing down- after nearly eighty years of reviewing books- was something of a shock. I feel particularly bad because of the sweet email their children's book editor Vicky Smith sent me. She said she'd handed Ghostscape to a reviewer whose parents were British to reduce the chance that there would be a "lost in translation" effect. He was a Sci Fi specialist (though Ghostscape's not really a science fiction book). She agreed the result was "not gentle".
It's not unusual for writers to receive a bit of a shoe-ing from Kirkus- many of them well-known and well-regarded. What most take exception to is that the reviewers don't put their names to Kirkus reviews- they're not accountable for their barbs. Whovever, it was who reviewed Ghostscape is probably going to find it harder to get a few extra dollars criticising other people's stuff now Kirkus is no more. But I'm not feeling too much Schadenfreude (honestly). That's because, though it's no fun when people don't love your books, all reviews mean publicity. And as Maurice Lyon of my publishers Frances Lincoln keeps telling me- all publicity is good!
2 weeks ago