A friend asked me recently how much effort I put into engaging with Goodreads and I had to confess that the answer is: zero.
Not because I have anything against the site – I’m a champion bookworm, so anything on that subject is right up my library aisle – it’s just the risk of accidentally stumbling across a mean-spirited, or ‘meh’ review, because it can really set a writer back.
Of course you can’t expect everyone to love everything you do, but reading a negative review when you’re in the middle of writing a book is deadly, so I steer clear of Goodreads and Amazon reviews and read even the ones in respected publications, only after my pals at Harper Collins have scanned them first.
With my new book Secret Keeping for Beginners (in case you’ve forgotten ha ha not much chance on here…)I’ve been pretty thrilled with all my reviews. I even got a really lovely one in the Spectrum section of my old paper the Sydney Morning Herald and I know they are a tough crowd. (Spoiler alert: this one gives quite a bit away.)
But the other day one came in which is so amazing, it blew my mind. And what makes it even more gratifying, for someone who labour to throw off the dread label ‘Chick Lit’, it was written by a man.
So thank you Newtown Review of Books and thank you Michael Jongen. To have the names Dickens and Pym mentioned in a review of one of my books might be the nicest thing that has ever happened to me.