from manuscript to bookstore -- the publishing process

Thanks, and another answer
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Thanks to all of you who were so enthusiastic in your comments re: the PW review. As great as the implications of a review like this may be for sales, my career, etc., the bottom-line fact of writing is, it means they liked my baby. And that's what, deep down, a writer cares about. The rest is nice, but you put yourself on the line when you put words on paper and there's always the fear that people will see through the words to you and say "Yuck."

So the reviews so far have been quite thrilling. Nevertheless, this blog is a publishing process blog, not a Rozan ego blog -- that's the other one -- so let me respond to Sally's comment:

"It's my understanding that PW reviews are a "collective" process; not just one person reads and writes the review. That means that this was a *star* with several people who read a LOT of books with a critical eye."

Sort of. Each book is read and reviewed by one person, though PW's policy is to keep the reviews unsigned so that it's clear the magazine as a whole stands behind them. However, PW has a three-color system that works like this: for regular reviews, the book title is in black ink. These reviews can be very positive, full of glowing adjectives, and when they are, publishers love them and use them on book jackets. They can also be pans. For books PW considers "important" but doesn't like, they put the title in blue ink. This means booksellers and librarians should be alerted to the book and will probably want to lay in a good supply, regardless of the quality of the book itself, because it will sell. The new John Updike was blue-inked. Books they consider "good" AND "important" are given red-inked titles and red stars. The blue and red decisions are made by a review process that includes a number of people.

So yes, what this means is that PW as an editorial whole thinks ABSENT FRIENDS is both "good" and "important."


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