Monday, June 01, 2009

Review of Safe House by Christine Duncan

Reviewer's Choice

Reviewers do a service to writers that I think needs to be more appreciated. They help us get feedback on our work. And what more can anyone want?

I stopped by CrimeSpace the other day to see what other mystery writers are doing.

I was struck by a discussion started by Patrick Balester--"101 Things to do Before You Die (for Crime Writers)." Some of the list was applicable to all writers ("number 7: This year, query three agents a week until you snag one.") some of the list was an inside joke aimed at mystery writers by taking swipes at a couple of famous mystery folks (shake literary agent Janet Reid's tentacle???) Although the list didn't actually make it to 101, it did mention getting a review in your local paper, but that was it. For me, the review itself matters. I want a review where the reviewer gets it.

Oh, my books have had some nice reviews along the way, don't get me wrong. I love when that happens. But if I were doing the 101 list, it would be item 10 and item 21 and maybe item 33 and... See, there is a deal that we writers forget often as we pound out our work. We're writing for an audience. I love it when the audience likes my work.

I've done a lot of the things on Patrick's list. I've gotten books published, spoken at conferences, attended the famed Bouchercon, given talks about my books at the library, been on panels at writer's cons and taught fellow writers some of the little I know. Frankly, except for being published, none of it was on my to-do list before I die. (Don't get me started on speaking in public--but really why would ANYONE want that?) Again, with the exception of being published, none of it measured up to getting a review (either from a reader or from a published reviewer) where they "got" the books. Isn't that really why we write?