First Rule of Book Club

…we don’t talk about Book Club. Wrestling with the messy etiquette of reviews and self-promotion.

We received a thoughtful, well-written, considered review. Apparently, though, it is simply Not Done to thank a reviewer for their time and consideration and words. It’s such a relief, really, though, seeing this review: writing is so intense and personal; editing is so intense and isolating, and removes the writer from the work …

So much in a book takes place in the reader’s mind.  Images, impressions, scenes root and grow … or else they don’t. After so much contact with the text, it behaves differently in the mind of the writers than to someone coming to the book for the first time. You have to wonder if anyone will be able to see in a book the things that you, as the writers, were trying to seed in it.

You also start to wonder if anyone’s seen it at all. I’ve been told from multiple sources, and it seems logical: don’t oversaturate your social media with self-promotion. So Bertie and I have held back from waving Albatross around like a flag. But within the past week, three separate friends have asked me these questions or some variant: You wrote a book? Is it out yet?

So seeing this review today, and the care and thought that went into the engagement with the text? It matters. Knowing that someone understood what we were trying to say? Well, apparently, I can’t say thanks.

..and yet, here I am, suffused with gratitude.

It seems my writer’s heart isn’t very good at etiquette. Gratitude, though … I’ve got that down.

Off to write now.

2 thoughts on “First Rule of Book Club

  1. Though I risk making the host uncomfortable, I’ll pay one specific compliment: This was collaborative work, but the book’s “voice” felt assured and comfortable –like the music of an experienced band.


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