All writers love feedback. Granted, some of those early nuggets of insight may have stung like a somersault into a wasps' nest; and even some of the later, apparently well-meaning critiques were as welcome as a phone call to discuss your gas supplier when you're desperate to reach the loo.
But a review that gets the essence of your novel and still finds positive things to say about it to other people? Well, that's worth its weight in alchemist's gold.
This review for my magical fantasy, Covenant, is from Pentacle - The UK's leading Independent Pagan Magazine. In many ways it marks a milestone for my book and for me.
Well, it's a review in a respected magazine - with readers who would likely enjoy Covenant. It's also a golden opportunity (there's that metal again) to promote not only those all-important sales links, but Covenant as a contribution to the Western Mysteries.
More importantly, it allows me to stop and reflect back on the work that went into Covenant - both the crafting of the story and the characters, over many years, and the design of the esoteric elements.
Sometimes, in the rush to get started on the next book, especially if the previous book has been slow to reach its audience, we can become dismissive of our achievements. I feel fortunate indeed to have received recognition from one of my peers. It feel like a nod from the Unseen for continuing with the book over its many adventures (deceased editor, 15 month wait for a response, publisher going under, etc).
The review pretty much says everything that I would want to say about Covenant. Whatever else happens with the book, I can feel confident that my aim was true. (At least until someone hates it!)
In fairness, there are practical benefits to a review like this as well:
1. My local branch of Waterstones promised to get in some copies, so I can now contact them to make good on their word. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.
2. A couple of independent bookshops have offered to display copies of Covenant alongside the review.
3. I've already had emails and given away review copies. In fact, tell you what, to celebrate the mag review, I'll give a PDF review version to the first five people to email me on asabovesobelow(at)btinternet.com, using the title: Covenant blog review.
4. I can add this review to my social media broadcasts.
Now, what was I saying about that next novel...