Reviews: The Literary Equivalent of Crack

September 11, 2023 | Author Friend Promo

from Anne Montgomery

Once your book has had a 5-Star Review you’ll need that rush again.  But remember, some reviewers won’t be so benevolent, so be prepared to suffer the book review blues. Then, be strong, and send your baby out into the world again.

Authors long for reviews. We go to great lengths to find folks willing to pen blurbs about our babies. Because, of course, reviews sell books.

So…we contact newspapers and magazines and TV stations, radio outlets, book bloggers, and those with the keys to the podcasts. Then there are the book clubs and bookstores – the few that remain in brick-and-mortar form. Sometimes, authors beg friends and family members for reviews, but that seems a bit on the suspect side. I mean, generally, don’t loved ones want to say nice things, if only to be polite and avoid familial strife? I have so far refrained from this particular approach, which does not mean I might not give it a try in the future. I just haven’t…yet.

A well-written query letter, to all the proper specifications, might glean a review about two to three percent of the time. Really. I sent out 60 requests one weekend and got two “No thanks” replies for my efforts. The other fifty-eight beautifully composed queries went unanswered.

Still, on that rare occasion when someone agrees to review your book…oh, the joy! And then the wait. Weeks, maybe months, go by before the results come in. And that first 5-Star Review? You read it over and over, lingering over the verbiage like it’s a letter from a lover:

“I say this is a must read! The book is utterly captivating and mature.”

“The story was tightly plotted and suspenseful.”

“Tragic, disturbing, captivating, but utterly fantastic!”

But as with most love affairs, eventually the words become too familiar, stale, and you long for something different. So the quest begins again. You need that high, and the begging – OK, go ahead and call it marketing, if that makes you feel better – begins anew.

Then, of course, authors must also stomach the not-so-charitable comments. There’s the dreaded DNF: Did Not Finish, meaning your book was so bad the reviewer simply couldn’t get to your well-crafted, quite brilliant ending.

“The writing style wasn’t for me. It was too descriptive for my taste.”

“This work aims high but ultimately falls short.”

“The brief, cliff-hanger chapters might appeal to reluctant readers.”

Ouch! And yet, we keep…on…looking. Hoping that someone will read our words and tell us what they think.

Perhaps there is something inherently wrong with authors that we are willing to put ourselves in a position of such utter vulnerability. I’ve heard budding writers say they fear rejection and I want to laugh. Rejection is part of the job description. One must embrace it: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and all that.

A way to survive the emotional ups and downs of the book review process is to consider the subjectivity of the practice, because these missives are but personal opinions. Don’t believe me? Well, every one of the comments listed above, including the dreaded DNF, came from actual reviews of my most recent novel, The Scent of Rain. Go figure. How can one person adore a book and another find it repugnant? Beats me. But I do know we authors must never refuse to offer our books up on the sacrificial altar of Reviews. Yes, there will be low points, but the highs, I promise you, will blot out those blues.

So stand straight. Be bold. Believe in your prose and send your baby out into the world. Really, there’s no other way.

Please allow me to offer you a glimpse at my latest women’s fiction novel for you reading pleasure.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.


Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.


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