Reader Appreciation Day

Me, signing a copy for reader Lisa at the NILF in August 2012 who later shared her review on facebook.

Me, signing a copy for reader Lisa at the NILF in August 2012 who later shared her review on facebook.

One of the reasons I’m so appreciative of reader reviews is because when you’re new (well my first book The Boy from Willow Bend came out 10 years ago so I guess I’m not that new anymore) and from a small place (yes, yes, a Kincaid reference) you don’t get a lot of critical attention from the established media. Well literature gets little love from the media anyway unless the author has copped a major prize and most of us haven’t been so blessed. And the literary journals, even those driven by Caribbean content, are still primarily occupied with the giants…not hating, the giants certainly have earned their time in the sun…but as a writer-becoming, you want, if you’re being honest with yourself, even a little shine and so you reach out to every journal, media outlet, book club, blogger you name it within your geographic, gender, genre niche and beyond…there’s a lot happening behind the scenes, folks. And if you’re lucky, you get a little attention, a little too late for it to have the kind of impact on sales you might be hoping for. The publishing cycle can be unforgiving; win or go home like they say in the NBA. But the desire for some critical attention isn’t just about sales (though you better hope your sales are good or else). Point is though, there’re are a lot of new writers coming forth, a new chapter in Caribbean literature that rates a read as well. But it is what it is. So, for writers like me, writers without celebrity status, the readers are everything; they don’t care if you’re new or not, just if they like your book or not and they’ll tell you what they liked, what they didn’t like…boy will they tell you what they didn’t like. The numerous online platforms that allow for this is to my mind a be-careful-what-you-wish-for plus of this modern publishing climate, because even or especially without bestseller level sales, the reader feedback is often the only feedback you’re likely to get on how your work is being received or perceived. Sure they’re not professional reviewers for the most part but they know what they like and don’t like, and why, and they’ll tell you. And it matters to the writer who spent sometimes years huddled over her manuscript and wants it to make some kind of ripple. So for the readers who haven’t been shy about sharing their thoughts on Oh Gad! … I appreciate you for all of this right here. YOU ROCK!