Why Book Reviews Matter

I was at the New York Public Library (NYPL) the other day doing some work and on my way out I stopped in at the children desk to ask if there was anyone I could speak with about getting my book into the kids library. As luck would have it the library manager, Frank Collieries, was in and so she sent me up to see him. I introduced myself, told him about my book and he suggested I drop off a copy for him to pass on to Rebecca who looks after the children’s library.

My view in the main library. It's spiritual.

My “office view” view in the main library. It’s spiritual.

He asks me if it has received any reviews to which I reply “No it hasn’t as of yet?!”. I’m not sure what compelled me to say that because it’s not really true. On the back of the book are some pretty awesome testimonials that I could have directed him to. I did have that great plug just before Christmas by my friend Paul Bellini at MyGayToronto.com but I know what Frank really means which is a more comprehensive review of the actual story which I don’t have – yet. Getting knowledgeable third party reviews matters because it validates the book and makes it easier for libraries to pick up a title. I get it, we all think our book, story, idea or whatever is the most important and that everyone should naturally want to stop what they are doing and read it but a librarian (or bookstore) would be considering LOTS of books and so expecting them to read each one is a bit ridiculous which is why reviews become important because they help someone can make a decision on whether to even consider it.

The next day I drop off a copy of my book, a press release and thank you card for Frank and then when I get back home there is an email from Todd White the review editor from Out In Jersey and another from Bryen Dunn, the editor of the PinkPlayMags in Toronto, both willing to review The Great Meeting Room, hallelujah!  If all goes well these will mark my first official reviews, one from each city, and while I wish I had these yesterday I’m so happy to have them at all. Fingers crossed. xox

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