First reviews and quantum cats

Consider Schrodinger’s famous cat, hovering between life and death until someone opens the box to observe it.  Now consider the first novel, after it’s been sent to reviewers, but before a review has been posted.

You can see why that can be stressful. Have I written a deceased feline, or a lively one? Or is it merely half-dead– say, a cat missing a major organ or two?

Now, I’m not one to put my self esteem into the hands of reviewers. (I put that into the hands of my dog, who loves me unconditionally, even if I forget to feed her. ) But still, what writer doesn’t want his or her book to be liked?

A couple weeks ago my publisher sent out the advance review copies of Pandemonium. I’d been too busy to think about it much (a slight lie) because I was cramming to finish the first draft of my new book. But I happened to notice (okay, I happened to google for “Pandemonium” and my own name) that a few of the reviewers out there who keep blogs had received the book, and one had read the opening. But there hadn’t been a review yet.

Until this morning, when my old editor, since moved on to another publishing house, sent me a link to this article on the Agony Column, an sf book review site.

The short answer: to at least one observer, the cat shows signs of life. If I could I would stop there– take my one positive review and tell everybody to drive safe and tip their waitress — but there are more reviews to come (I think). And then of course, it will be up to the opinion of the people who really get to decide whether you get to publish a second book, or a third one– the readers. But they won’t get the book until August 26.

So, the quantum indeterminancy continues. The cat is out of the bag. Or box. And if it turns out that the cat is decomposing, at least my dog likes my compositions.

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7 thoughts on “First reviews and quantum cats

  1. Congrats on the first review! This must be a little relief.

    In the review it states

    “I’d even suggest avoiding the back cover. The surprises in this superbly crafted novel are worth preserving and encountering on their own terms.”

    What are your thoughts on this and who wrote the stuff on the back cover?

    Paul

    PS. How many days until the release?

  2. My friend Gary had the same question — what did the back cover give away? The Del Rey people wrote the copy (not sure who), and I think it’s pretty good and doesn’t give away all that much. I’ll type it up and put a link to it later tonight so you can judge for yourself. (Along with a cheesy javascript countdown counter. I think there’s a hundred days or so left.)

    My working theory on the reviewer’s comment is that he thought that the book’s more enjoyable without knowing anything about what’s coming. And hey, that’s cool with me. I’m playing so many cross-genre reindeer games in this book that it’s probably better if the readers don’t pre-file it under one mental label or another — as in, Oh, it’s a demon book.

  3. Alas, My Evil Marketing Friend, I can’t find a widget for the template I’m using — I’m on the wordpress site and a wee bit limited. Can your wordpress-fu show me a better way?

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