There are four major outlets that review books before publication: Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Booklist. These are trade magazines, not especially intended for end readers, but instead for those organizations that put books in front of readers–libraries and bookstores and the consumer-facing media that review books. Yesterday, the fourth prepub review hit for THE EXPATS, a very positive starred review in Booklist. Which now makes a total of four very positive starred reviews in the four outlets.
I’d been hoping for one or two of these magazines to review my debut novel. I never imagined they all would. And it was inconceivable that all four reviews would be starred, very positive endorsements with no reservations. (So I now feel a bit like the Wallace Shawn character in The Princess Bride.)
It just so happened that I had drinks scheduled last night with the publicity director of Crown, at a little wine bar in the West Village called Buvette. We knew each other a bit from when he worked at Doubleday, and I at Clarkson Potter, two publishing houses within the Random House empire, in the same building. We both used to stand out on Broadway, smoking cigarettes.
He showed up in the company of the publisher of Crown. She’s someone I first met a couple years ago when I was on my way to a noon court in Chelsea, for some reason called the Midtown Tennis Club. I was walking by this new pizza restaurant, and peered through the window to see what it looked like inside, and noticed a handful of people I knew, setting up for a party. So I went inside to say hello, and was introduced to the new publisher of Crown. Then I saw her again last spring in London, over lunch with my wife, but I had to leave early to get on the subway to catch a train to the airport to come home to New York.
And so it is that I spent a Wednesday night cycling through wines and snacks, with a couple of people I barely knew, semi-celebrating prepub reviews.