As writers we used to call post offices ‘shrines’ – you wrap up your books, address them to agents or publishers, and then leave them at a counter from where they are whisked away into the care of super powers, to be rejected or accepted.
Yesterday was a different game – publishers now and back at the post office, shipping books away to critical powers. It was review copy day. From this Hull post office, the first copies of D.D. Johnston’s The Deconstruction of Professor Thrub have shipped out to literary reviewers across Britain.
It surprised me how many go to one address – Northcliff House, the home of the Independent, Mail, Evening Standard and Metro titles. On another day I’d walk the copies round and save a bob or two.
Will reviews follow? The hit-rate is poor for small independents, but I’m blazingly optimistic. Our books look as good as anything a mainstream press might bring out, for one. Trade paperback, fine typesetting with a good-sized font, brilliantly striking covers. Call me proud rather than biased … I know we have some good-loookers here. That line ‘you can’t tell a book by its cover’? Well it’s a line because it’s true, we do make up our first judgments from a book’s cover.
And then our books are striking from page 1. Will we get positive reviews? I hope so. We may well get hostile ones too. Ours aren’t sitting on the fence kinds of books. They are writing from the discomfort zone. They should, surely, provoke strong opinion. Reviewers have sharp minds and we are giving them loads to feed off.