In lots of ways it would make sense for your favorite review to be your first review. After all, it would be tangible evidence that you finally succeeded in fulfilling your dream of Becoming An Author. If you were like me, you secretly hoped that the reviewer would adore the book. Not just adore it, but actually gush in praise of it. Words like "brilliant" and "masterful" would be used. Repeatedly. But whatever the case, you certainly didn't expect the reviewer to spit out a few snarky lines before heading off to eat a bowl of nails and spend the remainder of the day kicking puppiers.
Which I'm ninety-nine percent sure is what my first reviewer did.
No, my favorite review came out almost a full year after my book did. Now, before I explain why this review meant so much to me, I should mention that I grew up reading Jane Austen and Agatha Christie and watching Hitchcock movies. When I decided to write a book, I knew that I wanted it to have the wit of Austen, the twisty plot of a Christie and the theme of the ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances of Hitchcock.
Of those three influences, Austen is probably the strongest. I am, as fellow enthusiasts like to call ourselves, a Janeite. My family and I are on vacation in England as I write this and, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will mention that I brought the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack with me and popped it in the car's CD player as we toured the countryside.
It's okay. Go ahead and mock me. God knows everyone else in the car did.
So anyway, I tell you this so you can appreciate my almost giddy joy when I received my lastest issue of Jane Austen's Regency World and found a review of my first book Murder at Longbourn. Now while there was no use of the words "brilliant" or "masterful", they did call it "delightful" and "throughly amusing." After doing one of those happy dances that further cemented my reputation as An Embarrasing Parent to my kids, I practically floated with happiness for the rest of day. I was a bit like Sally Field with her cry of "You like me! You really like me!"
Reviews can be painful or joyful. What one reviewer loathes with the white hot passion of a thousand suns, another loves. They can suck the life out of you or fill you with joy. It's the later that keeps you going. And as to the former, well you can always kill them off in your next novel.(I'm gunning for YOU Ms. Shall Remain Nameless, But Knows Who She Is.)