Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Reviews, Marketing and the Love of Writing

At a writers’ meeting yesterday, we talked about book reviews, how difficult they are to come by. I hadn't gotten a review in quite some time, despite people saying they loved my book, I said.

“Some readers just don’t know how to critique, they’re not the type of person to write even one or two sentences,” one writer offered.

"Sprinkle me with stars," another laughed.

Writers, themselves, draw the line―if they don’t think the book is well-written and they couldn’t get past the first fifty pages, they’ll forgo writing a review even after promising the author they will.

“Well, can’t you give it four stars and say you found the first fifty pages spellbinding?” one writer suggested, half-joking, half serious.

The writer said, ‘no’, he felt he couldn’t and then we were back to talking about marketing and publishing in all its mind-boggling variety, herculean effort and time away from doing what we love―writing.


A story captured my attention: Yoko Ono sharing credit for “Imagine,” her husband’s masterpiece. A husband and wife collaboration recognized thirty-seven years after John Lennon’s death. Imagine that. A timeless love story, I thought …

The story struck a chord. A Portrait of Love an Honor is a collaboration between my late husband John M. Cavalieri and me … a collaboration which became public as a published work twenty-one years after my husband's death. In this guest blog post on author Kathy Pooler's Memoir Writer's Journey blog, I wrote what inspired our book.

Most creative journeys and the stories that unfold are about love, aren't they? A husband and wife, a father and son, a mother and daughter, a friend and lover ... an attempt to find redemption, a vision for a better, kinder world.

Saturday would have been my 39th wedding anniversary. Clouds and gray sky suddenly gave way to a steady rain running in rivulets down the driveway and tap, tapping on the roof, much like the weather that day.

I have written about our wedding day―there didn't seem much point to searching that memory again. Then, as I listened to the rain, one memory emerged ... one I hadn't written. I saw myself looking out the window of John’s apartment where I had spent the night. In the parking lot below, John, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, worked on the engine of his green MGB … this and our church wedding less than an hour away.

I opened the window. I think I shouted, “It’s getting late, you have to get ready!” … but he waved me off. “Don’t worry, I’ll be there,” he said. And he was and always will be.

Lily sleeping at my feet, fading peach-colored roses in a delft blue vase on the living room coffee table.  A June day with the freedom to write. Yesterday, I bought a dozen white roses in anticipation of my anniversary. I take stock, thankful that we loved each other ... had two amazing sons who steadfastly remain by my side. This is enough for any one life … any woman alone.

The writing life is a journey close to the heart. Forget the book reviews and the marketing, I tell myself. Either you love writing or you don’t. That's what matters. I have to work on another book, and gird myself again for all that comes with it. Writing must be met with resolution, but also joy!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about writing and/or the marketing journey.

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