Well, I have to admit that today was a bit of a slow day — actually a low day. I was rebounding from an agent’s email: while she was encouraging and offered some suggestions, she took a pass on my YA novel. This led me to slack off a bit because I needed to process what happened and reboot my query strategy.
Casting around for a way to distract myself, I ended up reading a glowing review of a new novel by Donna Tartt called The Goldfinch. Published in The New York Times and written by Michiko Kukutani, the review said in part, “Ms. Tartt has made Fabritius’s bird the MacGuffin at the center of her glorious, Dickensian novel, a novel that pulls together all her remarkable storytelling talents into a rapturous, symphonic whole and reminds the reader of the immersive, stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading.”
Wow! Remarkable storytelling talents. Rapturous, symphonic whole. Stay-up-all-night pleasures of reading. This is the kind of a review that dreams are made of and that should send an author — and book sales — into the stratosphere. It’s also the kind of review that I’m sure we’d all love to receive. Wouldn’t it be great to have one like that about my book, I mused. Then I thought, hey, I’m a writer! I can pen my own review!
I started thinking about what glowing things I’d want the review to say. This made me realize what a powerful motivational tool this could be. First, it would let me envision my book as completed, published, and out in the world. It would let me see the book in my readers’ hands. Second, it would give me the chance to think about how I’d like the book described by objective third-party enthusiasts. And finally, it would give me a palpable sense of the satisfaction and accomplishment I’d feel in knowing that my book was giving readers the pleasure and joy I want them to experience.
So here’s a suggestion for us all: Let’s take a project that we really care about and are working diligently to bring to fruition and put out into the world — and write a review of it as if it’s already been published and has made a huge splash. Let’s go all out! Let’s say whatever we dream of having a respected, rapturous reviewer say about what we’ve written — and then let’s work like the dickens to create something that’s worthy of such high praise. And just to make it objective, once it’s finished, let’s consider mailing it to ourselves. Write on!