Monday, August 28, 2006

Debra Hamel and the art of book reviewing.

Debra Hamel, a blogging comrade, has written a very kind review of my first novel for adults, ONE DAY THE ICE WILL REVEAL ALL ITS DEAD on her book blog.

I am very grateful since, quite ironically, I heard this weekend that the 'rest of the world' edition of this book, WEGENER'S JIGSAW, is to be remaindered.

But thanks for the review Debra! It is always so good to see that someone has thoroughly read my book and understood what I was trying to do.

'Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.' is John Updike's first rule for good book reviewing. I have been reading the rest of them today and they seem to me to be such excellent advice I am printing them out and putting them on the wall above my desk so I can refer to them whenever I try my hands at a review.

9 Comments:

Blogger Lee said...

An excellent rule.

What does remaindered actually mean? Reduced in price or something even more sinister? Sorry to be so naive about the publishing business.

And I personally found your novel to be truly exceptional. It's the reason I found this blog.

Mon Aug 28, 04:37:00 pm  
Anonymous clare said...

Thanks Lee - the book did get some good reviews but if a book's not chosen for promotion by the booksellers it stands little chance of selling these days. It's a tough, tough world.

I'm not sure what remaindered means either but the letter starts 'I'm sorry...' so I guess it's not good. I'm not too well up on this publishing business either and part of me definitely doesn't want to ask. But it looks like they try and sell them for next to nothing and then if that doesn't work I guess it is pulped.

I used to care about things like this - but now I find I don't very much. Worse things happen - much worse - and at least people like you got to read it. That pleases me a lot.

Mon Aug 28, 08:45:00 pm  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I've had a look at the review. I always was a fan of plate tectonics, so I have ordered the book. I remember loving all that continental drift stuff when I did geography A-level at school, then I wondered why we had to learn about population distribution and central business districts as part of the same exam. I realise that the book is about much more than the science. Looking forward to reading it.

Mon Aug 28, 09:49:00 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Your book seems to be selling well here, Clare. Amazon.com, the American branch, has a notice up "order soon - only three left in stock...more coming". I've ordered one, so now there are only two left in stock.

Mon Aug 28, 11:37:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

Some of the best authors have been remaindered.

Many years ago, I picked up a first edition of Angela Carter's "Nights At The Circus".

I also have a fine hardcover edition of Mervyn Peake's "Ghormenghast" trilogy also found on a remaindered books table.

These books now are quite valuable I should imagine.

You could consider yourself in good company. Also consider that the dedicated remainder table haunter may be delighted to pick up your book at a discount.

Tue Aug 29, 12:35:00 am  
Blogger Galaxy said...

Hearing this news just frustrates me, Clare. I tried to order a copy of Wegener's Jigsaw here in Australia (after I read 98 Reasons, I wanted to read more), but was told it had to come from overseas. Then after 8 weeks of waiting, I was told the warehouses were out of stock. I was told the same thing at 10 weeks, then 12 weeks, after which I just gave up in frustration.

I don't own a credit card, but I have to tell you that I am seriously contemplating getting one just so I can buy your book from Amazon or some such place.

Now I hear they're remaindering them? That would suggest a warehouse overflowing with unsold stock, wouldn't it? Where is this warehouse? I will raid it and leave my full price payment in cash before I leave.

Tue Aug 29, 01:37:00 am  
Blogger Minx said...

Remaindered book - one whose publisher has allowed to go out of print, usually when the paperback comes in. They often sell at greatly reduced prices - grrr!

Thanks for this post Clare, good to see adept reviewing and the reasoning behind it.

Tue Aug 29, 09:33:00 am  
Anonymous clare said...

Thanks for buying the book Jeremy - that's very good of you: I did A level geography too and felt the same as you did. It was then that I saw a snippet about Alfred Wegener at the bottom of a text book and that's what led to this book many, many years later.

Susan: I'm afraid to tell you that Amazon watchers will tell you that 'only 3 left business means nothing. It stays like that for months. I think they're hoping to panic you into buying!

Anee S: yes, I am in good company - you're right.

Galaxy: this is not good ...although I am not very surprised. The older I get, the less surprised I am. But thank you very much for telling me and all your kind words - I'm so glad you like my book.

Minx: That's what usually happens, true, but not in this case. It's all really complicated. I think I'm going to have to make it the subject of a new post.

And yes, this set of rules is good, very good...

Tue Aug 29, 03:18:00 pm  
Blogger marlyat2 said...

That particular loss of surprise is inevitable, isn't it? Condolences, and welcome to the ranks of the remaindered. We're not a bad crowd...

Wed Aug 30, 05:20:00 pm  

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