Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Professional Reviews Matter

All of us who hope to sell to the school and library market know that professional reviews matter. Though publishers send out Advanced Reader Copies, there is no guarantee that a book will actually make it into the review journals. And then there's the problem of negative reviews. Just as critics pan movies they don't like, the same happens with books. It often hurts sales -- a lot.

On Christmas Eve, I got a special gift. One that didn't come in a box or tied up with a bow. Publisher's Weekly reviewed my novel, THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL. You can read the review here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-60898-142-7

To make my holidays even brighter, JESSIE was also reviewed by Kirkus. That review will be published in their print edition on January 15th. For those who don't subscribe, I'll paste it below:

Jessie, 15 and living on a rural North Carolina tobacco farm in the early 1920s, dreams of graduating from high school and then attending teachers’ college.

All of that becomes very unlikely after one of her elder sisters falls ill with tuberculosis, forcing Jessie to leave school to nurse her dying sibling and later to become surrogate mother to her sister’s infant son. Jessie loves her nephew, but she’s torn between staying on the farm and cultivating her growing relationship with J.T., a neighbor three years her senior who would happily marry her when she gets a little older, or satisfying a deep-seated urge to make more of her life, if she gets the opportunity. Told in a believable first-person, present-tense voice that emphasizes the immediacy of Jessie’s problems and her sometimes raw emotions, Hitchcock’s debut also neatly captures a full flavor of the setting and period. The aspects of many characters are also effectively revealed, mostly through authentic-sounding dialogue.

A satisfying tale for readers who don’t require a fully happy ending. (Historical fiction. 11-18)

I'm hopeful that more reviews are forthcoming and that they'll be as positive as these two. Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year and great reviews!


  1. "A satisfying tale for readers who don’t require a fully happy ending."

    This^ may be my favorite line in this good review. Beautiful and well deserved, Shannon.

  2. Thanks, Mirka. My favorite line is from the Publisher's Weekly Review. I was elated that they mentioned how limited the choices were for women in the 1920's. That was one of the themes I wanted readers to be aware of when they read JESSIE.

  3. Congrats on the review! I thought your book was coming out later this year, but I saw that the Kindle edition was already up. I read Jessie a few days ago and loved it.

  4. Hi Medeia, My official publication date is February 1st, but yes, the book was ready early, and you can already purchase copies. I'm glad you enjoyed it!