I wasn’t sure what I was going to talk about today for Pride Month. Some pretty awful stuff happened the other day, but I also finished the final proofs on Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks today, and I have a post bubbling in my head about the cast of characters in the fictional Rainbow Club in the book…
And then I got an e-mail from my publisher about a NetGalley review.
Of Echoes Born launched this month, and so it’s up on NetGalley for review. If you don’t know what NetGalley is, it’s a kind of digital ARC resource (ARCs are Advance Reading Copies, books sent to reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and chain buyers so they can have read the book prior to launch and help generate noise or place confident orders of product they know they want to handsell). Bloggers and reviewers and booksellers and librarians can get access to NetGalley, and request digital copies of books to read, review, and promote.
Honestly? It’s an awesome tool, and I’m so glad I have access to it.
And I wasn’t particularly sure much would happen on NetGalley this time because short fiction isn’t as easy a sell to a lot of people. In fact, I’d go further and say short fiction collections are generally a pretty hard sell. Certainly, when I worked at the bookstore, that was my experience.
But this review I got sent today? This review is frankly perfect.
Every now and then, if you’re really lucky as a writer, a book will connect with a reader in the way you intended it to. I don’t want that to sound defeatist, because it’s not; most of the time, at least in my experience, what a reader gets out of a book is as much personal as guidance from the author. Things like theme and narrative weave together in certain ways, and certainly the author is the one who put them there, but what a reader discovers inside a book is often unique to that reader, and often things the reader might express about the narrative are a surprise to the writer.
And this is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. I love seeing what people see in things I’ve written, especially when I didn’t consciously put it there to be found. I cannot tell you how many awesome conversations I’ve had with readers and fellow authors about exactly this. It’s one of the wonderful things about telling stories.
But when I’m trying to do something specific, and a reader gets that? Well. Wonderful doesn’t cover it.
The whole review is over on NetGalley, but this words in particular:
Of Echoes Born contains plenty of hints of romance, but the focus is more on highlighting voices. Each story served like a snapshot in time of a defining moment in that particular character’s life—when they’ve find solace, strength, or confidence in themself.
Each story was distinct but there was a cohesiveness that made the transitions seamless. This was enhanced when characters, places, important names would pop up from story to story, uniting the theme almost giving nods to those who came before. While I enjoyed each short, my favorite aspect were the bookends of the collection. It was a surprise, tying everything together and leaving me covered in goosebumps.
This is everything I could have hoped for from a reader of Of Echoes Born. Everything.
So, readers, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, for every review you post, every moment of word-of-mouth? Thank you. You do magic.