Diane Meier

Diane Meier

Welcome to Diane’s Blog!

I’ll use this spot to chart what I enjoy and endorse, as we attempt to live a life of style in a culture of business and writing and art. And I hope you join me; share your own stories, insights and ideas about living a creatively expressive life.

Twelve Days to Publication

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Back in July, the folks at my publisher, Henry Holt, told me that they would be submitting The Season of Second Chances for Amazon Vine reviews. They didn’t say this with bright smiling faces, I noted; they said it with furrowed brows. Publishers aren’t in control of those early reviews, they explained, and many of them feel that the Vine reviewers take their role of ‘gatekeeper’ so seriously that they actually keep some good content from ever reaching their target audiences.

Okay. I said, So don’t do it! I mean, I’m so nervous about the idea of reviews at all; if you have real worries, why tempt fate? But they did. And my brow has been furrowed since July.

So – here we are, two weeks before publication. The early reviews began to trickle in last week. Big exhale. We’ve only had five so far, but the first Amazon Vine readers have been truly generous – delivering the kind of reviews one crosses their fingers and hopes to see. Phew.

But yesterday there was a hitch. And it wasn’t the typical, “he’s just not that into you” problem: A two star review appeared. And you must see it to believe it.

The“Chick-Lit-Loving-Wife” he claimed, didn’t like my book at all. Too wordy, he said. Too many references she didn’t get. Too much not like Chick-Lit. Very bad. Very disappointing.

Except, of course, that it’s not supposed to be “Chick-Lit”. It’s a book that assumes you paid attention in your American-Lit class. It’s a book that makes references to Sontag and Beckett, Shakespeare and Mary McCarthy, Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel, for god’s sake, and WB Yeats. I even talk about the reference books the protagonist holds dear – her Edward Sapir, Bullfinch and Brewer, Van Doren and Joseph Campbell. And all through The Season of Second Chances there are references, inside jokes and bits of play with our heroine’s major subject of study: the Gilded Age Literature of Henry James and Edith Wharton. Even her dog is named Henry James. No wonder the poor “wife” didn’t like the book! But it’s as though she’s blaming the steak for not being ice-cream.

I will be on a panel at the Empire State Book Festival in Albany on April 10th with “women-who-write”: Cathleen Schine, Elizabeth Noble and Jamie Attenberg. And, I understand we are going to talk about “Women’s” Literature. As you might expect, I have a mouthful to say about that ghetto – and “Chick-Lit” is only the beginning.

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