Guest-blog: CATE GARDNER

Cate Gardner writes delightfully surreal modern fairy-tales, her stories having appeared in Fantasy Magazine, Postscripts, Triangulation: End of the Rainbow and Shock Totem, amongst others.

A collection of her short stories, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits, is forthcoming from Strange Publications this October; and her novella, Theatre of Curious Acts, is forthcoming from Hadley Rille Books in 2011.

Here, Cate talks about the one thing that writers get anxious about – those pesky old reviews and reviewers.

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Reviews are frightening – capital F.

They’re also hard to get so when head honcho Mark Deniz over at Beyond Fiction offered to have someone read my book for his new site, I was both stoked and nervous.

A few days after receiving the book, Mark emailed to say the person reviewing Strange Men loved it. My immediate reactions were wow and thank god, followed swiftly by, do I know this person. Because my greatest fear (yep, more than I fear a bad review) is that someone will say they like my stories because they like me. When I realised I didn’t know the reviewer and they liked my book, I revisited wow and thank god, and this time followed it with, is this person living in a mental institution.

So review number one was in (assuming there’s more to follow – as I said, reviews are hard to get), it was fantastic and my immediate reaction was… The universe is not going to let this lie; the next review is going to kick my ass.

And that’s okay.

Sort of. I’m not insane, I would like a collection of shiny reviews, but despite the fantasist rhythm of my fiction, I’m a realist. No book in the world is or can be loved equally by everyone. Yes, I might be lucky and then again, I might not.

Reviews are frightening – but I’ll take them, good or bad.

Since the review went live, I’ve gotten to know Simon a little better. Hence, this guest blog post. However, I can honestly say that even if his review had torn my book apart, I’d still have thanked him for taking the time to read my book and would have meant it. I hate it when I see people belittling reviewers who didn’t like their books/stories, or getting angry with them or arguing with the review. We put our stories out there, we want people to review them, and we can’t expect praise 24/7. Or at all.

Reviews are frightening – reviewers aren’t.

Moreover, I do believe if you’re willing to listen to the good ones (I was trapped in my office for several hours until my head-swell subsided), then you have to consider the bad ones too (I have chocolate prepared). I am thankful for every reviewer willing to take time to read my stories and comment on them.

And thanks to a review by the owner of this blog, I now own the most delightful book – Shane Jones’ Light Boxes.

Reviews and reviewers are awesome – that is all.

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Many thanks to Cate for the guest blog!! Her website is here and you can pre-order Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things from Strange Publications.

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3 Responses to “Guest-blog: CATE GARDNER”

  1. I hate it when I see people belittling reviewers who didn’t like their books/stories, or getting angry with them or arguing with the review. We put our stories out there, we want people to review them, and we can’t expect praise 24/7. Or at all.

    This is something I think about a lot, and I really think you’ve distilled the most important thing about reviews into two sentences here. I’m going to print it out and put it on my wall. ❤

  2. Just like Cate exemplifies a gracious author, I try to be a gracious reviewer when I put up a book review on my blog. Not all are glowing, but when I write something closer resembling a negative review I try to be diplomatic.

    • That’s exactly the way I try to write a review – a fair one, offering constructive criticism if I can…. luckily, Cate’s book is one of the best ones I’ve read this year and the review was so easy to write, it practically wrote itself…

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