Judge Dread

Psst. Down here. It’s me, Chris. You might be wondering why I’m hiding under my desk with a pitcher of Mylanta White Russians. Well, I’ll tell you.

Killing Kind UK Cover

My, but that UK cover’s snazzy.

As of yesterday, THE KILLING KIND is officially out in the world. Okay, part of the world. More specifically, the British part. It doesn’t come out in the US for another couple weeks. (September 15th, to be exact. Which means you still have plenty of time to preorder it if you’d like.)

Book releases are wonderful, stressful, terrifying experiences. It’s like hosting an open house in your own head. “Greetings, strangers!” you say. “Here’s all the weird stuff I’ve been secretly thinking about for the past few years. Come poke around and then judge me on the internet.” And believe you me, they will.

I’ve been fortunate in my career. Most of my reviews have been quite favorable. So far, THE KILLING KIND has extended that streak. It received a starred review from Kirkus, as well as very favorable reviews from from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. But, like all authors, my books have gotten their share of howlers, too, and I’m sure I’ll get plenty more before I’m through. There’s no point complaining; it comes with the gig. You’ve just got to find a way to come to grips with it.

Killing Kind Cover

This is what the US version looks like. Commit it to memory. Consider memorializing it in tattoo form. Did I mention there’s still time to preorder?

I used to Google obsessively as release day approached, and read every single review I got. I even had a tried-and-true method for putting bad ones behind me. Thankfully, I’ve since mellowed. Sure, I’ll read the first couple reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, just to see which way the wind is blowing, but after that, I’ll glance occasionally at my average, and that’s that. If a book blogger points me toward their review on Twitter, I’ll read it, but I no longer seek them out. (Side note, bloggers: don’t feel obligated to @ message an author if you’ve given them a poor review. Most writers, this one included, would rather wallow in blissful ignorance.) And while I’ll cop to reading every professional review I get, these days it’s with an eagle eye and a mercenary heart, always looking for a pull quote I can use.

That’s not to say I don’t care what people think of my books. I care deeply. Too much, in fact. All authors do. But we live in a time when anyone can judge anything for any reason. It doesn’t pay to take it all to heart.

But why take my word for it, when you can hear from actual famous people instead?

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4 Responses to Judge Dread

  1. Hi, Chris,
    Great post, and great links. I look for other books with one-star ratings to cheer myself up, too. Very helpful to know that Moby Dick, the works of Stephen King and my mysteries have the same idiot reviewer in common! Congrats on the launch of the new book. Here’s hoping you find lots of five-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon . . . if you should happen to give in to temptation and go look.

  2. Lea Wait says:

    Looking forward to reading your newest! And – yes – reviews give us some of the highest – and lowest – moments as authors!

  3. MCWriTers says:

    You’re on a roll, Chris, and it looks like you’ve found all the right ways to deal with the bad stuff…hiding under desk, strong drink, and a sense of humor.

    Very excited for your launch (are you not having a party outside your head?) and I think you are going to the show this time (thank you, Bull Durham) and your friends will be beaming with pleasure. Strangely, despite the violence of the stuff we write, crime writers tend to be a very supportive bunch.


  4. Chris Holm says:

    Thanks, all!

    Kathy, my wife once pointed out that someone who’d written a scathing two-star review of one of my earlier books also gave two stars to Romeo and Juliet, and The Diary of Anne Frank. What kind of monster gives the diary of a young girl who died in the Holocaust two stars?!

    And Kate, I’ve nothing local planned yet, but I’m sure I’ll schedule some events around Portland shortly. But Murder by the Book in Bar Harbor is a few days after my release, so perhaps we’ll toast then.

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