PW Weighs In on Dying Is My Business

When I decided to use this blog to track the journey of Dying Is My Business toward publication for all you budding writers and other interested folks out there, I promised to detail the good and the bad. Today, the developments are on the bad side. Publishers Weekly, one of the book business’s major trade publications, has released the first pre-publication review of the novel, and it isn’t exactly complimentary:

Dying Is My Business
Nicholas Kaufmann. St. Martin’s Griffin, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-03610-0

Kaufmann’s kickoff to a new urban fantasy series set in New York City aims high but falls short. The man known only as Trent, who had been an ordinary burglar working for a crime boss, is now something very different, having somehow come back from the dead nine times. Sent to Hell’s Kitchen to recover a mysterious box, Trent finds a woman fending off six things with wings that he soon learns are gargoyles, the first of many supernatural beings he encounters. Some of the flatly delivered dialogue is unintentionally humorous (“I don’t know who I am, or what I am. After today, I don’t know what I’m becoming…. All I know is that it could be bad”), and the key story elements—Trent discovering that he has additional powers, the race to ward off an apocalyptic threat—are more familiar than interesting. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Oct.)

Now, the last time Publishers Weekly gave me a bad review it was for Chasing the Dragon, which went on to be nominated for two major literary awards and rack up dozens of five-star raves, so I’m not too concerned. Still, a positive review is always more welcome than a negative one, so I’m a little bummed. For whatever reason, PW just doesn’t seem to like my stuff. I have to accept that and not let it trip me up.

And of course I can always console myself with this list of amazing advance blurbs from nine awesome authors!

Having a thick skin is an important part of this crazy business. It’s so easy to be discouraged by any little thing, and a bad review can be doubly discouraging because it can feel like if one reviewer doesn’t like it, nobody will like it. Plus, every writer I know already suffers from the Impostor Syndrome. A bad review can validate that particular neurosis and make an author say to him- or herself, “See? It was only a matter of time before everyone realized I’m a fraud.” But bad reviews are part of the business. All any writer worth his or her salt can do is soldier on. Because if writing is what you want to do, what other choice is there?



News & Updates

  • 07/18/2018 — Brand New Blurb for 100 FATHOMS BELOW!Check out this awesome new blurb for 100 Fathoms Below! “Full of claustrophobic horror, Cold War submarine warfare, and hardcore evil, 100 Fathoms Below creates a powerful sense of place and a tension that festers in your gut throughout.…Read more »
  • 07/17/2018 — My Necon 38 ScheduleNecon 38 is coming up this weekend! Necon is my favorite annual convention.…Read more »
  • 07/17/2018 — Mine!Mine!: A Comics Collection to Benefit Planned Parenthood by Molly Jackson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A great collection of short comics in support of a great cause!…Read more »
  • 07/07/2018 — The TerrorThe Terror by Dan Simmons My rating: 5 of 5 stars A masterpiece of historical fiction and supernatural horror, Dan Simmons’s THE TERROR is a novel that requires your patience.…Read more »
  • 06/26/2018 — My Readercon 29 ScheduleReadercon 29 is just a few weeks away! I have received my programming schedule, so here’s where you can find me over the course of the convention: Friday, July 13th (yikes!) Kaffeeklatsch, 11:00 AM, Seven Masts Come join me for some morning coffee and a lively discussion about my books, the writing class I will be teaching for LitReactor in the fall, lessons from my career, and the usual selection of bad jokes!…Read more »