OMG a Real Book Review

on April 8, 2012 in Misc

Okay, my heart is slowing down to normal and I’m trying to breathe again.

See, this evening I discovered whilst Googling that The Compass Master made the Publishers Weekly cut for a review in their quarterly supplement for self-published writers.

Let me explain.

PW has this program in which self-published authors can pay to have their fiction or non-fiction books listed in the supplement — the title, author’s name and a descriptive sentence.  It isn’t cheap, but last December I took the plunge.  Out of all these submissions that are then subsequently listed, PW has in the past picked about 25  to review.  This time they picked twice as many.  And guess what?

I made the cut.  My novel actually “merited a review.”

Of course I had HOPED that PW would not only review The Compass Master but give it a rave.  Well, there was no rave, but considering that PW can be brutal (I’m not exaggerating) in some reviews, I’m kinda lucky, ’cause the reviewer SEEMED to like my novel.


On the website index page for PW Select is the following announcement:

Here’s our complete Spring 2012 PW Select supplement, with reviews, features and listings of new self-published books.

PW Select April 2012: A Growing Chorus of Voices in DIY Publishing
This sixth PW Select quarterly—our first was in Dec. 2010—is our most robust: the most submitted titles and the most (52) that merited a review in our editors’ estimations. Among the highlights in fiction: a “confident debut” by Peter Christian Hall; Helen Soister’s Dan Brown–worthy thriller; a charming whodunit by Robin Lamont; and a winning portrait of the pre-AIDS gay community by Jeffrey Sharlach. In nonfiction, Stacy Dymalski’s “laugh-out-loud funny” mom memoir; and the enterprising Matt Ivester’s lol…OMG!, a guide to digital citizenship.


Yeah I know — they misspelled my name (it’s HELENA, people).  But they actually singled out The Compass Master as in “Helen Soister’s Dan Brown-worthy thriller.”


The trouble is, I found this page a couple hours AFTER I’d found the page for my review, and like I said it only seems to give some faint praise, so I’ve had mixed emotions all evening.  Don’t know if I’m allowed to post the whole thing, so if you’re curious you can look it up on PW by typing in my book title in their search window.  But here are the first and last sentences — the rest of the review is just a summary of the plot set-up.

Dan Brown fans looking for similar fare could do worse than this overlong religious thriller from Soister.

The frenetic action sequences are familiar, but unlike many Da Vinci Code wannabes, the internal logic holds together.

At least my book is better than the wannabes.  And a reader could do worse.  Yeah, really backhanded compliments.  Honestly, I feel better about being singled out on the index page.

But “Dan Brown-worthy thriller” … That’s my new mantra.  I am worthy.

If you wanna see the index page, here’s the link.

Okay, enough of these mixed feelings.  I’m going to bed.

Good night, all.  And may your own book reviews be unqualified raves.

12 Responses to “OMG a Real Book Review”

  1. Hart says:

    Oh, this is FABULOUS! Congratulations! You did it!!!

  2. That’s awesome. To get a Publisher’s Weekly Review is so exciting! Yay! *throws confetti and does the happy dance with you :))

  3. Helena says:

    Hart — Thank you, naked sweetie.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael — Unless it’s a stinker! But this one was okay. I’m dancing with you.

  5. Congratulations! Wish the one my publisher scored from Publishers Weekly was as good.

  6. Helena says:

    Alex – Really, my review just squeaked by. It was being singled out in the front of the list that matters to me. And hey, you’re the one with the bestseller!

  7. George says:

    The error has been corrected once the cache clears. Good luck with the book! est, George

  8. Robert L. Read says:

    Great work, Helen(a). Well-deserved! Maybe this will be the beginning of more reviews and a much wider readership.

  9. Helena says:

    Robert — Thanks, darlin’. I also now have to get off my tush and promote TCM, which I really haven’t done at all.

  10. Helena says:

    George – Thank you! Wow, you PW people are efficient.

  11. Ciara Knight says:

    I’m So EXCITED!!! I get to visit your blog today. I’m staying in a hotel for RT and it allowed me to access your blog, and what a day to visit! Wow, Dan Brown worthy thriller? Oh, Helena, that is something to be proud of!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!

  12. Helena says:

    Ciara — Thank you so much. Of course that was just the intro and the review wasn’t so glowing. But hey, I’m happy to get that much.