Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cover to Cover

I love appearing in Entertainment Weekly. I am a complete pop culture junkie, and of course EW is the bible for those of us into such things. So to be in it is enough to induce pants-wetting.

The first time I appeared in EW was in 2003's Fall TV Preview issue. Alicia Silverstone was on the cover and my novel Last Summer was reviewed. They gave it a B- and summed it up thusly:

"Though Ford's story veers toward the boilerplate, his middle-brow prose is a winner, landing somewhere between Jacqueline Susann's over-the-top opuses and Sidney Sheldon's addictive reads."

Now, I could have chosen to be a little bit stung by that assessment. Thankfully, I am eternally optimistic and radiantly cheerful and refuse to be stung by anything, and so I took it as a compliment. And as I adore both Jacqueline Susann and Sidney Sheldon, I feel quite content in their company, thank you very much.

My second appearance came in 2007, in the September 07th issue. Jodie Foster was on the cover in connection with her movie The Brave One and my novel Changing Tides was featured in a piece about gay-themed novels featuring real-life historical figures. (Changing Tides is in part about a man researching a possible romantic connection between writer John Steinbeck and his best friend, marine biologist Ed Ricketts.)

This time I received a grade of B and had my book referred to as "an unusually literate beach read." This was almost as thrilling as the comparison to Susann and Sheldon. In American book review terminology "beach read" translates to "book people actually read instead of just pretending to read because it makes them seem smart." Just between us, I don't care if my books end up on the list of Great American Novels. All I care about is that people like to read them.

By the way, Foster's The Brave One received a grade of C+, so clearly I should have been on the cover instead of her. I'm just saying. You don't get to be valedictorian with a 2.9 when someone else has a 3.2.

Now I am in Entertainment Weekly for the third time. Chris Noth and Julianna Margulies are on the cover and I am once again in the book section.

No, it is not a review of my latest, Jane Bites Back. But it's equally thrilling. Maybe even more thrilling. It's a list of current bestselling horror novels. And there I am at #9. Well, there JBB is.

It's enormously gratifying to see your book on a bestseller list with a number next to it. It almost doesn't matter what that number is, although much as it is with condominium placement, the higher the floor is, the better the view. But I'm happy just to have the condo and not be sleeping on someone's couch.

I will admit that I was a little depressed when Entertainment Weekly didn't review Jane Bites Back, especially after they didn't review my other recent novels What We Remember and Suicide Notes, both of which received excellent reviews everywhere else. As I seem to progress a letter grade with each EW review, I think it's reasonable to say that I would have received a B+ for WWR and an A- for SN. That would have made JBB ripe for an A.

But no. I was denied.

I know Entertainment Weekly has cut way back on their books coverage and have room only for people who either already sell a gazillion copies or are so literary that they reek of National Book Award nominations (and therefore need all the help they can get with sales), but still. They could have made room.

Not that I'm bitter. Okay, I'm a little bitter. But just a little. And this mostly makes up for it.

Now if they would just put me on the cover I could forgive them and we could move on.


Eric Arvin said...

Yaaaay!! That's huge!

Kathleen Bradean said...

Mister Slaughter better watch out.

Congrats. (You get the whole word spelled out when you get the cover)

Robrt Pela said...

The only thing nicer than Chris Noth's forearm (the only part of him I like, by the way) on the cover of EW would have been your lovely face. I do wish that critics and others would stop referring to JANE BITES BACK as a mash-up, but who am I?


Anonymous said...

You're officially listed.