So the great Olives review freebie coupon has run out. Nothing remains to be done save wait for the reviews.
Book reviews are a wonderful thing. They're a little like book club meetings, I find, in that you get to experience other peoples' perspective on your writing. They're obviously less interactive, which is sometimes a shame as you find some point or another in a review where you want to say, 'Sure, but if you take this and that into account, surely that thing makes sense?'.
I recognise I have been extremely fortunate in the reviews Olives has gained so far (a sample are given here) and cannot help but be proud of the book's Amazon and GoodReads average ratings above four stars. All the book's reviews have been positive apart from one early review that was a 100% stinker. That review did me a favour, in fact and toughened my hide nicely. Fortunately, it was a lone, bile-flecked voice snarling in the wilderness.
So what's not to like in Olives? As we've seen, some commentators have been a tad sniffy about the booze and sex content, which has rather amused me as I've been hooning around the Middle East long enough to be confident in my portrayal of a sophisticated Abdoun family. A lot of people haven't liked Paul, but that's fine as you were never really supposed to. As I said to Time Out Beiirut's Mackenzie Lewis: "Poor Paul isn't much of a hero - he's the bit of us we'd all rather wasn't there'.
This coming round of reviews will be interesting, though, as most of the reviewers aren't Middle East based and likely will have no affinity for the region. So quite what they make of it all is something I am more than keen to find out.
Their opinions are important - today's readers are guided strongly by word of mouth and shared opinion. If Olives is going to have a chance of finding a readership outside of the region, it'll need reviews. What the reviewers' opinions are is, of course, entirely up to them.