State of the Blog on Thanksgiving (and Beta Reading)

I started this blog nearly two years ago. There were a few things I expected might happen with time. I figured publishers might start sending me books. I figured people might start reading me if I made any sense. And I even figured I might gain some measure of internet celebrity (I can’t be right all the time, can I?). Even still, it’s been a pretty successful endeavor.

Last night, I received a copy of Francis Knight’s forthcoming debut, Fade to Black. It really solidified how fun this can be. Wrapped in black glossy bubble wrap and then inscribed tissue paper, Orbit Books announced Knight’s novel with panache. It screams, ‘this is going to be a huge book in 2013, don’t miss it.’


I retain the right to tell Orbit they’re full of shit if it isn’t any good, but I’ll be damned if I’m not eagerly anticipating cracking it open after I finish the short stack next to my bed (for the curious, The Red Knight by Miles Cameron, Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky, The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones). Every time a book shows up it’s a mini-Christmas, reminding me what a privilege and blast it is to write this blog.

None of it works if people don’t continue reading me. In spite of several black marks, including a massive restructuring of the site and a woeful rate of posting since August of this year, my readership has never been better. 500 readers? Are you kidding me? I never imagined I’d get there. Let’s cut to the chase though, when will I get to 1,000? Help me out here. I can’t let Aidan Moher’s cover posts trump the kind of quality content I produce!

Staffer’s Book Review remains a work in progress and I can’t thank everyone enough for their patience. 2012 was an election year and my day job is politics. Do the math. Thankfully, things are settling, although I probably won’t be ‘back to normal’ until after the New Year.

While having people read me has been rewarding, the most unexpected pleasure came when I got an e-mail from an author I’d reviewed asking me to read a work in progress. When it rains and it pours, and over the last six months I’ve been asked to read no fewer than six manuscripts from six different authors, a few of which I’ve read multiple times through different drafts. Who knew I had any idea what I was talking about? (This is not, by the way, an admission of any competence on my part.)

Recognizing my involvement in the process precludes me from reviewing these books, it’s been a great experience. I’ve gleaned some of the different creative processes that authors use. I’ve seen how fiction evolves. I’m sure that if I ever buckle down and write something of my own it’ll all be wonderfully valuable. In the meantime, it’s just fun.

I write this not to pat my own back — although come on, it is pretty cool — and more as an appreciation for this blog, and the community that surrounds it. It’s a few days after Thanksgiving, and I wish I’d had the time to write this before the holiday. I’m thankful for this blog. Even more, I’m thankful that people have taken the time to read what I’m writing. Staffer’s Book Review has become a significant part of my life. It’s an outlet for a lot of things, but not the least of which is having a discussion with like minded people about the things I love.

So, thanks. Again.

Written by justin


Justin is the Overlord of Staffer’s Book Review. When he’s not writing things of dubious value to the world, he’s at the gym or being a dad. You can follow him on a multitude of social media, which is strongly suggested lest you miss out on vital information that could someday save your life.