Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy in the Hands of First Readers

The galleys are here! This is a picture of my copy. As you can see, it says, “Advance Reading Copy / Not for Sale.” This is a cheaply produced paperback that goes out to initial readers about six months before the hardcover is on sale in bookstores. (The publication date is August 21.) On the back, it also explains that this is uncorrected proof, which means it hasn’t gone through the final round of edits. Sometimes significant changes can occur. For instance, I rewrote the last two sentences of the book. Elsewhere I mostly made corrections. I try not to think of the errors readers will encounter here, but hopefully they will be understanding.


So who gets these galleys? I sent my publicist a list of about twenty people I have met (mostly online) who review books or write blogs and who asked me to have a copy sent to them. I’m hopeful that many of those who receive a copy will write about it and help spread the word around publication time. My publisher is also sending copies to editors at women’s magazines, book review editors at major papers and magazines, and well known writers who might be interested in blurbing the book. Blurbs are the lovely quotes from famous people that are printed on the back of a book.

Although galleys were just sent out, my first blurb came back over the weekend. It’s from best-selling novelist Ann Hood, who is also the author of the recent memoir Morningstar: Growing Up with Books and The Book That Matters Most. After reading Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, she sent the following to my editor:

“I first read LITTLE WOMEN in 1963, when I was seven years old. I started to call my mother Marmee and to force my younger cousins to perform in plays that I wrote. And of course my hero became Jo March. In subsequent readings over the years, my love for the novel has only grown and deepened. Reading Anne Boyd Rioux’s engaging MEG JO BETH AMY: The story of LITTLE WOMEN and why it matters, has made me pick up the book yet again with renewed insight and inspiration. Every fan of LITTLE WOMEN will delight in reading this. And all the women—and men—who haven’t read the novel will race to it after reading Rioux.”

I am grateful to Ann Hood for taking the time to read my book and respond to it. Authors do a tremendous service when they blurb each other’s books, helping to introduce them to potential readers and vouching for the reading experience they will have. I owe a great debt to all of the amazing authors who blurbed Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist. I hope I have the opportunity to pay it forward someday.

If you’d like to learn more about Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, you can head on over to the book page on my website. And you can subscribe to my newsletter, “The Bluestocking Bulletin,” to follow the publication process and learn more about women writers who have hidden from history.



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