Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Blog Features

Hello, everyone! Once again, thanks for reading my blog, for commenting, for emailing, and, well, for just showing me a little bit of attention! Isn't that really what all writers want--besides money, and maybe expressing some thoughts and themes so we can sleep?

Anyway, there are a few new tidbits to the blog, so here we go:

--I've been reviewing books for a long time now, both here and at Goodreads. I also review short stories and short story collections, so if you write those, please feel free to send one along for review. Writers, agents and publicists have been sending me emails--through this blog and through the Horror Writers Association--to review their books for years. At least 75% of the time I accept the book for review (in fact, I say Yes a great percentage of the time), but sometimes I can't.  There are reasons for this:

1. If I'm swamped at work (which I always am, but some swampings are more bearable than others), I sometimes feel that I can't guarantee a punctual review post. If the writer / agent / publicist asks for a quick turnaround, I often cannot oblige. This is only fair to them. Sometimes they say for me to take my time, that a positive review will benefit them even a week or two after the release--but sometimes they don't. If it's a demand I feel I can't definitely honor, I say No.

2. At my job, I have to read and write a lot, so I often don't have any words left in the tank for anyone else, especially if I'm neglecting my own writing as well. So, again, if time is an issue for the writer / agent / publicist or for me, I have to decline.

3. Though I much prefer physical copies, I sometimes accept an e-book for review. But, because of all the computer screen time I put in for my job, and for my own writing (especially the business side of it), I sometimes insist that I recieve a printed copy to review. If this is not possible, I sometimes have to decline. This is especially true on those days when my screen seems brighter than I know it to be--like right now. That's eye strain, which leads to headaches, and...Please, everyone: Send physical copies if you can.

4. Physical copies are also great because I tend to give them away (when permitted) to blog readers, or to someone at my job, etc. So the word of mouth is better with printed copies. Because of copyright laws, internet and email courtesy, etc., I always delete the e-book after I've reviewed it, so I can't pass it along.

5. If the book in question is not appropriate for whatever reason, I have to decline. One of those reasons, besides the obvious of content, is if the book is a in a genre I simply never read. This is only fair to the writer, as I won't be able to give a quality review. Examples of genres I never read include Romance and Westerns. I'm iffy about sci-fi and fantasy, but I've read LotR and Game of Thrones, and I like sci-fi movies--movies by Ridley Scott, or those based on stories by Philip K. Dick, like Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall (the original, of course), etc.

6. Some self-published authors are professional authors, but most are not. I say Yes to authors who have been published by the major houses in the past, and who are now doing it on their own. Their quality of writing hasn't changed; they've just decided that the economics are better for them if they take charge of their own publishing. (Steven Pressfield, who wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance and Turning Pro, is an example.) I also say Yes to professional authors who have always self-published, but whom have a track record of quality writing and / or sales. But most self-published authors simply don't fit either category. I know, because I've reviewed a great many God-awful books that were beyond amateurish. If I feel that there is no way at all that I could give a positive review--or say anything positive at all--I decline.

Having said all that, I actually say Yes at least 75% of the time, so please consider me for a book review if you (or your writer) fit the criteria above. Please send me an email (off to the side of this blog somewhere) or send it to me at NetGalley--or, better yet, sending it to me at NetGalley and then send me an email saying you've done so! And I think only once in my reviewing career did I publish a scathing review--and that's because I was working for a website at the time, and I was told to review the work no matter what. So I did. Yikes! Frankly, I weed out requests of books that I feel I'd slam, so when I agree to review a book, I'm basically saying I'll almost definitely say something very favorable. If I can't, I simply don't post the review at all. (This is common amongst most bloggers.)

So, please read some of the book reviews posted here, and if you feel like sending one along to me, please do so. Thanks! And, again, as always, thanks for reading!

P.S.--As you can see on the right of the blog, I'm available for book review tours. Also, I moved my Blogger Friends icon up to the top, and I've offered an option for you to recieve new posts in your email (Don't know why I never had that before here), so please join up! I also put the NetGalley icon at the very top for your book- or story-sending convenience.

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