...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

A Reviewer's Advice to Authors
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So for the second time in recent days, I receive an eamil forwarded to me by my editor Linda. Mind you, it was courteous and appropriate, from an author asking Linda if she/we/the publicatoin was interested in reviewing the author's book.

Believe me, I think that's brave and I've said so before; putting your work out there is a very cool thing. But what I don't get - and it's not just the authors who write to Linda mind you, but I see these emails fairly often, when any editor forwards one - is why the author won't provide information on the book IN THE EMAIL. Too many of these emails are coming in that say "see my website for information on the book". And I don't think that's right.

Don't make me go to some website to find your book, whether it's the publisher's website or your own. Why would you think I want to wade through - and sometimes it's a lot of wading - ads and pictures and quotes and bios and who knows what else to find out if this book is one I should review? Not everyone, even if we reivew in on-line publications, is totally comfortalbe on the web. Not everyone has the time or inclincation to read what's posted on the web. Hey, I'm thrilled to bits you folks are reading THIS but I don't expect it. If I have real news, I don't post it here; or rather I do, but I also send email, or make phone calls.

Our computer is aging and not well; we have problems all the time with web pages that won't load, and we can't do much about it until we upgrade. So upgrade, sure right, what's the problem? Well, the problem is 1) having the money to do so and 2) the ability and itme to get it done. Yeah, I have time but I can't sit here for a long time and do stuff. It's one of several rasons I don't read short stories on line; I can't do so comfortably. My time here is metered out, lots of short trips a day, and since we are currently still dealing with dial-up, going to somebody's website to read about their book is NOT how I want to spend my time.

No one knows whether I have the world's fastest or slowest computer. People may know I have back problems and such, but no one who's asking for a review knows it, if they're strangers to me. But that's not the point; no one should have to work extra to get the information. If you want someone to review your book, tell them what the book is about when you write them an email. If you aren't sure if they know, a paragraph can't hurt. If they've reviewed you before, heck, even just "this is the fourth book in the series" is useful information. Don't tell them to "see my website" for a description.

And if you want a review, I'd add to that this rule as well: don't tell me it's gotten good reviews elsewhere. For one thing, some reviewers MIGHT read that as "well, in that case, why do you need me?" I don't think that way, but I can see why someone would. And telling me it was praised somewhere? I don't care, not if you want me to review it. I get copies of reviews with books a lot - sometimes from authors, sometimes from publishers and publicists, and I don't GET that. Maybe if it's a review of previous book, okay, although I try not to read those either because I'm concerned how they'd influence the way I look at the book I have in my hand. I want to come to a book fresh, even if I have read the previous 25 in the series. Reading someone else's review does not help. Period.

And by the way, I said this nicely to the person inquiring and to his total credit, he replied right away with information. But next time, let's hope I don't have to ask.

Reviewing, compared to writing the book, is easy. But writing a review IS work so don't make the reviewer's life harder. Say what the book's about IN the email. Sure, put your web address there, so if they want to, they can look you up. But don't be lazy and say "if you want to know, go look." Okay?

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