Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wannabes Talk About Craft. Writers Talk About Money.

Seeing a lot of queries of novels and biographies set in Alaska right now. You can probably guess why that is.

So it seems that if you want a lot of free books, all you have to do is set up a blog saying you're going to review books and people will send you books. You can even specify genres. Then you don't even have to review the books, or just claim you're really busy and have a long list and the publisher will act all not surprised.

My publicist and I have been working together to send more and more copies to more and more blogs. Sometimes this involves me sending the book myself so it's signed, and then the publisher reimbursing me with new books (but not cash for having spent money on postage, of course). Trying to get paid is like trying to get blood from a stone - that is, if you're not Penn and Teller. Even though my second book is due on the 15th of November and the third due Jan 1st, neither have a signed contract (just a draft of one). If we signed, they would have to pay. I expect they'll drag it out until I threaten not to submit the book or something. I also found out that they pay royalties twice a year, so I won't be seeing my royalties from my first book (which have no exceeded my advance several times over, something I would be more proud of if my advance wasn't tiny) until April 2009.

I'm not whining - I love being published - but it's something you can expect when you're published. Like that famous New York Times Book Review article, "Publish or Perish." Someone in my grad program had it on her office door. Anyone have a scan of that hilarious article?


Steph said...

Are you sending to newbie sites with absolutely no reviews? Maybe try more established blogs? It's true that we get books from publishers though. I have a book blog myself and while I do request a lot of stuff, I've reviewed a lot of it and fully plan on reviewing the rest. Some blogs say upfront they don't review all they receive.

Personally, I think it's not classy at all to not review a book when you said you would. I live abroad, and I know a couple of other bloggers do too, and some publishers never send out. Makes you wonder, should they not be wasting money on non-reviews, if they would send to us, too.


The Rejecter said...

Actually, most of my ARCs were sent to major media outlets, none of which reviewed my book. The bloggers have been much better about paying attention to a new author.

Unknown said...

>>Like that famous New York Times Book Review article, "Publish or Perish." Anyone have a scan of that hilarious article?

I did a search on the NYT site and a number of articles came up under "Publish or Perish". Perhaps you mean this one?

In case you can't open it, I posted it in my own blog, here:

Hope that helps.

Liz Hill said...

Is this the publish or perish article you mean?

Anonymous said...

I'm not whining - I love being published - but it's something you can expect when you're published.

Hi, Rejecter. I surfed over from Sentence Sleuth.

No offense, but when I saw your use of hyphens, I thought of this SS post on hyphens vs. em dashes:

Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to read and review. I'm a newbie, I won't lie, but I'm fairly well-connected--I go to a Great Books school, and we're all readers here.

Good luck, Rejecter. If there's anything I can do, let me know.

(You can email me at

none said...

It's surprisingly difficult to get one's reviewers to knuckle down and produce the goods. Most of them are better at reading the book than at reviewing it, though.

Not that that helps.

I send increasingly pitiful cries for reviews through the staff list, which usually motivates someone eventually....

The Rejecter said...

Liz Hill and Storm Grant,

That's the one, thanks!


Sorry. I hate to turn down an offer, but there's the whole anonymous blogger thing going on.

cindy said...

are you kidding me with those book deadlines?? *faints*

Hope said...

"Wannabes Talk About Craft. Writers Talk About Money."

Heck yeah.

It's the difference between hobbyists and lifers. Anyone can fill notebooks with good (and bad) prose, but it takes a real writer to market it!

Though, I must admit, I'd love to be in your current quandary ;)

Mimzy said...

Hmmm, lots of books about Alaska you say? Well, it's obvious that this is due to people being once again taken in by the wonder of our most suicide inspiring state. The frozen tundra! The months of no sun! The ratio of men to women being 114 to 100! Yes, it is a glorious state and people wish to express their joy in realizing that it is not actually part of Canada. (Or Russia.)

Yes, that must be it.

Anonymous said...

Is it all worth it? When it's all said and done, what do you consider a win?


Anonymous said...

I don't review books on my blog, but I post guest essays on most Thrusdays about the writing life and promote books that way. You're welcome to send me an essay, which I would run without alluding to your anonymous blog.

Anonymous said...

Okay, good luck! I hope you find some way to get better publicity.

Kristi Holl said...

Did I understand you right? You have book deadlines with no contract signed? How could that happen? All my book deadlines are written in my contracts--nowhere else that I can think of. Unless I totally misunderstood, you're not being treated well.
Kristi Holl
Writer's First Aid blog

The Rejecter said...

The book deadlines are based on when they want to publish them (Fall 2009) so they need the time for editing. The non-signing of the contract is because they're lazy and don't want to pay me, and they have to pay me if we sign the contract. We agreed on all the terms and they sent the contract, but my agent found a ton of mistakes (which is why I have an agent) and sent it back.