I think I was insulted a few days ago. I’m not sure, maybe that was the intent. But after I thought about it, I could only feel sorry for the individual who had said it…because she was missing out on a LOT of good reading. You see, I was asked to do a little administrative work by the director of our BookReviewers site--to find one or two additional reviewers. I carefully went through the applicants and had narrowed them down to three. I started to contact them…the first one didn’t respond so I assumed she was no longer interested. The second one said "Yes!" and proceeded to submit further information and a sample review.
I then contacted the third one who had sent a sample review earlier. At first she said she was interested, but indicated she didn’t do POD or vanity books. I quickly wrote back and told her that most of our books to be reviewed were POD. She declined to be considered further, indicating that she just couldn’t do this kind of book.
Okay, I admit it. At first I was irritated, just a little bit offended. Yes, she does reviews of books that were published…but then, so do we. We just don't "refuse" books that were submitted to us by POD authors. I felt like she was implying that we weren’t professional reviewers! Well…Boo Hiss! I say! Admittedly, we do have some books that come to us with errors. We either refuse to review them or work with these authors to have them corrected. We want to support these new authors!
Why should I spend a lot of time reviewing books by James Patterson, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Dean Koontz, Linda Howard, N. Roberts/J.D.Robb, Robert B. Parker…and all the many favorite authors I read all the time? These individuals are great authors and everybody knows it!
I would much rather spend my "review" time with bright new shining stars that are fitting their writing into their busy lives. They are trying to follow their dreams while doing all that needs to be done to keep bread and milk on the table. I can stand to read and mark a few errors to help them move forward in their writing experience. Sometimes I even get to ghostwrite a paragraph or a book closing or a word or two within their books that helps them say what they want to say, just a little bit better.
Having over 40 years of writing experience of one type or another, I take most afternoons and evenings and spend time with my beloved favorite authors. If I wrote a review, what could I say…"Great! As Always!" I do that once in awhile in this blog…ah, but it is so much more fun, more exciting, to be able to say that I was there right at the beginning…I helped make this individual’s first book happen! I let people know that this new author, though lacking a lot of writing experience, has dreamed and believed enough in himself/herself to ensure that they broke into the publishing world…whether through POD, a small press publisher, self-publishing, or even vanity…
I’ve enjoyed lots of great books that I might never have had the opportunity to read had I not agreed to read books that are by these new authors, finding a place for themselves via the new technologies in publishing.
So, to those of you, including the big publishers, who don't have time or don't care to "risk" money on these new authors...well, I can only pity you. If God has given me a talent to read/enjoy books and a skill that allows me to help new authors find their way in the harsh publishing world, then that may indeed be the path He's chosen for me. And, Wow, am I having a lot of fun doing it!