Monday, March 27, 2006

Literary Market Place and Its Readers (Or Lack Thereof)

So today I'm on my lunch break, going through the foot-high stack of mail that piled up while I was at PLA last week. Of course, I open up the packages first. Three of them are addressed to me as Historical Novels Review editor. Today's take includes: three nice-looking paperbacks from a legit fantasy/gaming publisher; a self-published legal thriller; and a self-published Christian SF novel personally inscribed by the author to "Sarah Johnston." Into the book sale pile they go, unless anyone reading this happens to be interested in fantasy/RPG novels (email me for the titles if so) or either of the other two (doubtful).

This is pretty common. Most review copies arrive at my home address, but when I went to the trouble of listing HNR in Literary Market Place a few years ago, I included my work address, phone, and email. Sometimes I do get phone calls - and very odd ones at that - but I'll save that for another time. But out of all the review copies that have shown up at the library over the years, exactly one of them has been relevant to HNR and suitable for review. (And that one didn't get such a hot review, so maybe the publisher is sorry they bothered.) Don't get me wrong, I think LMP is a great reference source, and it's even published by Information Today, who published my first book. Too bad its users don't know how to read. Otherwise why would they send this random stuff to a historical fiction review journal? These are packages sent Priority Mail and hand-addressed, too. I hope there'll be more interesting packages waiting for me at home today - books I can actually do something with.


  1. Very interesting and ironic - people who WRITE not bothering to READ and follow instructions. Sheesh. And a shame they're wasting their hard-earned money by using Priority Post!

    Fingers crossed for good books at home :-)

  2. Funny, I did find a review book when I got home. A finished copy of a novel already out for review - one you know well, in fact. I like when publishers do this because it saves me the trouble of verifying quotes, although I don't think it'll apply in this case. I still have a bunch of quotes to double check next time I'm at Borders.