Getting a review from the Infamous Scribbler…

As most of the readers of this blog are aware (all three of you…), I often post reviews and author interviews, here and on Medium (if you happen to be writing as a member of the military or military-affiliated community). I like doing this because a., free books, and b., I like doing it. I am an author for two small presses, and a member of a number of groups of authors of like-minded backgrounds (enjoy writing spec fic or are military veterans), and so I usually go ahead and see if anyone has something new they’d like me to spotlight. That pretty much fills my review/interview quotient.

On the rare occasion, however, someone will reach out to me via Goodreads, or LinkedIn, or even Amazon, and offer me the chance to read their book for a review or interview. I don’t mind this at all, as it gives me a chance to meet new authors and check out their stuff. And, let’s face it, it provides me with content when things are slow (or a chance to procrastinate if I should be writing.) Some authors, or future authors, may be reading this blog post to find out what they need to do to get me to review their book, so here it is, broken down…

  1. Do your research. See if there is anything in my multitude of public information online that resonates with anything in your book, and then tell me that. For example, are you a military veteran? Do you write steampunk? Did we go to college together? Did I favorably review a book that is in the same genre as yours?
  2. Be concise. When emailing (and this is the best way to reach me for this particular matter), give me your pitch/logline, explain why you think I’d be interested, and then offer me a copy in whatever formats you have. If I’m interested, I’ll let you know. If I’m not, I’ll also let you know.
  3. If I’m not interested, please don’t email me back trying to convince me that I’m interested. I know what I’m about. Typically, I will say no if a., the premise just doesn’t sound interesting, b., I don’t have the time, c., I’m deep in the bowels of my own projects. I already have a To-Be-Read list of over 200 books, and if your book doesn’t grab my attention enough to jump to the top ten or twenty, then I would be rude to promise something that is likely not going to happen.
  4. Have an online presence. If I’m going to do an interview (and most of the books I accept, I do so with the intention of doing one), I am going to do a moderate amount of online stalking. At the very least, have an Amazon or Goodreads author page with a bio, author photo, list of publications. At best, have a full Web site with an online media kit. Have something I can sink my teeth into without having to turn Internet detective. If I can’t find this, it makes it more difficult for me to craft thoughtful questions, and I hate doing more work than I have to.

EDIT/UPDATE:

I was perusing Twitter today, and an author mentioned that bloggers who do reviews would be helpful if they mentioned whether or not they were interested in stories from diverse authors. I know that publishing outlets still consider stories with persons of color and LGBTQ+ characters to need their own subcategories and different spaces, but this space is for stories of all shapes and sizes, so if you are wondering whether you should send your SF story here, even though A,B,C, feel free to hit me up.

EDIT COMPLETE.

I hesitate to speak for other online reviewers, and so I don’t know if all of them prefer these guidelines, but I can say that if you are interested in striking up a conversation with me, and getting me interested in reading your book and doing an interview or review, this is the way. I need to get back to writing words for a project, and not for a blog, but if you’d like to send me something, email me at infamous_scribbler ~at~ yahoo, or fill out this handy Google form, and let me know what you’ve got.

Happy writing!

Getting over the ringtone…

This is an odd confession for a journalist to make, even a freelance one (which means that currently only half the projects I’m working on actually pay me), but I hate talking on the phone. Currently, I’m procrastinating from picking up my otherwise innocuous brick of a smartphone, finding a number in my “recently dialed” list, and calling to do the last interview that I need before sitting down to write another article for CityView.

Going in person to meet someone actually bothers me less than that first phone call to set up the appointment. Even with people with whom I am good friends, I find less stress involved in texting, messaging, or Skyping. Perhaps it is because I can actually see the person – or have the extra time in texting to think about what they have said and craft my response. Perhaps it is a function of being a highly socialized introvert that I would rather expend all the social energy – or none at all – but find it some kind of annoying halfway marker to have only the vocals and none of the visuals.

Or perhaps it is a holdover from my early experience working in an office. I used to actually get the sweats when I had to make a business call. I would find every way to procrastinate calling, including waiting for them to call me or, later on, see if an Internet search engine could help me out. (And, for perspective, these were the days of Netscape and Altavista and that search engine with the dog in the commercial… And wow, I just had to Google those because I drew a big old techno-blank right in my head.)

Eventually, though, I forced myself to get on the phone and get used to it, if not entirely comfortable. Nowadays, I give myself little opportunities to procrastinate, say, by writing a blog post. Or, I use email to set up a time for the phone call which, if not completely calming my nerves, at least gives me a deadline to get over it.

As I now see that we are heading to 2 pm, and I need to get this interview done so I can move on with the day, I’m going to sign off. Be back soon with more interviews and procrastination confessions!

Best Puppy Pals

My blog post … with dogs! Kind of like that search engine…

Wrap up and coming attractions…

The Cold Run book tour and giveaway is winding down, although if you haven’t had a chance to enter, don’t worry. We will be hosting another one very soon to celebrate the print release of the book. It’s been a lot of fun and I learned a lot as well, just as I did with the launch of Soft Target. I’m hoping at some point to put together all the lessons learned into a full blog post, for future reference. In the meantime, I’ve started forward movement on the first draft of Steel-Toed Blues, which has been languishing, waiting for me to be able to concentrate some serious time on it.

In addition to the articles I’m currently working on for Task & Purpose, I have a few upcoming blog articles that I’m pretty excited about.

First up will be a two-part piece for the anthology, Accessing the Future, currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. They’ve got 22 days left to raise about $1,200 for an anthology that explores “disability & the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and sexuality.” For the first part, I have an interview with the coeditors, Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad. The second part will be a contribution to a larger blog tour, where writers turn the lens of the anthology on their own works in progress. I suggest heading over to the Indiegogo campaign site to learn more, and possibly drop them a few bucks.

Next up, I have Connie Wilson, who was featured last year in a Conversation. Her book, Northern Lights: Part One, releases September 13 (currently available for pre-order), followed by Glow Stick on October 4th. I’ve got an interview, and will have links to the books and some other fun things.

Also in the next week or two (I’m still working on getting organized enough to have a publishing schedule), I will have an interview/review combo for Queen Mother, a book by Angela Norton Tyler. This is an interesting story in that I’ve been joining groups on Goodreads that do read and reviews, in order to see where I can find material for my own blog, as well as places to potentially find readers/reviewers for my books. Angela was featured author of the week on one of these groups, and sent me a copy of her book to read and review. It wasn’t a book I would have found on my own, but one I ended up enjoying very much. Which makes these groups somewhat the Internet equivalent of browsing your favorite section in your local bookstore.

Anyway, that’s what I have coming up. Lot’s of stuff to keep me busy and not bored. Just the way I like it.

Peace!