We Get Mail, You Suffer, Or, How Not To Be Reviewed Nor Interviewed

September 5th, 2005 · 5 Comments
by Booksquare

Booksquare has not been in a good mood this week (ask our neighbors, though, in our defense, if you weren’t shouting, you weren’t paying attention), and when we’re unhappy, you’re unhappy. So why not spend some time dissecting mail we received this week? We thought you’d feel that way.

Episode One — Meet The Clueless

In this episode, we receive an interview request. For your reading pleasure, we have reproduced it — almost exactly as received. We trust you’ll figure out what has been changed to protect the innocent:

My name is [Person You’ve Never Heard Of]. I write erotica and erotic romances for [Publisher You’ve Never Heard Of], [Also Publisher You’ve Never Heard Of] and [Another Publisher You’ve Never Heard Of]. [We would also note the lack of the serial comma — honestly, what is this world coming to?] I would like to be interviewed on BookSquare.com [hmm, we don’t normally engage in camel case, but it’s a thought]. If interested, pleae [normally, we overlook typos; this wasn’t the only one in this message] e-mail me back.

Uh, yeah, we’re going to jump right on this. You can see why we’d be intrigued. While the offer is generous, we must engage in a brief cost/benefit analysis:

    Cost: We have to read this writer’s work. Presumably there will be fewer typos, but we cannot be certain of this. And typos/crappy editing really makes us cranky.

    Benefit: None.

    Cost: We, after reading the work, must devise a set of probing questions.

    Benefit: None.

    Cost: We get to proofread and edit the responses.

    Benefit: None.

    Cost: We get to publish and promote this interview.

    Benefit: None. We cannot see how this interview will increase our site traffic.

Math has never been our strong suit (though we do have an odd fondness for algebra; it’s an occupational hazard), but we don’t exactly see why we should bother responding to this email. Especially since we’ve already expended all available energy on this post.

Episode Two — It’s the Geography, Stupid

I am new to this game. Sometime in the near future I will be having my first novel published and I have been told it is time for reviews. I was sent to [website we’ve never heard of], and frankly, picked out you because we both are in California. I am in the Bay Area, San Jose [we are not, and would note that California is a very large state]. My book is a romance novel called, “[Not relevant at this juncture; we can be kind when forced].” I am working with Publish America [we believe this is a typo] and there is yet no cover or release date [very helpful as all reviewers like to review against hypothetical release dates]. Would you be interested in reading and reviewing my book? [followed by a synopsis that is poorly punctuated and confusing]

Again, our response is, “No thank you.”

We rarely offer advice*, but feel it is incumbent upon us to help these poor souls. First, of course, is that a review query should be as professionally written as any other query. This means checking spelling and punctuation. Also, verifying proper names is helpful, though we remain intrigued by the camel case option. As such, we will not deduct points on that matter.

Second, of course, is targeting your request. For example, a regular reader of this site understands how we work. We do review books — and derive great pleasure from the task — but our day-to-day focus is not on the reader experience. It is helpful, before requesting a review, to do your homework. Reviewers, almost without exception, greet poorly researched, off-base requests with joy, if joy can be described as a feeling akin to hearing nails scrape on a chalkboard. If you think you’d be a great interview subject for this or any other site, tell us why.

Also, the most cursory reading of the site will reveal the truth behind Booksquare: we are lazy. Bone-deep lazy. If our lives could be run by servants, we would not object in the least. If you want us to work, heck, if you want us to lift a finger, make it worth our while. Offering the chance for an interview is delightful, but, really, do you have any notion how many offers we receive each day? More than we can delete.

If you want our attention, then offer something that, oh, fits in with the mandate of our site. Perhaps, and this is just a suggestion, you could spend a few moments reading posts. That might offer a few clues. At the very least, don’t put the onus on us. We simply don’t have the time to suss out what makes you special. We have a very long list of authors who we plan to contact because they’ve caught our attention.

Many who contact us get the rules of the game. We generally respond with great enthusiasm in these instances. Sadly, far more think we exist for them. No, we exist for the Booksquare cats. Their well-being drives our business model. Attention spent on this blog is attention not spent on the latest innovations in feline aerodynamics (where they have made great strides recently).

* — Patently untrue.

File Under: Square Pegs

5 responses so far ↓

  • Lorra // Sep 6, 2005 at 6:32 am

    First, – really funny as usual.
    Second – I would think you’d have at least one thing in common with the dolts writing these requests since you claim to be bone-lazy (you’re not – you’re one of the few blogs that actually posts on a regular basis.)

  • Booksquare // Sep 6, 2005 at 5:30 pm

    Laziness is a deceptive practice. For example, some might consider my typing this response to be the hallmark of industry. However, I know that I am really avoiding analyzing an icky spreadsheet. In fact, I have spent hours avoiding this particular task. It is amazing how sloth can infect one’s soul.

    I am not ashamed of my laziness — except when it comes to those moments when I forsake it due to the lure of guilt.

  • Joan Kelly // Sep 7, 2005 at 1:53 am

    Sending you love letters because you make us laugh in dark times probably wouldn’t count as professional review request behavior either, would it? Harumph.

  • Booksquare // Sep 8, 2005 at 7:32 am

    That would work. I’m pretty easy. Besides, my dear, you’re already on the hot seat. I believe we’re scheduled for February????

  • Joan Kelly // Sep 8, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    Really? (Now I’m batting my eyelashes and holding a delicate hand to my cleavage.) (Such as it is.)

    I’ve had my fill of savoring present moments – can we hop ahead to February yet? Thank you.