I now know how I’m going to die: someday I’ll be buried under a flood of books. It’ll be so deep that I won’t be able to dig my way out, and I’ll suffocate under there. Unless one of the cats bestirs herself long enough to dig me out, but I wouldn’t put money on that. At most she’d probably dig out my foot and declare it to be breakfast time.
It’s my own fault, really. Sometimes the more review books I have to read, the more energized I get with respect to reading. I got a media mailing from one of the publishers I regularly receive review copies from recently and they had an unusual number of titles that interested me. I put together a list of all the ones I’d be happy to review and emailed it to them, asking them to send me whichever of those titles they’d like reviewed; it always seemed kind of rude to me to just say, “gimme these,” so I like to make it clear that whatever they feel like sending out of the ones I’m interested in is fine by me. I think, from the reply, that they might be sending me all of them. This will be a lot of fun reading!
Then I found some more publishers over the last week whose books I’m curious to check out (mostly from some of the book review blogs I’ve been listing over on the reviews blog), and I went ahead and sent off a few emails and faxes. At least one company is sending four books (I had originally requested two), and as I’ve learned from other companies, often the ones that like to get faxes instead of emails don’t let you know whether they’re sending you books or not—you just suddenly get a package someday. So I have hopes for those. Then there’s another company I often get books from—several times a year they send out a form with their upcoming books, you check off the ones you’re interested in, and every now and then one or more of them shows up. So I never really know when I’m going to get a book. I adore getting books, so it’s a bit like mini year-round birthdays.
I’ve been lucky to develop relationships with some very good publishers. How do I define good? As a reviewer, to me that means that the publisher appreciates a decent and fair review whether it’s a glowing review or not. A good publicist knows that even an ambivalent—or negative—review can generate sales if the reviewer provides enough information and explains their impressions and biases well enough. A good publicist also keeps track of reviewers’ areas of interest and contacts the ones they’d like reviews from when books come out. Many of the bigger publishers of course don’t have the resources to do the latter for all of the books they put out, so with them you’re generally on your own to keep track of what they’re coming out with and request it. I have to say that so far two of my favorite publishers to work with in this regard have been Alpha Books and 10 Speed Press. Neither one has ever given me grief of any kind when I’ve given a book less-than-perfect scores.
The only problem, of course, is that I have far more books than bookcases to hold them. I should find out whether our local library takes donations of lightly-used books.
Now if only I could find a furniture company that needs reviews of bookcases…