How To Guarantee I Won’t Read Your Book

People, please don’t do this. I’ve been seeing more and more of it lately:

Book Plug

This is pretty much a guarantee that I won’t read your book. Especially when I see you spamming my friends with the exact same message. I have a documented policy on book reviews. But really, it’s just not polite to carpet bomb like this. If you are tempted to do something like this, if you are considering it, keep a few things in mind:

1. My time is really limited and I’ve had to hack more time out of my days with creative multitasking. Spam like this doesn’t make me want to slice out a piece of that ever-dwindling resource called time to look at your book.

2. I managed to read 54 books last year, a record for me. 12 of those books I read for my book review column at IGMS. The other 42 were books that had been on my to-read list for a long time, were books by friends, were books by acquaintances, and were books that I thought might challenge me. Spamming dozens of people with your title does not make me want to add your book to my growing list of stuff I want to read.

3. While I do review books for a magazine, I try to keep up with what is coming out so that I can coordinate my reviews with the release, or upcoming release of the book. Because I don’t like loose ends, and because I review 2 books per column, the slots fill up fast. (I already have book selected that take my through my July column.) I have a process for book reviews. Spamming me does not make me want to open up a slot for your book.

4. All the time I have to read and critique stories (which isn’t much, I assure you) is dedicated to a very small group of writer friends who read my stories in return and whose professional opinions on craft and the business I trust. I simply have no time to read and comment on stories by people I don’t know, especially those who spam me.

5. I was once an unpublished writer with no connections in the field whatsoever, and I know that it can be difficult to get your work noticed. What I’ve learned, is that hard work (write everyday, read a lot) and persistence (keep writing, keep submitting) pays off in the end, if you have a shred of talent as a writer. If not, well, it’s important to know what you are not good at. In the 14 years of writing and submitting before I was ever published, I think I asked one professional writer1 if they would look at a story of mine (something which fills me with horror, when I look back on it). It was very early in my efforts, within the first 6 months of getting started. And I never, ever spammed anyone. (Of course, the whole concept of “spamming” really didn’t exist when I was starting out.)

I realize that a post like this will not stem the tide of these types of requests, but putting up one of these reminders every now and then makes me feel better.

  1. Piers Anthony.

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