The Un-Editorial NotePad #6

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Hi Everybody,
Hope you’re enjoying your summer and avoiding the skin-sizzling heat! I’m back with another un-editorial notepad for your consideration.

So today I want to talk about humility. I understand that writers can’t always be humble in the world of publishing, because if they show too much head-bowing humility, nobody notices them. On the other hand, there is definitely a time when a writer should be humble. When? Why, when he/she is asking for a favor, of course. Yes, in the world of “favors,” writers ought to show oodles and oodles of humility, because…well, because it’s like oatmeal; it’s the right thing to do.

Case-in-point: I was recently contacted by an author/publicist who stumbled upon my site, Picture Book Depot –, and liked what he saw. So he decided to write me and ask if I would like to review a certain book that was debuting within the next week.

“If you think you’re interested,” he wrote, “first you need to tell me how many page views your site logs on a daily basis, then I need to know how long it’ll be before your reviewers post the review.”

I was stunned. Why would he think I needed to tell him anything? He came to ME for a favor, not the other way around. Yet here he was, asking for my services in one breath, then hinting that he was withholding the “favor” of sending the book until he found out just how much traffic my site gets in the next. Rubbed me the wrong way, I’ll tell you that!

So me being the way that I am, I ignored him. After all, things are busy at Picture Book Depot. The site is about to undergo a major face lift that will leave it virtually unrecognizable, and there’s much to do on my end. There are accounts to open, Face Book and Twitter pages to design, plugins to activate, and permalinks to re-set. I just didn’t have time for this folderol.

But after a few days, the writer/publicist wrote again, insisting – with a twinge of arrogance – that I get back with him on my “stats” so he could decide whether to send the book or not. Now, mind you, I would love to have received the book, and would have passed it on to the appropriate reviewer so we could get the ball rolling…but this was too much. He was asking ME for a favor, so why in heaven did he feel I owed him an explanation of just how popular we were before he sent the book?

I did answer, though. I informed him that Picture Book Depot doesn’t focus on hits as much as we pride ourselves on the number of countries (99 and counting!) that log in to translate our content and read reviews to their heart’s content. I also told him that since our reviewers are all volunteers and aren’t paid one thin dime for their trouble, they set their own schedules and I don’t presume to time them on their reviews.

Needless to say, I never received another response after that. It’s too bad, too, because like I said, I don’t mind reviewing a great picture book for anyone. It’s what Picture Book Depot does, after all. But I do feel that anyone asking for a book review should do so without adding the pressure of “hits” and “lead time.”

If you are a writer in search of a review, you should make your request, send the book along, then wait to be notified about the review posting. You’ll almost certainly get the review you’re looking for, and may even build a long-term relationship with the reviewer and his/her site. Just sayin’.

Anyway, that’s all I have today. Hope this un-editorial review has helped you in your day-to-day writing grind.

Best wishes and happy writing,

Rita Lorraine

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