Today’s un editorial notepad is all about why an editor—or an un-editor like me–probably shouldn’t do favors, no matter how much they want to.
Case in point – I own and manage a children’s book review website called Picture Book Depot, which does not accept self-published books for review. This is posted ALL OVER THE WEBSITE, but some writers still choose to move full steam ahead with their requests.
I should mention here that I do offer an alternative, called Publish Your Cover, where I publish book covers and author links for self-published authors who are looking for a little exposure. CLICK HERE to go to the site for details.
Anyway, one particular self-published book slipped past me. I was contacted by a “publicist” who left a message on the very page that told how we DIDN’T accept self-published books, saying he/she was representing a certain publishing company, was organizing a book tour for a certain writer, and would be thrilled if I would read and review the book.
I should have done more fact-checking, but needless to say, I didn’t. Even though I had been duped, I tried to make good on the acceptance by reviewing the book. The cover was adorable enough, but I came to a grinding halt the moment I got to page one. The pages were formatted all wrong and were stuffed—and I do mean stuffed—with words from the first page to the last–a definite no-no in the world of picture book writing.
There’s more, but…in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”
Needless to say, I should have mailed the book back without explanation, but I was feeling particularly softhearted and decided to do the publicist and writer a favor. I offered a choice: To either mail the book back, review it against the standards set for traditionally-published books, or place it on the Picture Book Depot bookshelf free for 30 days.
It was a generous offer, considering, but it has now been three weeks and I still haven’t heard back. This means…
a. The publicist is not as great a publicist as he/she represented herself/himself to be.
b. The publicist is no longer a publicist.
c. The publicist was never a publicist.
d. The publicist no longer has the internet or email.
e. The publicist never checks his/her email.
f. The publicist has been fired.
g. The publicist is ignoring me in the hopes of getting a review.
h. The publicist just doesn’t give a you-know-what.
i. All of the above
I think the answer is “i.” What about you?
And so this is at least one reason why an editor, or an un editor, shouldn’t consider doing a favor. Editors develop rules for a reason, and doing a favor means breaking the rules. Breaking the rules, in turn, means more work, more wasted time, and a big, fat pulsating headache for the editor.
And that, as they say is that. Enjoy the day.