Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book review sites/blogs, reviewers, authors and readers. And it's worse than an MMA bout!

RomanceLand always seems to be going through some drama. The latest is going on between authors and reviewers concerning ARCs. ARCs are advance review copies that are sent to reviewers to read before a book comes out so they it for their sites and alert readers to what's available. Seems to be a dust up going on over writers thinking the sending of an ARC is an obligation or contract on the reviewer's part to read said work and review it. For the record, I never thought asking for review consideration was anything but that. Asking. A-R-R-R-R-GH! Little did I know when I started writing that the romance industry is as crazy and cutthroat as any other money making industry. In short: women are not kind to each other.

I visit a number of romance book review sites each week to scope out what's new. There's a ton of review sites/blogs on the web now. So, you'd think it would be easier to get one's book reviewed on one, or at least see an out-of-the-norm book that you'd like to read get reviewed on one. But nope. Things seem to have gotten worse. With the dawn of self-publishing, large publishers and small presses have to compete with the gazillions of indie writers for space and attention. And I kinda can see who's winning this game: the large publishers with their solid writers and the indie authors with the most outlandish, trendy plots/blurbs. If you write for a small press or are just a reliable sort of mid-list author, your representation is rarely seen on these sites. No matter how correctly worded your request for review consideration is, I bet you dollars to doughnuts, that if you ain't Nora, Nalini or a Regency writing wonder, or an indie author with a daring, New Adult novel full of angst-y brokenness, bondage and motorcycle guys, you ain't getting considered for review, or reviewed period.

It's the way the worm has turned. Time is precious and the reviewers have little of it. Their sites are the new slush piles. Only old favs or new, shocking kids on the block get eyes. Slots for reviews are like prime real estate: taken early. So, writers like me, whose niche is so overlooked already, can forget about those types of books with truly different plots being reviewed, or considered for review, on those sites, except for the third Wednesday of the month in years with a February 29th. Even the site, Romance Novels in Color is difficult to get on. It is one of a handful of sites which review multicultural romance books in all genres. Competition is fierce! Most writers who are PoC rush to get their stuff considered. At least it's welcome there and sites like it. Which brings me back to the other sites.

If I'm lucky, I'll get one of my books reviewed by one of the other sites this year if the blogger can clear her backlog. Fine. At least she answered my e-mail and told me the truth. I like that. Now, I have to admit after a while of trying to get my stuff reviewed places, I've stopped asking. It's sort of a waste of time. Especially when you know the game. I conducted a small test of a little less than 50 random review blog/sites. Now, remember. This is not scientific, just basic math. What was my premise? I asked myself was it worth even contacting any of these places? It was a simple question that was answered swiftly when I visited each site on my list and plugged in the two simple words, interracial or multicultural one at a time, into the "search box" sections. Et voila! My question was answered. Forty-four! 44 of the sites searched gave the answer no results to the two words searched. Oh well.

 Since the bloggers/reviewers didn't have any books in their archives that had interracial or multicultural characters, why should I, as a PoC author who writes PoC characters, bother to submit a review request? It's apparent that they don't take those kinds of books on because they KNOW their visitors AREN'T INTERESTED IN READING those kinds of books. And what did the rest that did have results cough up? Brockmann and Sorenson.  O-O-Okay. Those longtime, trailblazing reps of multicultural romance writing? Oh, man. I just can't. Yo, folks, not to burst your bubble, but there are more than two broads writing about people who aren't the standard romance pairings! If you are sincerely looking for "other" reads, ya gotta do a little due diligence. And said "other" people devote WHOLE series to the pairings. Not use them as secondary characters who pop in and out.and then get short shrift when it comes to developing entire books for them. But, moving on...Hey, it's the owners' sites. They can classify and accept, or not, stuff anyway they want. And the owners do know their site visitors' TASTES regardless of all the hue and cry for diverse books by diverse authors. As a side note, that campaign and hashtag on Twitter were nice but no shift has occurred that I can see. My experiment was truly eye-opening though. And one I'll be conducting on more sites to save me time. It was helpful and quite TELLING in this year of 2014. So, no, my world will not crumble because chances of my stuff getting a slot on those review sites are zilch. Quelle surprise! If I get that review from that blogger, I'll say thanks. But as usual I'll just stick to primarily placing ads in trade magazines, using social media and word of mouth for promo. Am I being harsh or cynical? Naw. I'm being real.

No comments:

Post a Comment