Miss Snark Funts- and updates her Funt

Miss Snark,
I'm in rather an unusual circumstance. I'm an unpublished and unagented author.
I have a Blog that has attracted significant attention and through that blog I have been contacted by book reviewers for newspapers and blogs who have volunteered to read my novel and review it with no strings attached. (i.e. good or bad they were free to say as they pleased).
I don't know of many other writers that this has happened to before they are published so my question is now what is the best way to use these reviews?

Reviews are generally used to SELL books. Your book is unpublished therefore not available for sale. IF you place it with a publisher, you'll have poisoned the well for these folks reviewing the published version.

Why on earth would you send an unpublished novel to someone to review on a blog or a newspaper? And why would any of those people want to read a book no one could buy? I don't understand this at all.

Is this one of those Candid Camera guest shots? HI MOM!!!

And then this in the morning mail:

Actually I was a little surprised at your response. If reviewers take it on themselves why is this so bad? Wouldn't it add to a query to know that the work has been reviewed and written about? I have had two small publishers inquire about my novel from the first review and the second reviewer is a much "bigger name" shouldn't this be an advantage?

Ok, I guess I wasn't clear. No. This will not help. If your novel lands on my desk, and you tell me that reviewers asked to review an unpublished novel, I will discount the information as hyperbole, lies, or other forms of query letter nonsense. It may not be any of those things, but the idea that a legitimate book reviewer would volunteer to read an unpublished novel is so far divorced from what I know about reviewers and their practices that I would discount what you said without thinking twice. Even if you included the clippings I would suspect something strange because IT IS STRANGE.

I cannot imagine why a legitimate book reviewer would ask to read an unpublished novel ever. And before you get huffy and say "it's cause they think my work is great" remember, they get tens if not hundreds of books a month. They have enough to read. I'd suspect they want to curry favor with you for some reason. And, since people want to curry favor with me all the time, I don't put much stock in it.

Besides, it's WEIRD.

Is that any clearer?


Debra Kemp said...

So what's so unusual about being unpubbed and unagented? Join the club, friend!

Bella Stander said...

I've been a book reviewer for some 20 years, and I'd rather ram red-hot needles under my fingernails than read an unpublished writer's manuscript.

Shadow said...

Sounds like your "unusual circumstance" is grist for your query letter. I would think that a "blog that receives significant attention" could also be called a "platform", which an agent (and then editor and marketing department) would take into consideration when deciding on publication. You could also let them know about your reviewer contacts. (Don't know if dropping names and/or publications would be good/bad/kosher or not.)

Anonymous said...

At the risk of appearing nitwiticious, what does funt mean? I looked it up on Urban Dictionary but that can't possibly be what the erudite and well-bred Miss Snark intended...

Miss Snark said...

There is a clue in the text of the post if you are unsure what "Funt" means.

Ken Boy said...

Funt, Allen, host of Candid Camera.

Bill Peschel said...

This is so far off weirdness meter. Perhaps if we heard the details, it may make sense (for example, if reviewers asked to read the book when it becomes published). But why would reviewers write about a book that hasn't been published, that readers can't get ahold of?

Miss Snark has written before that bloggers with significant readership in a niche market has an advantage in pitching a book, but that's about the extent of it.