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 I'm an unpublished and unagented author.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 Your book is unpublished therefore not available for sale.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Why on earth would you send an unpublished novel to someone to review on a blog or a newspaper?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 If your novel lands on my desk, and you tell me that reviewers asked to review an unpublished novel, I will discount the information as hyperbole, lies, or other forms of query letter nonsense. It may not be any of those things, but the idea that a legitimate book reviewer would volunteer to read an unpublished novel is so far divorced from what I know about reviewers and their practices that I would discount what you said without thinking twice.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I cannot imagine why a legitimate book reviewer would ask to read an unpublished novel ever.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?