But, but...I have good reviews!

Dear Ms Snark,

I recently received a rejection letter from XYZ Publishing a full ten months after I sent them a query. Naturally the requisite word, unfortunately was in the text, just before the specious pep talk to keep me from commiting suicide. Anyway a lot of water has passed under the bridge since March 13, 2006. My book has been picked up by an e-publisher, been e-published and has received three very favorable reviews.

My question is this: Should I write back and say their rejection letter is ancient history and include copies of the reviews, since I retained print rights.

From their perspective nothing has changed; your book is the same, and the print market is the same. Unless the reviews are from Michiko, Stephen King or someone of that ilk, they won't drive sales and editors pay scant attention to them.


Anonymous said...

I'm epublished, and I can tell you a lot of review sites for epubbed books don't count anyway. Seriously. They always give good reviews.

There are a few that are honest, but for the most part...those reviews don't mean much. Getting reader blogs to give you good reviews counts, IMO; sites like Harriet Klausner's or any of the numerous review sites for ebooks generally don't. They want free books so they keep giving good reviews. End of story.

And before everyone leaps all over me, yes, I'm posting anonymously. Yes, I am a chicken. You think I want my publishers to know I think the reviews they so proudly advertise are crap? Give me a break. Sometimes people have good reasons for being anon, it's doesn't mean they're liars.

Kit Whitfield said...

You can stay as anonymous as you like, anon: seems like a reasonable precaution to me...

Don't approach the publishers again; they won't change their minds. Many publishers don't take e-publishing seriously; as it's much easier to achieve, it's no guarantee of quality. E-publishing and publish-publishing are, in general, two different tribes, and the customs of one don't carry over to the other. And if you don't seem aware of that, it looks like poor judgement on your part - and good fiction needs good judgement, so it'll put your work in a bad light. Your best bet is to write another book and take it round town again. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Don't send them. It will mark you a nitwit. They said they don't want it. You should be glad they took the time to consider it, but don't respond to a rejection. Period.

Anonymous said...

What Kit said, but more so.

If your print publisher doesn't take epublishing, or its reviews seriously, you are actually verifying their response to you, as far as they are concerned.
"Oh, epublishing. That's where our rejects go to die."

At best, fine, so what do you gain? Going neder-neder-neder doesn't accomplish much.

At worst, you are probably providing intern-amusement fodder.

Anonymous said...

Three simple words of advice: Don't burn bridges.

ec said...

I'm thinking of printing up a bunch of tee shirts with this slogan:

Official Member, Harriet Klausner 5-star Review Club

This could be a real money-maker at writers conferences and sf conventions, because EVERY PUBLISHED AUTHOR could wear one.

Which could make for some interesting group photos. ;)

Stacia said...

Lol, Ms. Cunningham!

ec said...

Bless her heart, Ms. Klausner never read a book she didn't like. I have no problem with that, or her. My point, and I do have one, is that pointing to some types of positive reviews is not necessarily to one's benefit.

Scott Siegel reviews movies the way Ms. Klausner reviews books. It's my observation that a Siegel movie review in a print ad says "turkey" more emphatically than wattles and a side of cranberry sauce. As one industry cynic point out to me, it implies that no one else reviewed the movie positively, so they had to go with the SS review. (In fact, I hear that Conan O'Brian did a piece about this on his late-night show. He actually called SS on air, read a list of movies, and said, "Dude, you can't tell me you actually LIKED these movies..." )

Reviews are opinions. Everyone's entitled to have one, but I doubt editors find it particularly instructive to hear a writer's work got rave reviews from certain websites, amazon.com readers, and the writer's friends and family.