Get Your Books Reviewed
from The SFWA Bulletin #166, Summer 2005
Getting Your Books Reviewed In PW and LJ
Panelists were Daisy Maryles, Executive Editor, PW; Peter Cannon, PW Associate Editor: Mystery and Science Fiction, Fantasy/Horror; Brianna Yamashita, PW Associate Forecast Editor, Review Annex, Mass Market and Audio; and Wilma Williams, LJ Book Review Fiction Editor for popular fiction, Christian fiction, romance, science fiction, and mystery.
Williams said that galleys are needed two to three months in advance, and that the quality of galleys is a consideration when an author self-submits. Self-published books are not reviewed, however. Authors should include a cover letter and "be persistent but not a pest." First novels and first different novels – cases in which authors are switching genres – are of special interest. Mass market paperbacks are reviewed. Authors should not approach a columnist directly, but always go through Williams. [Note: Jackie Casada writes the LJ column on f&sf.]
Williams, who said that popular fiction reviews are in demand by LJ's readership, announced a new bestseller list feature, for the best circulating books in libraries. LJ also announces upcoming books being reviewed in an email list that can be subscribed to by sending a blank email with SUBSCRIBE as the subject line to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite – or perhaps because of – its weekly format, PW needs galleys and ARCs farther in advance, at least three to four months. Manuscript pages should be sent even earlier. "Pages/ARCs should not be held together with rubber bands, but should be in a presentable format and include a cover letter with the following information: ISBN, price, and publicity contact information."
PW has reduced the number of popular fiction reviews it does. Yamashita, who reviews paperback originals, can do only about 20 per month, and Cannon is limited to six per week. Extra books just get a mention as "Notes." Smaller presses are not routinely reviewed. PW is trying to increase the number of sf reviews, though. Cannon assigns reviews to a pool of 20 freelancers and edits for accuracy, fairness, or over enthusiasm or harshness.
Maryles also had an announcement about a new feature. Authors can send in information ("something new or different about their book: rights, sales, promotion, photos, etc.") to PW for major books to be used on four "bestseller pages" along with info on six other books on outside columns.
Freelance Writers Settlement Announced
Under the terms of the settlement, publishers including the New York Times, Time Inc., and the Wall Street Journal, and database companies including Dow Jones Interactive, Knight-Ridder, Lexis-Nexis, Proquest, and West Group agreed to pay writers up to $1,500 for stories in which the writers had registered the copyright in accordance with timetables established in federal copyright law. Writers who failed to register their copyrights will receive up to $60 per article; the organizations believe that many such writers will have valid claims for hundreds of such articles.
By the time you read this, the Court should have made its ruling whether to approve the motion. However, writers have until September 30, 2005 to file a claim. Two websites contain information on the complexities of the case and on the Claims Form.
FreelanceRights.com (www.freelancerights.com/) is a site put together by the writers groups involved in the suit. The official settlement documents, including a Canadian Authors Notice, can be found there.
The Copyright Class Action Settlement Website (www.copyrightclassaction.com/) has downloadable claims forms, as well as an FAQ that gives a host of details about the suit and the claims that can be made.
Authors can also call toll free: 1-800-330-0516 or +1-941-906-4892; or write: The Garden City Group, Inc., P.O. Box 9000, #6250, Merrick, NY 11566-9000.
Authors Registry Looks for Authors
The complete list of authors can be found at their web site, at www.authorsregistry.org/pay.html. The Estate of Roger Zelazny pops out at me from that list.
They say: " We have contact information for most of these authors, but they have failed to respond to our mailings in spite of our repeated efforts.
If you are one of these authors, or if you know the whereabouts of any of them, please contact Terry King at the Authors Registry (email@example.com) or encourage the author to contact us.
Banned Books Redux
The bad news is that magic has claimed another title. Norwood, CO School Superintendent Bob Conder not only banned a book he admitted he didn't finish reading, he gave all of the district's more than two dozen copies to the complaining parent to destroy. The book is Bless Me, Ultima, a 1972 young adult novel that includes both profanity and a character that uses herbs and magic to heal. Condor said that some parents were offended by its "obscene language and paganistic practices…. It's less a matter of censorship than a matter of sponsorship. That's not the kind of garbage I want to sponsor at this high school."
However, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has rewritten its regulations on editing and publishing works by authors from sanctioned nations in response to a lawsuit brought against it by publishers and Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi.
Americans are now explicitly permitted to engage in "all the transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals, and newspapers in paper or electronic format." This means that American publishers and editors may now "substantively edit and market written works, collaborate with authors from sanctioned nations, and pay advances and royalties to them."
Children's and YA Market Information
The children's field also has a number of outlets for non-fiction work about writing for children. Erika Dreifus listed the main paying markets in the January-February 2005 SCWBI Bulletin.
Cross & Quill – The Christian Writers Newsletter, The Tots, Teens & In-Betweens Department, 1624 Jefferson Davis Road, Clinton, SC 29325-6401. www.cwfi-online.org/crossquill.html#guidelines
Horn Book Magazine, 56 Roland Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02129. http://www.hbook.com/publications/submissions.asp
SCWBI Bulletin, 8271 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048. www.scbwi.com/pubs/bulletin/masthead.htm
Smart Writers Journal (online only). www.smartwriters.com/index.2ts?page=journal#guides
Why We Ain't Got No Respect
James Sallis, who has been known to commit science fiction, wrote in his Boston Globe column that "Quite aside from blind chance and catastrophic climate change such as wiped out the dinosaurs, there are many reasons a writer fails to receive the recognition he or she warrants…. He may, like Theodore Sturgeon, work in a genre that marginalizes him a priori."
What then is the fate of Brutus1? In a New York Times essay, Daniel Akst was stunned to learn that the human hand may not be necessary in the delicate art of fiction, assuring us:
"This is not science fiction. With little fanfare and (so far) no appearances at Barnes & Noble, computers have started writing without us scribes. They are perfectly capable of nonfiction prose, and while the reputation of Henry James is not yet threatened, computers can even generate brief outbursts of fiction that are probably superior to what many humans could turn out – even those not in master of fine arts programs. Consider the beginning of a short story dealing with the theme of betrayal:
"That pregnant opening paragraph was written by a computer program known as Brutus.1 that was developed by Selmer Bringsjord, a computer scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and David A. Ferrucci, a researcher at IBM."
Alas, poor Brutus1. A sad fate awaits.
Random Unverified Industry Stats for Fun and Profit
How times have changed. A May 24, 2005 press release (press.namct.com/content/view/1342/2/)from Bowker, the Books in Print firm, announced that a full 195,000 books had been published in 2004. More from Bowker:
And yet, according to the Romance Writers Report in the May 2005 issue, total bookstore sales in 2004 fell 0.8%, to $16.67 billion. Even the all-important December sales were flat, at $2.12 billion. Why? Greg Josefowicz, CEO of Borders Books, said at the AAP Annual Meeting that a study of customer behavior showed that two-thirds of people go into a bookstore with "no specific purchase intent"; that 80% are "regularly seeking help to frame their buying decision"; and that about half of purchases are "on behalf of someone else."
Mystery Writers of America, The 3rd Degree, 17 E 47th St, 6th floor, New York, NY 10017, www.mysterywriters.org/
Novelists, Inc., NINK, P.O. Box 1166, Mission KS 66222-0166, www.ninc.com
Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers’ Report, 16000 Stuebner Airline Dr., Suite 140, Spring, TX 77379, www.rwanational.org
Sisters in Crime, InSinC, P.O. Box 442124, Lawrence KS 66044, www.sistersincrime.org
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Bulletin, 8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, www.scbwi.org/
Western Writers of America, Roundup Magazine, 1012 Fair St., Franklin, TN 37064-2718, www.westernwriters.org
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