Monday, March 15, 2010
The thorny matter of endorsements.
I usually talk about medieval history or writing fiction about medieval history, but I have decided to digress for a moment and talk about the matter of endorsing novels.
When you are a writer, you need all the publicity you can get and some warm words of praise about your work from a fellow author are a very useful promotional tool to put on the jacket of your novel. It supposedly makes readers take notice and it's also good for the endorser because their name is given a prominent place on your book cover as well. Two for the price of one - What's not to like?
However, It does become noticeable very quickly in reading communities that certain authors seem to do the rounds of endorsing each other's work and put their names to anything that comes their way. Which might be good for marketing, but not for integrity and not always for the beleagured reader.
I'm an established author now and I get numerous requests to endorse novels. Editors offer me advanced review copies or ARCS. My own editors ask me to endorse other authors in their stable (not a bad thing to do at all, just standard practise), authors write to me, asking if I'll read and endorse their novels.
I LOVE reading. I was a reader before I was a writer, but I want to read things that I choose to pick up myself and at my own pace and then to be able to comment with an uncensored opinion. Being asked to endorse a novel almost immediately puts on me the expectation that I'm going to report back saying I love it (even if I don't). It also means I have to read to deadline, even if I'm not in the mood - so it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.
So here's the deal. My marketing take on this is that if I endorse a novel, it will be because I have picked it up of my own accord and read it at my own pace. It will be a novel that I absolutely loved and couldn't put down. It will be a novel that I want to share with others and I will mean it from the heart. That's it. Plain and simple. Just wanted to say because it's been on my mind a while. (illustration is one of my endorsements).
Normal service will be resumed as soon as I get another medieval blog post written.