Monday, September 26, 2011

Harlequin to Janet Reid: "Drop Dead"

Regular readers of this blog may recall the name Kristan Higgins.

I've blogged about the first book of hers I read (it was a ploy by the slithery Barbara Poelle to keep me from my reading).

Other times, Kristan Higgins' books have been a respite from a dreadful day.

In other words, I'm a fan.
And I say so.
Pretty loudly.

So, when I saw the chance to get a galley of the newest Kristan Higgins novel, I leaped! LEAPED.

The offer was through NetGalley, a service that helps publishers distribute galleys to bloggers and reviewers electronically. I'm a happy and satisfied NetGalley user. I've gotten some terrific books from a lot of interesting publishers via NetGalley.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw this:

You recently requested to view a title from NetGalley's Public Catalog. Unfortunately, the publisher has declined to allow access to the title based on the information provided in your profile.

You may want to update your profile to provide more information to the publisher, and try requesting the title again. If you are confident that you should be approved for galleys, please reply to this e-mail and the Publisher will get back to you as soon as possible.

Example of what to include in your profile: a direct link to your book review blog (general life bloggers, infrequent bloggers, and new bloggers will be declined. 100 or more followers is preferred).a direct link to your Good Reads, Amazon, and/or LibraryThing profile page (must have over 100 reviews on any one of these services).

(there's more about what to do if you're a librarian or a bookseller)


Talk about short-sighted!

The one place every publicist dreamed of getting coverage was called off the book page back when I worked in PR.  Off the book page meant places that didn't normally review books.  It was the place you wanted to be because you reached past the usual audience.

Harlequin's galley policy (because it is they who set these, not NetGalley) specifically overlooks places just like this blog.  Places that are not book review sites.  Places where the mention of a book is actually more noticeable because it's not the norm.

And I have no ties to Kristan Higgins. I'm not her agent. I don't think I even know who her agent is. I don't know her editor. I know someone who knows her editor.

I'm a fan. A fan with 8,000 readers and 11,000 Twitter followers.  In other words A.Big.Mouth.

Now, I'm not mentioning this cause I'm annoyed (yes I am) but because if you are an author, you've got to make sure you're in a position to head off this kind of attitude and fix stuff when it goes wrong:

1. Have your name and your book title on google alert.  This blog post will turn up in someone's google alert feed. Most likely tomorrow.  Someone will see it and I'll get a book. Without google alert, not as likely.  If you are an author you want to hear about this kind of thing quickly. Stuff happens. Be ready to fix it.

2.  Talk to your pr department about how they handle galleys.  If you know you have rock solid iron clad fans, make sure they get galleys.  Or are on the approved list.  Harlequin doesn't know me from Bruce the Shark.  They obviously didn't investigate either, but honestly, I don't think I can blame them for that (yes I can.)

3.  If there is a limit on the number of galleys being given out, MENTION IT in the refusal email.  It's one thing to be told "you're not high enough on the food chain, shark breath." It's another thing to say "we're only sending out 25, we hope you understand."

Does this mean I'm no longer a fan of Kristan Higgins?
Hell no!

But it does mean that instead of blogging about her new book I'm blogging about her publisher. My guess is that's NOT what any of us really want.  (Well, we all know what *I* want!)


Patrick Alan said...

How come Bruce the Shark doesn't post here anymore?

DeadlyAccurate said...

I get a ton of book suggestions from following agent blogs, but I specifically get a good portion of my to-read pile off Twitter (and I follow you on Twitter). Probably the last 10 or more books I've bought have come off Twitter recommendations. I think it's in a publisher's interest to be a little more lax on the galley front.

Lori said...

Let me get back to you. I too read books off of NetGalley and went there to request Kristan Higgins, I'll let you know. Always looking for a new author to read.

Saundra Mitchell said...

HarlequinTeen denied all my requests too. Maybe they feel NetGalley is *only* for bloggers, but it made me teh sad. I would have loved to have pimped several of their YA titles on and around release day.

Anne R. Allen said...

I've can think of at least three new authors I've read because of your recommendations. This shows one more way that traditional publishers are not keeping up. They should welcome ANY possible reviews. But I suppose they're worried about being nice to the "competition." They don't get it that we're all working together here.

Poor Kristan. I'm sure she's going to be furious. And she'll be told "There's nothing we can do. That's our policy."

Amy Ashley said...

This WAS a mistake. I've bought and read at least ten books in the last year based on your suggestions or based on links you offered to various authors, editors, books, and other publicity that you had up. Your taste is impeccable, and I will buy outside my preferred zones when you mention a book without hesitating. I'm only one reader!

Wonderful advice, Janet. I wasn't aware of google alert, and the rest will truly help. Sorry you had this trouble, but I appreciate the information.

Phoebe North said...

I *am* a reviewer, and I've been sporadically denied requests for NetGalley titles--sometimes from publishers who have approved me in the past. They almost never respond to queries about their reasoning, and no matter how much more information I plug into my profile, things never seem to change. I don't know if this is because of general nervousness about egalleys or because I'm relatively small potatoes (though I don't have a good deal of google subscribers, I have a wide range on goodreads and I know from my amazon affiliate stats that I *do* help sell books!) or what, but whenever it happens, it's really frustrating. Some reviewers just request books over and over again until they're approved, but I don't really want to do that. If they can't see how our relationship is mutually beneficial, I don't really want to kill myself over it.

Simon Hay said...

I've not set up google alerts yet. I must look into that. I also buy books you recommend & I like reviews by non-review blogs. I''m sure you'll get a copy of Kristan's book soon.

Jill Thomas said...

I totally agree with your point about being recommended on a site not specializing in reviews. I follow your blog because I respect you and what you have to say and if you recommend a book, I will be more apt to buy said book than if I saw it on a traditional book review page. On a side note, I miss the Blogger button on your made it so much easier to share your wise (sometimes razor-sharp) words.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that remarkably shortsighted. You do have a large audience. Plus, I've come to trust your recommendations. You like good writing. You like smart authors. And you always give good advice. So, anyone would be damn lucky to have you talk about his/her book on your blog. I do hope the publisher can remedy this oversight. ~Ali

Colin Smith said...

My 2-cents: I would never have even considered buying a Lee Child novel, just because that's not a genre I usually read. However, based on your obsessive ravings--I mean passionate promotion--of his Jack Reacher novels, I became curious and have actually purchased the first, Killing Floor, and will be reading it in the very near future.

Any publisher that ignores the power of The Shark is a fool. :)

SBJones said...

I'll have to look into Google Alerts but right now I'm off to buy a shotgun to protect myself from flying sharks! Holy crap were screwed!

Sometimes you need to expose other peoples shortsightedness. Take Weird Al for example. He asked Lady GaGa if he could put his spoof of Born This Way on his new album. He got crickets back so he announced that it wouldn't be, but tossed it up on YouTube. Turned out her manager ignored his request and when news reached GaGa, she gave the green light and had a nice talk with management about it.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Poking a shark with a sharp stick usually ends up in an epic fail!

Travis Erwin said...

Ready ... Aim ... Damn there went Harlequins big toe. If they were not so short sighted they would have blasted a hole dead center through their foot.
On a side note, you've expressed an interest in my upcoming release The Feedstore Chronicles via Twitter and I'd be honored to hear what you think via this blog or even in a private message so if you tell me where to send it I'll make sure a copy finds its way to your Shark fins.

Lori said...

I have now downloaded the the book, request approved. Somebody doesn't like the shark?

Janet Reid said...

Travis, tried to buy it, but it's not on Amazon. Had to settle (ha!) for WHISPERS (but heck if Stephen Parrish likes it, I'm in.)

My contact deets are on my website: jetreidliterary (dot) com

Judith Gonda said...

But who wouldn't love the shark? Only fools...jokers...harlequins... (cue Jaws theme song) They'll be sorry!

Anonymous said...

Question: Does anyone know if there is something like NetGalley for small indie publishers? I recently started up my own little art-for-art's-sake publishing imprint and am hoping to acquire and publish 3 titles a year or so. I was intrigued by this great idea of NetGalley as a way to get new titles into the hands of reviewers, so I wrote and asked them how much the service costs.

Way too pricey for a small indie outfit, turns out. They have a five title minimum (okay, reasonable, weeds out the fly-by-nighters), a setup fee of $600 (GACK!), and then a monthly fee of $228 (double GACK!) to list 2-5 titles at a time. Prices go up if you want to list more than five titles ...

For that kind of money, I could be sending out a lot of paper ARCs, I'd think! You'd definitely have to be planning on selling beaucoup copies to justify such an investment.

Hence my wondering if there is some kind of bargain basement version for the small-timers!

Hope Welsh said...

I was actually quite surprised after reading this that I got an approval to read a Harlequin Teen coming out next month.

I'm a small review site--but I also review for The Kindle Review...maybe they are important enough?

I just got the book--but I admit I was very surprised to be approved by them.