Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yes, we are still alive. But barely.

This is what I am doing when I am trying to keep sane.

Yes, it’s been forever since we’ve posted a review here on Odyssey. It doesn’t mean the site is inactive, it just means life has gotten rough for both me and the people who were kind enough to supply reviews. Seeing how the economy has been, adding to additional stressors and things you cannot control, it’s not surprising we haven’t had reviews in a while. Personally, I am hoping, after this year’s loss of my father, the subsequent illness of my mother and my assuming guardianship of my developmentally disabled adult brother, that things will settle down for me in this coming year enough so that I can focus on things like reading and recruiting new reviewers. Suffice it to say, I haven’t taken time to read a lot of mainstream books, let alone Indie review books lately. I barely have time to ride my cinnamon tank pictured above.

Please note that I am still receiving queries, many of which do not meet our already fairly strict criteria. A lot of authors are using promotional companies to do all the review requests, and it’s gotten so annoying that I’ve started deleting anything coming from certain promoters, because they blatantly send out blanket emails with our address amid a dozen others without regard to what we requested. So sorry, authors, but if you are relying on a promoter to get reviews for you, and they are contacting Odyssey, it’s likely I won’t even look at the query honestly. Their bulk emails are becoming seriously annoying to someone whose stress levels have been already pushed beyond capacity—I got tired of replying: ‘we are sorry, but this book does not meet our review criteria’ over and over again—so I’ve taken to just dismissing them as they come.

I may sound grumpy, but many reviewers can become so, it’s demanding for a voluntary task, and many times, it’s overwhelming and thankless. Most of the time, authors are never quite ready to hear the truth about their work or they think they’re special and deserve more attention than other authors. I’ve even had authors request that we change a review because it wasn’t what they expected it to be. Reviewing is hard work. We have all striven to provide honest reviews, and have been kind to those whose books were downright terrible and spared posting the harsh opinion.

I am now going to send out a tentative call for books to review. I am alone, and have little time, but I can do some reading each night before bed, and I want to read things that I like, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and maybe the occasional mystery. I want to read something that is clean and edited… I don’t want to be distracted by hellacious typos and bad formatting. I want something that will make me smile, and make me look forward to more work from that author, like our 5-medallion books.

So if you truly believe your POD, Indie book meets the above criteria, please send a query as outlined on our submissions page, and please be patient with me if I do not review quickly.

If you’ve sent us a book already and it did not get reviewed, I apologize. It was for one or more reasons: 1) the reviewer flaked out on me (many do) and did not return the book to pass onto another reviewer or myself, or 2) the book was awful and we didn’t have the heart to tell you that’s why we didn’t post a review.

I intend to start afresh and start slowly. I am seeking new RELIABLE reviewers to assist me in the task, so if you think you can do this (it’s hard work, I am warning you) then please do feel free to petition me, I would be grateful for the help and infinitely less grumpy about the whole process. I will invite new reviewers to be contributors to this blog page, and they will be able to post their reviews freely, along with other articles and discussions as they please (as long as it’s not awful). :)

Have a lovely thanksgiving. Looking forward to new queries … I will sort through some of my old ones that I haven’t lost or deleted to see if there are any early contenders for review during the holidays; if possible.