Friday, January 4, 2008

How I do PW stuff, part 2: all imprints great and small

A brief preamble: please to note that these posts are about how I do PW stuff. Other editors may work very differently.

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to send out letters like this.
Dear [independent publisher]:

I've been seeing a lot of buzz about [title] lately, and I was a bit surprised to realize that as far as I could tell, Publishers Weekly has never received galleys for it or any other [publisher] publication. I'd like to encourage you to send us galleys for review. I have a firm policy of reviewing books from new writers and independent presses, and you seem to be putting out a lot of interesting titles that we'd want to pay attention to.

Our submission guidelines are here:

If there's a specific reason you haven't been sending us review copies, please let me know; and if you know of any other publishers who have hesitated to send us galleys for whatever reason, please pass this link and my contact information on to them. We welcome all submissions from all sources, as long as they follow those guidelines, and I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have.

Rose Fox
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Reviews Editor
Publishers Weekly
I mean every word. If you're a publisher, fill in your own name there and then send us galleys. (If you're a writer, make sure your publisher does this!) I don't care if you only put out one book a year, or one book every five years. If you can get us two galleys three months before publication, do. I can't promise we'll review them, but I'll certainly give them my full consideration. As an editor, I want my section to really reflect what's being published. As a critic, I want to support the independent presses that keep the publishing industry vibrant. As a reader, I want to encourage publishers and writers who take chances. I also consider it a matter of honor and fairness to give books from independent publishers the same treatment--which is to say, honest reviews by appropriate, unbiased reviewers--that I give books from Tor and Ace and Baen.

On the flip side, I don't hesitate to pass over titles from major houses that arrive too late for review (though if they look really spectacular, I'll give them a review on the web). A certain big name publisher who should know better just sent us copies of one of their February titles. December's over and done, so they went straight onto the reject shelf. Right now I'm scrambling to get quick reviews for interesting March titles that just showed up. Don't make me scramble! No one wants a rushed review.

It's PW policy to ignore self-published books, and I think that's probably a very reasonable policy. I'm also not shy about passing on books that look really dreadful or are clearly unedited; we don't pay our reviewers enough to waste their time. What I don't do is reject the unfamiliar out of hand. Think you've got something really great? Send it on over. I promise to give it the same consideration I give everything else.

I've been out of the office for most of the last few weeks due to holidays and illness, but everything's back on track now; look for more "How I do PW stuff" entries soon.