I received a surprise gift today, and surprise gifts are the best kind. I discovered a brand-new book to review was shipped to my mother’s house from Random House. Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy was waiting for me in a plain manila envelope. (Nobodies was written by The New Yorker and The
While not the lightest of reads, the discovery of this envelope elated me. A book from Random House gives me a new level of freedom.
Normally, I receive my review copies from The Tampa Tribune. Therefore, The Trib owns my reviews. When I receive a book directly from the publishing house, I own my reviews and can send them out to whomever I like. If I feel a review would fit best in The Trib it will go to them, but if it would be better served in a niche magazine like Bitch or even Geek Monthly, I can branch out to other publications.
The downside is that I have less control over what makes it way into my collection. With The Trib, I usually go to their office and go through the massive piles of books publishers send to the paper.
For authors who wonder why their books don’t make it into reviews, this is a large reason. Reporters and reviewers go through the books and choose the ones they want to
read. I pick the broadest range possible and usually go by covers and glance at the blurbs on the back. I’ll usually take home somewhere around 30-40 books and review 75
percent of them. 90 percent of my reviews usually get published.
With so many books competing for journalistic readership, it can be easy for a few to get
lost in the shuffle, whether it’s because the subject matter doesn’t grab anyone’s attention or another of a broad selection of reasons.
Once I have a book home, I read the first 30 pages, and if I can get through those, I finish it and review the book. I’m already up to page 57 in Nobodies. Hopefully, I’ll be typing out the review in the next few days.
While I love diving into the stacks of books at The Trib, I hope Random House sends me more books in the future. Receiving an unexpected book in the mail is always a treat.