by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett
Before Chapter & Hearse, the 4th Booktown Mystery, was published, I held a number of contests. The prize(s)? An ARC (Advance Review Copy) of Chapter & Hearse. My publisher was very generous and gave me 20 copies of the book, 19 of which I gave away.
Let's review what that ARC is all about: ADVANCE REVIEW COPY. What do you think that means?
It means the person who reads it receives the book knowing something is expected.
Oh, wait, you didn't get that part about REVIEWING the book? And you didn't review the book you were dying to read? The one you said you'd KILL to get your hands on? (Pardon me, but you would not believe the begging that often goes on to get these suckers.)
Of the 19 I gave away, I've so far been told about/seen six reviews of the book. Make no mistake, I have kept a list of who got the book. Who do you think will get copies of my ARCs in the future? Hmmm...let's see, by process of elimination . . . .
I'm sorry to sound so grumpy, but the other 13 ARCs should have gone to better homes. I believed the people who got those books were sincere about writing a review. I did NOT ask them for a positive review. I asked them if they liked the book, to please review it.
I guess they didn't like the book.
Which brings me to my next point. I got a note from a reader who's on the list to receive review copies of ALL of Berkley Prime Crime's books. She asked me, "Is there a way I can get them to ONLY send the books I WANT to read?"
Uh, that would be no. They have one little slip of a woman who does that job, plus has to do all the rest of the PR for about 100 authors. Picking and choosing just the books this one potential reviewer MIGHT like to read is just one more thing she doesn't need to handle.
And the point of all this?
the Killer Characters Blog is advocating. Simply put, midlist authors only stay published if they sell books. PERIOD. Members of one of the reader lists I belong to were lamenting the fact that so many mystery series they LOVE have been canceled. It did not occur to these nice ladies that the reason they were canceled wasn't because the authors were bored writing them, THEY DIDN'T SELL ENOUGH FOR THE PUBLISHER TO KEEP PUBLISHING THEM.
So please, check out the Killer Characters Book Booster page. And the next time you lament that a favorite series has stopped being written remember just why that is.
P.S. Four of my author friends have recently had their series canceled. (And no, I'm not going to tell you which ones.) I have a feeling that in about six months from now there'll be another post on that reader loop asking, "What ever happened to the ______________ series???"