FTC Regulations, et al

Just to reiterate what’s in the little box in the sidebar . . .

There are a handful of publishers and authors who send me books for free. Generally,┬áif I’m reading something from a small press, it was sent to me for free. Also, I’ll be notating if I received a book free in the future.

The rest of the books I review I, well, probably get from a library, buy used, or (very rarely) get for full price. I don’t have enough disposable income to buy three or five books a week new. I try to make up for the fact that authors don’t usually make royalties off of me by posting reviews.

Oh, and no one ever pays me for review content. Ever. That’s immoral. I will, occasionally, choose not to review a book that I’ve been sent due to, well, not being able to say anything at all nice about it, but I can only think of a couple instances of that in the two and some years I’ve been doing this.

In three weeks, I’ll be on Xmas break, so look for a pile of reviews then.

Someone’s Read it Already on Hiatus

I’m sure most of you have noticed, but Someone’s Read it Already is on hiatus. I’m starting law school in, oh, two weeks, and we’ve just moved to a new city. I’ll post reviews as I read books, especially in the next few days, but I can’t do the regular posts until I’m on breaks.

Sorry! Please enjoy the, oh, three hundred reviews already posted here.

Race and Speculative Fiction, or Where I’ve Failed

After the events of RaceFail ’09 (Google it if you’re interested), find it has come to my attention that my personal commitment to diversity is . . . flawed. Deeply, profoundly flawed.

I don’t mean to get horribly political, but I don’t think that a commitment to diversity is all that controversial. While I’ve chosen, generally, to limit myself to speculative fiction books (YA and adult), I can do my best not to read and review the same book over and over. Of course, there are differences between every vampire love story, but I can do better than that. I can try to read books by people who aren’t the dominant force in publishing.

Of course, the ‘dominant force in publishing’ can be seen as many things. It could mean ‘the major publishers in New York City,’ and I’ve done pretty well at encouraging that kind of diversity. I’ve had Small Press Weeks, Free Books on the Internet Week, and even a Self-Publishing Week. The ‘dominant force in publishing’ could also be men, and more than half of my reviews are of books written by women. It could also be heterosexuals, and I’ve tried to search out books by authors who are queer, or authors who include well-rounded queer characters. (It’s a little difficult when the majority of the books one reviews are YA fantasies, but still.) It could be middle-class and above people, but I don’t really know how to find books by working-class and lower-middle-class writers (other than, I think, Gennita Low, who works as a roofer — but she owns the company). (If anyone has suggestions on that last one, I’d love to hear them.) It could be authors who write in English, but I am only truly competent to read in English, and there aren’t that many spec-fic books published in other languages and then translated into English. (Cornelia Funke, obviously. Does anyone know of any else?)

Most obviously, the ‘dominant force in publishing’ is white people. This is where I fall down precipitously. I’ve reviewed, to my knowledge, a whopping TWO books by authors of color, and perhaps three more that, while written by white people, have significant amounts of non-white characters. (More specifically, the ones who treat them in a way where the race and ethnicity of the characters is actually apparent, not the ones where they are white people other than perhaps their coloring and clothing.)

I am certain, without a doubt, that not all my readers are middle-class educated heterosexual Midwestern-American WASP-y white women like I am. Odds are that most of them share at least one of these traits, and that a fair amount of them actually have the majority of them. That still doesn’t give me an excuse for not reading and reviewing more books by people of color.

So, to remedy this, I’ve got a date with a bookstore tomorrow. I’ve gone through and tagged both of my reviews of authors of color with ‘author-of-color,’ and the books with significant characters of color with ‘characters-of-color.’ I’ll continue the tagging with all the new reviews that I write, and I hope that my readers will be encouraged to search out more of these authors and books.

Also, because I am a shameless self-promoter, if any spec-fic authors of color, especially from small publishers, would like to send me a copy of their book (electronic or dead-tree), I encourage them to contact me at steph @ readalready. com (remove the spaces).

Genre is EVERYWHERE.

Hello, read more gentle readers! This week, rheumatologist I’m treating you to reviews of five books that, physician well, may or may not be speculative fiction books. More importantly, these are books and authors who have received a good deal of attention from the mainstream literary fiction critics and readers. Yesterday’s book and author, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, won many awards and is commonly read by people who don’t read science fiction. Today’s review, to be posted shortly, is a book in a similar situation.

Later this week, we’ll hear about a Nobel Prize laureate, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and another genre-straddling book that manages to include all genres and yet be classified in none.

Obviously I like genre literature; I don’t assume that a book is light fare just because of where it’s shelved. However, I do like poking gentle fun at people who swear they’d never consider reading science fiction and yet have read The Handmaid’s Tale, or people who think fantasy is pointless but not only have read Wicked but own the soundtrack and have seen the Broadway musical more than once. Sure, there’s trivial fantasy and bad science fiction, but just because a book is shelved in General Fiction doesn’t mean that it’s contemporary (or maybe historical) realistic fiction, and we should admit this and celebrate it.

Self-Publishing Week

I don’t know all the reasons that people choose to self-publish, glaucoma and I won’t pretend to. Some people do because New York won’t pay attention to them; some people do because they’re writing something that’s got a limited audience; some people do because they don’t like the publishing industry. I don’t even know that I’ve got a good example of each.

What I do know is that somehow I managed to collect enough self-published books to make an entire week’s worth of reviews (actually, discount rx more than that), and I’m doing that this week.

If you have anything to mention about self-published books regarding motivation or a great one you read recently, please feel free to comment.

Small Press Week II at Someone’s Read it Already

A couple months ago, cure we had the first installment of Small Press Week. I’ve managed to collect another five publishers, pilule so we’re having our second installment of Small Press Week (Small Press Week — the Sequel!) already. I’m very happy to be doing this; there is a wealth of small publishers out there, stomach for every kind of book you can imagine.

As I said last time, there are many reasons to publish with a small press; there are also many reasons to start a small publishing company. In some cases, the publishers decided that they could do better in some way, shape, or fashion. In other cases, the publishers saw a hole in the market and wanted to fill it. In all cases, though, the publishers (at least the ones I’ve selected) are dedicated to providing the best product possible for their readers.

Some of the publishers I’ve selected specialize in classics; some specialize in women’s fiction; some specialize in short-story collections. Some are British (actually, 3 of them are); some are American. (I haven’t tempted an Australian, New Zealander, or Canadian publisher yet, and I can only read in English. Unfortunately.) Some have been around for quite a few years; one is barely two. Some we’ve seen before in Small Press Week — the Original; most of them are brand-new to me as well as to Small Press Week.

As always, if you are a small publisher and you’d like to be included in Small Press Week III, please send me an email (see the ‘Contact’ button above).

Call for Publishers and Self-Publishers

Recently, otolaryngologist we at Someone’s Read it Already had a Small Press Week. Some of you may remember it, although it was a whole month and a half ago. In any case, we’ve got books lined up for a second Small Press Week — except we don’t actually have a week’s worth. We’ve got three, and we need five for it to be a whole week. If any small/independent publishers would like to have us review their books and discuss their press a little bit, I’ve got two slots open.

Secondarily, we’ve got perhaps three solid examples of self-publishing (people who have opted out of the traditional publishing structure, for whatever reason) and we need two more in order to have a full week. If you happen to be an author who has self-published any work (whether you’ve also published stuff through a traditional press is irrelevant to us) and you think that we’d like to read it, feel free to tell us about it.

Publishers, authors, publicists, and interested members of the public can contact us either by leaving a comment, or by clicking the “Contact” button up to your right. (If you’re reading this via RSS, you’ll have to go to the actual page.) There’s more information up there.

We of course accept e-copies of books for review; unfortunately, our book-buying budget is limited at the moment (got a wedding coming up!) so dropping $20 on a book by an author we’ve never heard of that no one else has ever reviewed isn’t exactly going to happen (not with Tamora Pierce publishing a new book that is STILL not in our possession, it isn’t). However, we will consider any and all suggestions, even if they don’t come with a free book attached.

(Also, um, if you’re a publicist or author waiting for us to review your book and you’re a small press or self-pubbed, well, that’s what’s going on — they’re being saved for a big feature week. No, really. And if you’re none of the above but Stephanie is still holding one of your books hostage, then she would like to mention that she’s very much enjoying it, but at five books a week, she is having trouble budgeting time to finish an awesome epic very long novel, and she’d like to apologize.)

It should of course be mentioned that primarily over here we review SF and fantasy, both YA and adult. Stephanie doesn’t particularly love super-hard or military SF, but she has guest/occasional reviewers who do; some of them don’t like romance novels disguised as SF/fantasy, but Stephanie does.

Again, we hope you’d like to send us something!