Friday, May 18, 2007

The Truth & Nothing But the Truth

Many of you may be thinking that I must be nuts, trying to attain credibility as an honest reviewer while apparently heaping all my praise on the same couple of authors. Reading the newest review over at POD Critic has inspired me to come clean concerning the whole issue. His review of Ciao! Miami has reminded me all too clearly of what has most certainly been the weakest book reviewed in the history of this blog, and the weaknesses of both books are virtually the same. Bear with me a bit while I explain the close relationships of the subjects stated above.

I cannot tell you why POD Critic chooses to review any particular book, but I can explain my own choices. The most important factor you must understand is that I receive very few actual submission requests, and the time I allot to each submission is probably a lot greater than that expended by any other reviewer. Practically all of my computer time is spent doing research. When I am reading a book for review, I read it only at the times I would otherwise devote to reading any other book, and I love big, fat books. I buy my reading by the pound, and you will never intimidate me with the length of a book. Most of the time, I actually prefer to read paperbacks simply because they are not so heavy to carry around. If I spend several weeks reading a 500-page book, so be it. I have yet to turn down a request for a review. Exactly three of the submissions I accepted by a whisker. If Susan Higginbotham's title and subject matter had been Edward II, I would have rejected it as a cheater, no matter how good the book may have been, and we all know that it is one of iU's shining stars, in both quality and sales. I accepted Dead On for review because I am a big fan of Brian De Palma, and the genre seemed to skirt his style, which it does. I also wanted to know if most of iU's optional praise and support for some books is bullshit. Guess what? It is. When Portraits in the Dark, another quick read, was offered to me right after Dead On, it offered me a chance to test another theory I had about iU's bull puckey. Guess what? The bull took another dump. At least I still had my dignity and credibilty intact. You see, I don't just heap praise on any book submitted to me!

Before I go on to sing the praises of Al Past, Lorrieann Russell, and a number of others, let's revisit a tiresome, old problem: proofreading. In short, most of you iUniverse authors out there are obviously shirking the drudgery. Your duty to your readers has been ignored because that part of the job just isn't any fun. Yeah, I know the old lament that you were just in a hurry to see your masterpieces in print, but give your loyal readers a break. They have usually paid more to read your excessive error count than they would have for a traditionally published book with a lot less errors by a well-established author. Just so you know, I am not the pot calling the kettle black, either. When I count errors, I give you every benefit of the doubt that is reasonable. I edit my own books and I have read my own books, not just in the manuscript form I spent endless time working on, but the final, published books, and I counted errors in those final reads. Some of the best storytelling ya'll have submitted to me have error counts that are easily eight to ten times the error counts of each of my books. I do my own proofreading. Ya'll can do it, too. Once and for all, enough said?

Ya'll can complain that I just review the same authors over and over with the same glowing reviews if you want to because, in the near future at least, that trend is going to continue. I'm writing this now while I listen to Sandy Nelson's best album. It was killer music when it was released in 1962, and it still makes me want to jump for joy. Quality never fades away, and that's the very point of this paragraph. Al Past takes me into a Spielbergian fantasy with Ana Darcy and her loving husband who have adventures that will bring your apple-pie emotions to your face. Lorrieann Russell reminds me why I like misfits and witches. Susan Higginbotham shows me how someone can spin a spellbinding soap opera that even I like. Tim Phelan reminds me that bathroom humor is funny. Several other authors have presented some very special nonfiction subjects to a waiting audience. Before I became a reviewer, I didn't even know what Sudetenland was, or that yankees had heartwarming adventures on the baseball field, too. Yes, of course that's a joke! I certainly didn't realize that the submarine had been initially perfected to whup them yankees, and no, that's not a joke. Believe it or not, I wrote the reviews I thought each book deserved. The only little secret I want to share now is that, in the case of a few of them, there may have been somewhat more of a problem with the plot, characters, or composition quality than I indicated. I may have leaned toward criticism of the editing and proofreading in those cases, just to ease the pain for the author. This applies to those books at the bottom of the spectrum, not the top.

I am almost through with the reading of Lorrieann's sequel, which of course will be the next review. Alan Draven's Bitternest is supposed to be the next one after that, but I have not received it yet. I expect it any day now. Since it had to be sent from north of Yankeeland, Bitternest will be the first book I have reviewed after another member of The Ring. Since this is Nothing But the Truth, I must confess that in no way could I have beat PODler to the draw on that one since Lorrieann writes big books, and the rule on this blog has always been first come, first served. It even looks as if Al Past's Reincarnation will be third in line. Whenever ya'll get tired of the Al Past / Lorrieann Russell fan club, ya'll can always send me some more submissions. Maybe one of these days, I'll even turn one down.

No comments: