Friday, September 5, 2014

Reviewer of the Future

I like books.  But one thing that is even better than books is free books!

So I'd like to share the story about how I became the reviewer of the future.  A position that receives infinite books in exchange for reviews.

About a year ago, I discovered the Goodreads First Reads program.  It's basically the greatest thing ever.  The way it works is that there are authors who would like reviews of their works.  These authors are willing to give away a free copy of their work in exchange for an honest review.  (I'm sure they would prefer a good review, but I think the fact that they ask for an honest review lends more value to good reviews.)

They list on Goodreads that they are giving away x number of copies.  People like me sign up saying they are interested in a copy, and then they select who they give the books to.  (I assume there are any number of factors that help them decide, everything from what type of reviews the individuals have written in the past, to complete randomness.)

When I discovered this program, I started signing up for books like a madman.  It took a while to be selected.  But once I got selected for a few and read them and wrote reviews quickly, I think that increased my karma in the eyes of future authors doing giveaways.  I began getting a lot more.  I became so inundated with free books that I completely stopped signing up because I wanted to catch up on all the books I'd received, and I also had other books I was interested in reading.  (I still pay for books, crazy I know.)

But it turns out, there comes a point where you don't have to sign up for giveaways in order to receive giveaways.  Last year, one of the books that I won and reviewed was Writers of the Future Volume 29.  I gave it a rave review, not because I was trying to flatter anyone in response for getting a free book (I have given several one star reviews, even from free books) but because I really thought it was that good.

I had never been exposed to the Writers of the Future contest before, but it's really a great thing.  It is a contest for amateur authors.  If you have never published a novel, and have published less than 2 short stories, you are eligible for this contest.  The contest is ongoing, with winners every 3 months.  The winners get a cash prize and get the opportunity to be published in the annual Writers of the Future collection while still retaining complete ownership of their story with its copyright privileges and control of future publishing.

So I read a great collection, loved it, reviewed it, and discovered an awesome program that helps fledgling writers.  If that was the end of the story, it would be a happy ending.  But it's not.  (I know you're on the edge of your seat waiting to know what happens next.)  (Okay, not really, I recognize I can't make a story about a book review that interesting.  Thanks for sticking around anyway.)

The following year, I was contacted by Galaxy Press, the publisher of the Writers of the Future collections.  They were getting ready to publish Volume 30, and they enjoyed my review so much the previous year that they said they'd like to send me another free copy.

Of course I said yes!

Doesn't it look so fun?  It's even more fun when it's free!

It did take me a while to get to it.  I was busy reading Hugo nominated works.  But, I did finally post a review.  Fun fact:  I loved it just as much as the previous year's collection.  After posting it, I was contacted by Galaxy Press.  They said they appreciated the detail I put into it, and I'm on the list to receive next year's collection.  Booya!

So I have named my new position the Reviewer of the Future.  I don't know if I will retain this position for all eternity, but I'd like to let Galaxy Press know that I am willing to review these collections as long as they are willing to continue to send them.

Also, I'd like everyone else to know that the Reviewer of the Future is also willing to review other things besides the Writers of the Future contest.

I do recommend sending me things that are actually good.  I do have this problem where I'm honest, so I'm more than willing to say that something is garbage if it actually is.  But that honesty means that I will fawn over your work like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, if it actually is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  (Which is difficult, because sliced bread is awesome.)

Do you have anything I need to read?  The Reviewer of the Future is ready.

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