Saturday, January 28, 2012

To the book reviewers

This might come as a shock, but I like to read. I know! An author who reads books? Well try to keep your eyeballs in your heads, folks, because I'm going to tell it like it is. Straight up truth! Ahem, anyway.

SO, I like to read (duh), and because there are way way way more books out there than I could possibly ever consume even if reading was my full time job, I also enjoy book reviews. Especially clever, funny, insightful reviews that are as entertaining to read as they are informative about the book (see all of Smart Bitches). I have an RSS feed of dozens of reviewers I read on a regular basis just because I like hearing about books. This list includes reviewers whose opinions I never agree with, but who I keep reading just because I like seeing the other side. And as an author, I especially love book reviewers because without them, getting any attention for a debut novel that doesn't have a big ad push behind it would be nearly impossible.

I know what you're saying, "Ok, Rachel, we get it, you're a book review nerd. Why are you stating the obvious?" Well, because there's been some shenanigans going on across the internet that, I feel, need some addressing.

First off, let's review what a book reviewer actually is. A book reviewer is someone who reads and gives their opinions so that other people who might be interested in a title can get a taste for if the book is their thing or not before they purchase it. This means a book reviewer's audience is their readers, the people who come to their site or column or Goodreads account to check out what books are worth pursuing. A book reviewer has no obligation to give a book a good review. A book reviewer has no obligation to review a book AT ALL (well, unless they work as a reviewer for a paper that demands reviews of certain books as part of the job).

The vast majority of book reviewers these days, especially in genre fiction, write reviews as a labor of love. They don't get paid for it other than whatever advertising they can get from their websites, and many don't make any money off their reviews at all. With this in mind, I get astoundingly frustrated when I see things like this. Yep, that is a contract sent by a (small) publisher to a book reviewer. A CONTRACT, for a book review, telling them things like what review system they should use, and trying to make them sign over rights to their review, etc. etc. And in return for all this rights snatching and bombastic downtalking, the lowly reviewer has the honor of reviewing the publisher's books.

*deep, calming breath*

Ok, so this is one really horrid example of how people can get forget the fact that every time a book reviewer selects a book to talk about, they are doing the publisher a favor. But there are plenty of examples of authors and publishers treating reviewers and book bloggers like they are the ones who should be grateful, and that's just not how things works. A good review is not the reward you get for sending someone a free copy of your book. Every review, good, bad, or otherwise, is a gift. Each one represents a book lover taking time out of their life to read and write something thoughtful about your work. Authors and publishers should spend their time worrying about how they can thank reviewers and make getting books to them easier, not how they can best ensure a stream of positive reviews in time to meet their pub date.

So, just in case I haven't made it clear yet, let me go ahead and give you Rachel Aaron's official policy on book reviews:

If you reviewed my book, thank you. If you loved it and said so, you made my day a million times over, thank you! If you hated it, I'm sorry, but still, thank you for reviewing it. If you reviewed it on Amazon, thank you. If you gave it one star, it made me sad, but I'm STILL GLAD YOU DID IT. I said it before and I'll say it again, every review is a gift. Every single person who took their time to say something, anything, about my book deserves my appreciation and thanks.

There are thousands and thousands of books published every year in the US alone. For a new author like myself, the greatest threat is getting lost in that sea of titles. My fear isn't getting bad reviews, it's having my book sink because no one knew it was there. Every time someone writes a review of my work, even if that review isn't glowing, new readers hear about my book, and the risk of fading away grows less.

Book review work is demanding, the least I can do is try my utmost to make sure it is never thankless. So to all reviewers out there, the big ones and the small ones, the pros and the casual Amazon raters, thank you. Thank you for reviewing my book. Thank you for reviewing books period. Thank you for helping to get new authors going and bring attention to older books that might have gotten overlooked. I owe a great many of my sales to my reviews, and I never, ever forget that.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. And if anyone tries to treat you badly, I will cut them.

Yours forever,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Orbit France made me a BOOK TRAILER!

Seriously BLOWN AWAY!

La l├ęgende d'Eli Monpress, Le voleur aux... by Orbit_Books

It's in French, but you get the general gist. DailyMotion is kind of annoying with ads, I'll put up a better link if I can I get one. Still, the trailer is COOL. Soooooo cool!!! Thank you guys!!

Fantastic Eli Review, now in English!

So a few days ago I was utterly blown over by an incredibly imaginative comic-style review from Sita at Only problem (for me, at least)? It was in French! But then, as I bemoaned never getting to read it, Sita contacted me over Twitter with an offer to translate! Rachel's Day: MADE! So, without further ado, here is the translated review!

Is that not the best thing ever? Thanks again to the wonderfully talented Sita for drawing this! Her other reviews are just as cool, you should totally go to her site and check them out! You can read the original French version here if you're cool like that. Thanks a million times, Sita, and I hope you enjoy the other books when they come out in French!

- Rachel

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Spirit War, coming at you!

As you might have noticed from the lovely new look, I've updated my website and blog to match my glorious new covers!

I mean, can't have new covers without a new site, can you?

But that's not the best part. The BEST part is that my new site includes a big, 3 chapter sample from The Spirit War, including the prologue which might as well be a Josef short story! It's still a long wait until the book comes out in June, but hopefully this will help ease the wait. Or make it worse? Either way, I hope you enjoy it, along with my spiffy new site!

Now, back to the final edits on Spirit's End. Siiigh, it feels like the end, too. Poor Eli, he was so enjoying being the main character. Don't worry, Eli, you'll always be my main character! (Eli: You say that to all your characters. Rachel: *innocent whistling*)

Friday, January 6, 2012

A happy New Year indeed!

There is no one more excited about 2012 than I am, and for reasons that have nothing to do with ancient calendars. 2012 is the year when the final two Eli books come out at last! I am SO HAPPY about this! Finally I get to share the end of the story with everyone, which means the time when I can stop worrying about slipping up and dropping a spoiler is in sight. Woo!

The Spirit War comes out in June, and Spirit's End, the fifth and final Eli novel, comes out in November. And even though I'm not supposed to have favorites, I have to tell you that these two books are probably the best I've ever written. I am UNCOMFORTABLY EXCITED about people getting to read them at last!

To celebrate, here's a large, lovely version of the cover of The Spirit War, as well as the back cover blurb! (Warning, back blurb might be a spoiler if you haven't read the first three books. Not a bad spoiler, but if you're very sensitive about these things, you might want to skip it. Or read the first three books, a much better idea!) 

"All Eli Monpress wanted was the biggest bounty in the world. He never meant to have obligations, or friends, but master swordsman Josef Leichten and Nico, the daughter of the dead mountain, have saved Eli's life too many times to be called anything else. And when a friend upsets your plans and ruins all your hard work, what's a thief to do?

After years of running from his birthright, Josef is forced to return home and take up his title as prince. War is coming for humans and spirits between the Immortal Empress and the Council of Thrones, and Josef's little island is right in the middle. But conquest isn't the Empress's only goal, she has a personal vendetta against a certain thief.

What started as a simple side trip to help a friend is rapidly turning into the most dangerous job of Eli's career, but he can't back out now, not when Josef needs him. But when you're under attack from all sides, even the world's greatest thief can find himself cornered, and it's going to take all the fast talking Eli can muster to survive the next few days."

ALSO! Did you see that the lovely and amazing Felicia Day reviewed the first three Eli novels on Goodreads? Well she did, and she had lots of nice things to say! I've been a fan of hers for years, and I gotta tell you, I nearly died when I saw she called The Spirit Eater, caps lock quote, "a REALLY good book." To say I was fangirling over this would be an irresponsible understatement. I was positively levitating with happiness. Having people you admire read and like your books out of the blue? Priceless.

And in other big news, I've written a short story set in the Eli world that will be coming out on Feb. 15 to celebrate the Omnibus! It's called Spirit's Oath, and it's the story of how Miranda and Gin met. Here's the full blurb:

"Four years before the events of The Spirit Thief, Miranda Lyonette was a young apprentice Spiritualist on the cusp of a promising career. But on the eve of her return from bonding a wind spirit, a night that should have been a celebration, she finds instead that her father has come to take her home. Now, Miranda must choose between her duty to her family and her future at the Spirit Court. But while she's trying to make her parents see reason and avoid an arranged marriage to a man she can't stand, she stumbles across the one one spirit who needs her more than any other, a caged ghosthound who doesn't want her help. To save him, Miranda will have to earn the dog's trust, but what she gets in return is a friendship deeper than anything she expected."

At 20k words it's more like a mini-novel than a short story, but if you enjoy ghosthounds you should totally give it a try. It will be available digitally through Orbit Short Fiction, which is a really fantastic little story shop if you haven't seen it yet.

Whew, ok, I think I got everything there. Lots of great Eli stuff coming your way, I hope you're ready! I know I am!

Thanks for reading!
- Rachel