The Lazy Critic’s Secret: Less is Less

Early days yet, only a few publishers and authors submitting eARCs (electronic advance review copies) but already I have a great deal of reading (and reviewing) to do. This raises the fearsome spectre of “The Backlog.” People might get cranky if they send something in and months go by before they see the results.

After all, is not the whole point of advance publicity to get people all excited in advance of a book’s publication? Why, yes, from the book publisher’s point of view.

But how timely can OBIR be when it only comes out once a month? And there’s only room for X number of reviews? And the critic involved happens to be mind-bogglingly lazy and adamantly opposed to being rushed simply in order to meet someone else’s deadline? I mean, it’s only their livelihood and their money and their careers that are at stake. I see no reason to feel pressured because of minor details like that. From my point of view this is a leisured Gentleman’s gig.

Besides, this is an age when books hang around forever. You see, the traditional one or two weeks of bookstore shelf space allocated to a book is largely irrelevant nowadays, in that determined readers can easily pay for a download either direct from the publisher or from outfits like Amazon (which I assume financially benefits both the publisher and the authors as well as the third part seller, but I’m not clear on the details).

So, if, for example, I start reviewing a few stories at a time from an anthology published two or three years ago, there’s no need for the publisher and the authors to start tearing their hair out over my “idiocy” at “wasting” publicity on a book no longer available in the book stores (except maybe by special order), because the book in question is likely still easily available to the reader at the click of a couple of keyboard buttons.

And I would argue that bringing attention to past works by authors OBIR readers may not be familiar with bodes well for said authors’ upcoming works once they finally appear, as OBIR readers may be willing to try out a “new” author based on reviews they’d previously read in OBIR. Unless, of course, I had described them as the worst writers ever hatched and not worth acknowledging, let alone reading. In which case all bets are off.

Then again, given my rep for biased and ignorant reviews, a negative blast from me could well boost sales. Hard to predict.

Be that as it may, I’m going to try to “streamline” production of OBIR in an attempt to speed things up, such that more than one issue will come out a month. I can accomplish this by limiting the amount of material in a given issue. I envision that every issue (or at least the average issue) will contain the following:

1) reviews of every story in the pages of a “spotlighted” Canadian magazine with its cover appearing on OBIR’s cover.

2) two or three reviews of isolated stories by Canadian authors appearing in foreign magazines and anthologies.

3) two reviews each from five or six Canadian anthologies being “serialized” till all their stories have been reviewed.

4) Two or three reviews of Canadian genre novels.

5) One interview or article concerning a Canadian author or publisher.

6) A letter of comment column.

I’m hoping this will, at the very least, guarantee monthly publication, and preferably twice a month publication, or maybe twice a month every two months. Something like that. At any rate the reviews, functioning as publicity, will be somewhat more timely.

If I manage to produce two issues per month on a regular basis, how will I date them? Say, #3 and #4 both coming out in July?

Simple. #3 will be the July issue. #4 will be the August issue.

By this scheme of things, issues 13 and 14 published in December 2015 will be dated May 2016 and June 2016.

Stupid and pointless of course, but the concept vastly amuses me and makes me grin from ear to ear. No doubt to the irritation of future researchers and librarians, but I don’t care.

Call it my pathetic attempt to time travel beyond my lifespan. What the heck. Why not?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.