Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Where are they now? (Or, one week after)

Well, 2005 is gone--the 2005 POD-dy Mouth reviews, I mean. What a crazy year this was. As you all know, the stats speak for themselves, but perhaps there are a few more to add now that the Needle Awards have come to a close.

I knew some of the 80+ publishing professionals receiving the Needle Awards hype might be motivated to take a look at a manuscript or two, but I would never have imagined the actual result: no less than 68 requests for manuscripts/review copies spread out over the winners and finalists--and that's only including numbers from the seven authors I've heard from since the winners were announced.

As one finalist put it, "It's nice to be the one getting queried for a change."

Perhaps the most unexpected result of the awards was what came my way: not one, but two job offers from literary agencies (one agency and one single agent) to assist them in preparing submissions and begin a small list of submissions of my own. Very flattering stuff! However, I am certainly not agent material. I have a hard time focusing on specific genres (I like what I like for tangential reasons, usually) and I am a horrible schmoozer. I have so many friends in publishing; I would hate to imagine trying to sell them something. It's just not me.

I'll post updates as these authors land agents, deals or whatever. And if you haven't read one or more of these books, stop waiting for Dan Brown's next novel and try something new, eh?

As for 2006, many folks asked me if I was going to continue doing reviews. So somehow, in my blog entries, I must have been letting it show how burned out I was getting. I did indeed consider ending this blog, allowing it to stand as a lesson, a piece of history proving that good books are buried out there in the wild and if no one shines a light on them, they will die a quick, silent death.

But after thinking it over a bit, I decided to keep it alive--but I can in no way keep up the pace I did last year. A book a week is simply too difficult for one person to maintain (I have other obligations in this life--not to mention my own writing!) Some people have asked why I don't just review one book a week, a random selection, and review it for good or bad. Well, that goes against the very reason I started this blog. Of course there are average POD books out there--and of course there are horrible POD books out there (a lot of them), so reviewing them does nothing for anybody. The point was to find the books that were exceptional, the ones that could stand along side the Random House and St. Martin's and HarperCollins titles in your local Barnes and Noble. And that will remain the purpose of this blog--but I will only post book reviews as I find great books; the pressure of putting out a book review a week needs to end.

So, hopefully 2006 will be a banner year--and may likely be for whoever wins the 2006 Needles. And hey, let's be optimistic: Maybe I'll actually find 51 books this year.