For Authors and Publicists

I regularly receive e-mails from writers and publicists asking if I’ll review a book or mention an upcoming event. I want to be a good host and respond to the requests that come in, but I also don’t want to mislead people about what I will and won’t do. So, a quick FAQ:

Will you review my book?

Maybe. It helps if the book you’ve written/are pitching is relevant to my main interest, which should be pretty obvious. I should say I don’t restrict my reading to contemporary American fiction. I’d also like to hear about graphic novels, biographies, and books about popular culture, particularly film. I’m not averse to novels by non-Yanks, but there are only so many books a person can get to, and I tend to stick to what I like and know best. Renaissance men are overrated.

Uh, is that a yes?

If what you’re hoping for is a newspaper-style, 500-1,000-word review of your book, it’s probably not going to show up here. I make a distinction between what I do on this blog and what I do as a critic, a point I’ve written a little more about in “Why Book Bloggers Don’t (Often) Review Books.” I do have a handful of review outlets that I write for, including Washington City Paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews.

Great! Where should I send it?

Drop me a line and I’ll pass the address info along. If there’s more information that you as a publicist need from me to put me on your lists, let me know and I’ll do my best to fill you in.

So what are you scanning for? I don’t want to send my book down a black hole!

Spending a little time with the stuff in the “Recent Work” column on the right-hand rail of the main page should give you some idea of my likes and dislikes. My pieces on my favorite books of 2008 and 2009 might come in handy as well. Other than that—well, read the blog. I think some of my interests have become clear since I’ve launched the site.

If you’re a D.C. author doing a reading—or you’re coming to town to read—please let me know so I can add you to my D.C. Area Readings page. I take a particular interest in books attached to upcoming events out here.

My book is self-published. Interested?



One must draw the line somewhere, and I’m drawing it there. I’ve tried, honest, but I’ve yet to encounter a self-published book that held my interest more than it loudly broadcasted its failings.

I know you say you aren’t interested in self-published books, but my self-published book is different because…

It turns out that there are indeed parts of “no” that people don’t understand. I routinely get messages from self-published authors and/or their proxies, despite a clear directive not to contact me. There’s probably nothing to be done about such inability to follow directions, which only proves the amateurishness I’m trying to avoid, but to make it plain: If you’re a self-published author, I don’t want to hear about, read, or otherwise experience your book. Please don’t waste my time, or yours, contacting me about it.

This wasn’t as helpful a FAQ as I hoped.

Tell me what you need to know. I’m at