When labors of love become labors of meh

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I’ve neglected this site and I am not entirely sure why. I think it’s partly because I’ve had another project in the wings but that’s not entirely it. And it’s been an uneven year but 2009-2010 were near catastrophic years and I wrote plenty then.

I think part of it is that I have always loathed reading what I must read as opposed to what I want to read. It’s childish, but there you are. The sheer bulk of review requests I receive is shocking. When I began this site, a writer I know from teh LiveJournal who also writes reviews, told me he had only ever received a couple of review requests and advanced reader copies throughout his tenure as a reviewer. I get three to four a week.

And that is all the more problematic because I myself am a failed fiction writer (failed as in I no longer write because I loathe finding an audience for my writing) and have in me an enthusiastic desire to read new writers and support their attempts to build a writing career. So I never say no, but failing to say no has put me in a position of reading books I must read as opposed to reading what I want. Not to say the books aren’t great -most are. But October is coming up and I want to read ghost stories and books about demons but feel all the review requests breathing down my neck, making it impossible to wallow in the season. I don’t like it when it reading becomes an obligation, so I procrastinate. Again, this is all very childish but I am who I am, you know.

(And for the love of your sanity and mine, if you have sent me a copy of something to read, do not have any mixed or odd feelings about this entry. People asking me to read their works is no the problem. My innate softness is, and my gooey nature is not your problem.)

I feel like the only way out of this mess I have gotten myself into is to hunker down, read like a demon and discuss as much as I can before the end of the year. Which sucks beyond the obvious because I like to go on at length about books I read. I give authors the discussions I wanted to read about my own works back when I still wrote fiction, and a full-onslaught to get my review copies read and discussed will mean a shorter word count.

But if I don’t just crap out content until I am caught up, I fear I will just stop writing all together and this site will die off.

So I am putting a moratorium on taking new review requests that I will likely lift at the beginning of 2013. Those I have accepted already will be read and if you have contacted me before today, yes, I will be reading your books, even if I have not responded to your e-mail yet. The only exception are those from the New Bizarro Authors Series. I will always accept books from those writers and that series.

I have a couple of regular reviews to finish, then in October I will finally get the Jim Goad, “Rape” zine discussion online. And from then it will be a full-bore writing assault to get caught up so I can begin January with an empty or near empty slate and hopefully this will put an end to my avoidance.

8 thoughts on “When labors of love become labors of meh

  1. I’ll be the first to say I’d hate to see this site die off. I’ve become a regular visitor and am sitting here with a copy of Population Zero because of it.

    As I’m sure others will attest, this is one of the best places to come to learn about new, interesting authors and read good, detailed reviews of their work. That’s an invaluable service for both readers and writers of the odd and you should be commended for it.

    I’ve got no doubt it must be exhausting at times, though. A few shorter reviews between now and 2013 is better than none at all.

    1. John, thanks for the praise. I remember fondly your sick and demented story, “Bebbel.” And despite the nature of this post, you must let me know when you have some new stories out. I really dig your style.

      Population Zero had a disappointing ending but overall was soooo good. I am very glad you are reading it and when finished let me know what you think.

      I feel very bad that it has come to this because everyone deserves a nice, long review. I am such a large child at times. But even Mr. Oddbooks noticed I’ve lost my oddbook verve lately and he is notoriously oblivious to my online habits. I just realized this week I have 103 books I promised to read. Possibly more because I am sort of unorganized. I need to get my e-shit together so I don’t disappoint others and myself. Bleah.

      But really, thanks for the words of encouragement!

  2. Just read and review what you want to read and review. The authors will understand if you don’t get to their books. Don’t feel obligated to read anything.

    1. This is probably true that the authors would understand, but at the same time, I actually stated on this site that I would read and review all the books people sent me, barring some catastrophic problem with the book. So I need to change how I approach things, I think.

      But I also need to man up, read what I said I would, and move on so I can discuss some of the terrifically odd shit that has come my way.

      Alas, the lament of the nice-girl odd book reader. Bleah.

  3. On one hand, I think it’s great this site is getting so much attention. Your reviews are fantastic and I think you’re filling a niche that really needed filling. I’ve discovered some great books through this site.

    On the other, 103 books? God in hell. I can see how that would be pretty daunting. Doing things you love always seems to lose its charm when it starts to feel like your job.

    1. You know, I think you may be on to something. Perhaps this is a job for me. I don’t have a day job, really. I’m sort of a strange housewife so why can’t I treat this like a job rather than sulking that I am unable to read what I want to read when I want to read it.

      It’s something to think about. Even if I treated this as a job it would still be the best job I ever had. Maybe it really is time to look at this site as a job or as a part of a job…

  4. Hey,

    I actually found you on line because I saw you reviewed Peter Sotos. Then in your above comment I saw you wrote about Jim Goad. I recently wrote him an email to see if he wanted to let me interview in this wacko magazine I write for http://altvariety.com/brian-whitneythe-man-who-wanted-to-fuck-everyone/.

    Anyway. I think my publisher sent you a book. 37 stories about 37 women. It’s an odd book. And I hope you read it and I hope you review it. But now I feel bad.

    1. Oh please don’t feel bad. I am just sulking because at times my childish nature gets the better of me. But I do have your book – it made it here way before my cut-off of new books. And rest assured, short story collections make me very happy so I will be pleased to read it when I get to it.

      Seriously, don’t feel bad. I never anticipated the attention I would get from writers and failed to set any sort of reasonable method for arranging requests. I actually think the Reddit thread was the final straw for my old way of doing things – I had a flood of requests.

      Change is hard and often whiny but no writer should feel bad about asking me to read their books or feel any sadness about my burden. Oh noes, she gets free books and writes about them! How very sad for her! šŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply to John McNee Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *