Entitlement is One Thing, Attempted Public Shaming is Another

Today, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, a little blog that’s been around a lot longer than mine, posted a review of James S.A. Corey’s Caliban’s War. He begins his review with one of the most asinine first paragraph I’ve ever read:

James S. A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes was one of my favorite reads of 2011 and I was eager to sink my teeth into its sequel! Sadly, there was a screw-up at Orbit and not only did I never receive an Advance Reading Copy, but I never got a review copy of the novel. It took a while for me to sort everything out, which is why this review of Caliban’s War was so late in coming.

Putting aside for a moment the smug tone and the sense of entitlement, neither of which I have a particular objection to beyond personal dislike, let’s focus on the intent of the statement.

It’s my opinion, and it’s one that I’m not sure can be read any other way, that Pat is pointing a finger at Orbit’s publicity department and shaking his finger at them. How dare they not make sure that Patrick St-Denis has a copy of every book they print that he might want to read well in advance of the general public? His review is late because Orbit screwed up (not because he was unwilling to I don’t know, purchase/NetGalley/library a copy for himself). It took him a while to sort everything out, which makes it sounds like he had to lasso the Orbit publicist and threaten her with a sock filled with quarters.

I hope the absurdity of all that is clear. The sad part is, Pat’s facts are just bad. For example:

  • Orbit does not produce Advanced Review of Copies after the first book in series.
  • Orbit does offer eBook review copies of books anywhere from 30 to 14 days before publication.
  • Orbit does send finished review copies of books right before publication.
  • Orbit is by far one of the best publishers about responding to my inquiries (thanks, Ellen).

Additionally, Pat may not be aware of a few reasons why Orbit may not have sent him Caliban’s War right away:

  • Sending books into Canada from NY is five times as expensive as it is to send it in the states.
  • Leviathan Wakes was Hugo nominated and widely read. Why give copies away?
  • Orbit has developed the most robust eBook review systems in publishing.
  • Pat’s reviews are often poorly constructed and unhelpful.

Lastly, why in holy hell does anyone give a shit whether he got a review copy of Caliban’s War or not? Read it and review it because you want to read it; not because the publisher sent you a copy. I find the entire discussion distasteful and frankly calls into question, at least partially, the quid pro quo implications that so many of us reviewers and bloggers fight on a daily basis. I could talk about those issues at length (again), but instead I’ll just link a few of my past posts on the subject.

Am I nuts, or is this just more bad form from a blogger who seems to provide that almost as rule?

Written by Justin Landon

Justin Landon

Justin Landon is the Overlord of Staffer’s Book Review. When he’s not writing things of dubious value to the world, he’s at the gym or being a dad. You can follow him on a multitude of social media, which is strongly suggested lest you miss out on vital information that could someday save your life.