Why Some Books Are Never Reviewed


No self-published author in creation is a stranger to knee-jerk rejection of his material. Heck! we’re lucky if we receive so much as a mannerly response. In fact, some commercial publishers and literary agents have been known to pinch (there’s no other word for it) the books we submit for consideration for commercial publication. But something I do object to, and strongly at that, is a recent rejection slip I received for my review of Manchester United, Man and Babe [ISBN978-1848185036], the autobiography of local boy made good Wilf McGuinness – ex-England player, ex-Man U player and manager, too.

‘This book title is not current,’ sniffed its Mancunian-based journalistic recipient.

My point precisely!

Because, with the content of Wilf McGuiness’s book being so obviously of interest to local people, the literary bod in question ought by rights to have reviewed it herself when it was first published fully 18 months ago.

What happens in respect of newspaper reviews, you see, is that book reviewers receive news of an impending book launch well in advance of publication, plus a free review copy upon publication. Whereupon they then pick the books they want to review, and those they will, instead, sell on at a profit to second-hand book sellers and via Amazon.

Note, though, that the only book titles reviewers ever think of reviewing are titles current.

Personally, I think this is wrong.


Because this reviewer’s initial disinclination to review Wilf McGuinness’s book, by way of example, tends to ensure it will never be reviewed.

Anyway, this is the sad situation I will be looking to redress within this occasional contribution of mine. That is to say, I intend to review “old” books quite as often as I review new ones. And I will be making quite sure that any titles I come across which deal with our especial interest, self-publishing, will go directly to a position of preference at the very top of the pile.

I mean to say, it’s not as if readers are unable to get hold of book titles non-current nowadays. Quite the contrary is true. Because given internet access, I personally have long been able to locate a whole raft of books, current and non-current, via Amazon, eBay and ABEbooks (Advanced Book Exchange). Hey, I once upon a time accessed from 4,500 miles distantOklahoma Citya current book title at a lower price than my local book shop was asking for it – and received a George V Higgins back number that Waterstone’s doesn’t stock for an absolute pittance fromNew York,New York, of all places.

Note, too, that Amazon in theUKoffers readers a very tempting deal whereby, if you buy a new book from them priced @ only £5 or more, they will deliver it to your home address inclusive of post and packing.

None of which is to say that the books you’ll be getting hold of can’t be second-hand. I often buy books for a quid on local markets. I’ll be telling you where I buy them, too.

Ah, the final whistle!Still, never mind. Because you’ll certainly be able catch up with Wilf McGuinness and his story next time. Meanwhile, you’ll find the cheapest available copy of his must-read autobiography is currently on sale on Amazon priced @ just £8.37 inc. p&p.

Bill Keeth’s books, Every Street in Manchester ISBN 1859880649 & Write It Self-Publish It Sell It ISBN 97809558863 are available from Amazon and all good book shops. Bill can also be contacted via his website, http://www.novelnovella.com.

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