I’m not a book critic, but even so every-so-often I get hit up by authors or publishers who’d like to send me a review copy of a new crime novel. I received a solicitation today from an author, and his pitch included the following publicity material (the names have been deleted to protect the innocent):
[The Book] has been blurbed by Famous Author #1, Famous Author #2, Famous Author #3 and Famous Author #4. It’s up for the 2006 Edgar Award for Best First Novel – Famous Author #1 seems to believe it’s a shoo-in to win.
First off, the 2006 Edgars were announced last year and his book wasn’t one of them. He’s actually referring to the 2007 Edgars for books published in 2006. Fine. But it appears that he’s implying that his book has been nominated for an Edgar…which it hasn’t. At least not yet. The nominations won’t be announced until February.
So what he’s bragging about is that his book has been submitted for Edgar consideration. That’s hardly an achievement. Anybody with a crime novel published in 2006 could submit their book for consideration…and probably did. We’re talking about hundreds of submissions.
I explained this to him as politely as I could and, to reinforce my point, I included the list of about 100 other authors who were "up for an Edgar" in the same category as him. I suggested that he drop the frivolous Edgar reference from his pitch. What I didn’t say was that bragging that he was "up for an Edgar" made him look ridiculous. He replied:
thanks for catching that about the Edgars, wasn’t trying to be squirrely — i’d best change it to "it’s in submission for the Edgars."
I cringed from head-to-toe in embarrassment for the guy. I probably should have dropped it there, but I wrote him back and told him that submitting your book for Edgar consideration isn’t an achievement, either. Any author with some postage stamps and a book out in 2006 could do that. What I didn’t tell him was that bragging about sending his book to the Edgar committee would make him look even more ridiculous than what he’d already written.
He may be a great writer but he has a lot to learn about self-promotion.
UPDATE (Jan 19, 2007) He wasn’t nominated. So much for being a shoo-in.