Friday, December 13, 2013

Fear and Loathing on the Netgalley Trail

I have recently discovered Netgalley, and my life may never be the same. It’s like having your plane crash on a mysterious island and suddenly you can walk and may never need that stinking wheelchair again. (I really miss Lost sometimes) 

Netgalley is a site where publishers offer up review copies of their books. Many of these are advanced copies. Anyone can join. You write up your profile, and much like a dating website, you try to load it with reasons you are worthy of their time and they should approve your request.  Something like; “hey baby, I like walks on the beach, I got 500,000 twitter followers, I’m a top reviewer on goodreads, I have a cool blog love nest, and I like to cuddle.” 

Then you go out and look at the goods. Pictures of their cover, blurbs from other authors… see, it’s like  

You request the books you want, and then you wait. And you wait. And you hope you are approved. If you are approved, you do a little dance, jump for joy, and think, “wow, I’m so cool.”

There’s a strange addiction to getting approved. Maybe it plays to some elitist side I have, or a needy ego, but I have heard from at least one long time netgalley user that their “I just got approved” dance is still going strong.  

I was approved for 3 books pretty quick. Two of these, “Runner” by Patrick Lee and “Running With the Pack,” I have already reviewed. Another is coming. 

 I recently requested Jeff Strand’s new book “I Have A Bad Feeling About This.”  Netgalley had warned in advance about the high demand and limited number of copies. Surely a bottom-feeder like me was trying to eat way too high up the netgalley food chain. 

This required action. I decided to be proactive and threaten the author. I publicly threatened to dress Jeff Strand up as a clown and barbeque him alive if I was not approved. And that is no joke, but it is hilarious, since Jeff has a book out called Dead Clown Barbeque which includes a short story with this very premise (The clowns aren’t always burned alive, some are killed first, and they taste different depending on their cause of death. Sorry, I just spoiled it. The story, not the BBQ clown. Never mind.)

Jeff was scared
Violence begets acceptance, and I shortly thereafter received the message “Your request has been approved and you can now access the title by logging into NetGalley.”

There. I thought you’d see things my way.

So far, my only denial has been for Jo Nesbo's “Cockroaches”  but I made the mistake of picking a United Kingdom publisher (much too far away to threaten and back it up).

I am starting to think that when I grow up, I want to be a professional book reviewer. I want to do for Book reviews what Hunter S Thompson did for journalism. Gonzo-Book Reviews. I will put myself into the story, throw objectivity out the window and read while I travel and do hallucinogens (not really) and splatter the ink all over the place until my story and the book’s story are all messed up as one.

Johnny Depp will play the film version of me.

**I leave you with quotes from Hunter S. Thompson himself** 

“The edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to be paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” 

 “Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

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