Grub Street Reads Endorses After Ten

I tend to dread checking my email these days. It’s usually not very uplifting, to say the least. For example, today I got rejected by two of the most highly-regarded and most queried agents in the business. Not exactly a shock. What did I expect, exactly?

I remember law school classmates of mine saying they applied to Harvard Law School, even though they knew their chances of acceptance were probably at about .005%, just to say they did and so they could frame the rejection letter in their office later. After all, it would have the Harvard seal. Seriously?!

I’ve never been that masochistic. Well, until maybe now, because in spite of the ridiculous odds, I queried these two agents.

For what, exactly? So years from now, when I’m a NYT Bestselling Author keynoting at the amazing DFW Writer’s Conference, I can tell a room full of aspiring writers (much as James Rollins did to me a few weeks ago) not to give up their dream, because after all, I was once rejected by Agent X and Agent Y? (Maybe I should print out their rejection emails and frame them?)

I don’t know. Whatever my reasons were, it’s over now and I move on.

Sixteen years ago when I was applying to law school, I realized that Harvard was not an option for me (That D in Organic Chemistry II will haunt me forever, LOL!). There were 178 other law schools in the United States, though, and just because my degree wouldn’t come from Harvard didn’t mean that I couldn’t be successful.

The same holds true for agents and for writing.

Anyway, where was I?

That’s right. Email is depressing. Really depressing.

Not always, though. Amidst the junk and the “I’m sorry, this project doesn’t sound right for me, but keep trying,” I got something else a few days ago.

I was contacted by Grub Street Reads telling me they enjoyed my novel, After Ten, and wanted to offer me their endorsement.

I was pretty skeptical at first. Who are these people? What does this mean? More importantly, what does it cost me? Was it just some fly-by-night operation that offered everyone a meaningless ‘endorsement’ for the right price?

I checked out their website and quickly decided this was something I wanted to be a part of. The Grub Street Reads Endorsement is an honor I am pleased to have bestowed upon my book, and not just because it’s not costing me anything.

I agree that standards are needed in indie publishing and that there are some sub-quality works being produced. So how does an avid reader with a Kindle or Nook in their hands and money to spend know what is a quality book and what isn’t?

Sure, they can look at reviews, but everyone knows those aren’t always accurate. We all have friends/family who can post a glowing review for us if we ask nice or bribe them.

They can look at Amazon’s rankings, but it’s quickly becoming clear that Amazon changes their algorithms as often as some people change their underwear, or at least their bed sheets.

So I welcome Grub Street Reads into the mix with a well thought out evaluation process. Their criteria? Plot, Characters, Pace, Accuracy, Grammar/Layout and Overall Assessment.

All relevant criteria for a book.

Is it potentially subjective? Sure. So are those Amazon reviews, as well as those agent rejections. It’s a subjective world and a subjective business. Still, I was very encouraged to learn that they don’t slap their endorsement on just anything, and that less than half of the books they consider actually receive an endorsement.

A far better acceptance ratio than Agent X and Agent Y, sure, but discriminating enough that it means something. And, of course, I like that they came to me and offered this endorsement after reading my book, as opposed to me soliciting it.

With my confidence taking a real beating these days and that fabulous DFWCON momentum threatening to slip away with each “Thank you for your query, but this project does not seem right for me” email that I receive, it’s very nice to be reminded that some people do enjoy my work, even if Agent X and Agent Y do not.

Please see the Press/Publicity section of this site for the full press release on the endorsement and visit www.grubstreetreads.com for more information about their criteria and more endorsed indie reads.






6 comments on “Grub Street Reads Endorses After Ten

  1. Grub Street Reads seems to be coming up fairly frequently on the tubes this week. Having looked it over and noting that writers submit and pay for reviews, I’m wondering how this relates to their willingness to endorse your book. Since you didn’t submit it, and they apparently chose to read and review it, are they expecting you to pay for an endorsement?

    • I’ve been assured I am not expected to pay for anything. Had they asked for my money, I would have opted out, just as I would have opted out if this appeared to be nothing more than a vanity operation in which anyone could throw cash at them and then slap a seal on their book. Instead, there is legitimate (though admittedly subjective, like everything in this business!) evaluation criteria and vetting process. Overall, I view it as a positive thing, and at a time when I really kind of need something positive, because nothing destroys a writer’s confidence faster or more thoroughly than querying agents.

      • Thanks for replying. I have to admit that I and a few other bloggers I’m aware of have commented on Grub Street and see this as yet another attempt to set up as a gatekeeper for readers and a way to extract money from desperate writers. Whatever Grub Street chooses to call it, it’s still doing reviews for pay. But if they are also looking for worthwhile books and reviewing them without asking for money, that’s all to the good. Maybe the site can strike a balance that won’t prompt some of us to question its legitimacy. I sincerely hope the review and endorsement give you a boost in self-confidence. It’s something we all need from time to time.

    • I see it as something different than just doing reviews for pay. It’s not a ‘you give us your money and we’ll go post glowing reviews for you everywhere we can.’ Maybe that’s just apples to oranges, but I don’t think it’s the same as ‘Pay me to give you a 5 star review.’ I can certainly see where the charging a fee to evaluate a book, even if they ultimately find the book is not worthy of an ednorsement and they reject it, brings about some skepticism, though. That part bothers me, too, and I woudl not pay them to do so. Then again, it’s a capitalist society and money tends to drive just about everything. Combine that with a rapidly changing publishing industry, and of course businesses and sites of questionable legitimacy and value will pop up. I think the key will be striking a balance, and whether it develops into a valid arbiter of quality rather than merely a vanity thing. If the latter, I will quickly opt out, as I am not in this for vanity.

      • Definitely, they’re not offering good reviews for pay. It will be interesting how their business model works out and whether they refine it as they go along. I’m always on the cautious side when someone sets themselves up as a qualified judge, but I’m also glad there’s room for experiments that will, hopefully, serve both writers and readers.

  2. Hi Michele, I’m proud of you that they selected you without you even knowing about it. Good job! and Congratulations.

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