Q: Who do you consider an author?
A: An author for the purposes of this site is someone whose books are in print, widely available, and published by a reputable press.
Q: What do you mean by in print? How does this impact forthcoming books?
A: An author should have at least one book still in print and available for purchase via the usual distribution channels. If the publisher no longer exists or is no longer producing new copies of the book, and the original print run is sold through, then a book is considered out of print. Since part of the reason for this site is to help authors promote books, it only makes to expect the author to actually have books that can be purchased (or pre-ordered in the case of forthcoming books).
Q: What does it mean for a book to be widely available?
A: Being widely available simply means that a book store, university, or event planner would be able to order your book from Amazon, Small Press Distribution (SPD), or directly from the publisher. A chapbook is considered widely available if it is possible to order it through the chapbook publisher’s website.
Q: What do you consider a reputable press?
A: For the most part this means that your book was published by a commercial, university, or independent press which shouldered the cost of publishing, rather than being self-published. The traditional route is generally considered more reputable because there is a vetting process — the editor, a contest judge, or a set of readers evaluates all submitted manuscripts, then selects the strongest one(s) for publication.
Q: How about self-published books?
A: If a self-published book can demonstrate quality and critical appeal through its blurbs and reviews in literary and professional journals and publications, then we might make exceptions. Self-published poetry books rarely make the cut, but a popular and well-reviewed genre fiction series, graphic novel, or non-fiction specialty text might.
Q: What kind of reviews are you looking for?
A: Well-reviewed means that the book has been reviewed by a professional (another author, a literary critic, or an editor) and that review has been published in a professional forum (a literary journal, a reputable website tied to the genre, or a newspaper book review column). We’re not interested in Amazon customer reviews because they tend to be quick, gushy, and lacking in specific detail. In addition, Amazon reviewers are often anonymous and as such usually don’t have a name or professional reputation that will add weight to the review. What we’re looking for is evidence that the book is being read by an audience that is larger than just author and the author’s immediate circle of friends and family. Knowing that the book is being read and enjoyed by a wide range of unconnected individuals makes a good case for an author’s broad appeal (something that an event planner or a reading series would care about).