So where do I begin…
Probably from the beginning…duh!
So I know you all remember my review for Unplugged: I raved about the book and several of you added it to your TBRs. In case you want to refresh your memory, here is a link to the review: Teacherofya’s review of Unplugged.
Here’s the cover of the book if that will help jog your memory:
So as I was saying, I read Unplugged and I loved it. I gave it ★★★★★. It was amazing. So naturally, when Edelweiss had the sequel available as a requestable title, I jumped on it. It had been pending for awhile, but I made sure to post my review of Unplugged to the site and sent it to the publisher so they could see how much I loved it. I waited eagerly. Nothing.
Then, yesterday I received two emails from Edelweiss: they first denied me for Spindle Fire. Not too upset about it; it was a long shot. I have requested galleys from HarperCollins and HarperTeen before, and I have only been approved for one (Disruption by Jessica Shirvington, which you should all remember I also loved)…and that was actually an approval from HarperCollins AUS. So not technically from the US branch.
The second email was also from Harper: this time it was a denial for The Body Market, the sequel to Unplugged. I about died. I knew Harper wasn’t approving me, but why would they deny me the chance to rave (I’m sure) about another awesome book by Donna Freitas? I was so confused. I had been driving to the mall (don’t check your email and drive, folks!) so I pulled into a spot and parked. I went to Harper’s website to see if there was someone I could contact. I mean, it couldn’t be it, could it? There had to be someone else I could contact: someone who would understand why I wanted this particular book so bad to review! I even talked on my review of Unplugged about the lesson plan I had in mind for the classroom!
After hunting through several sites and getting nowhere, I went on the author’s page to see if there were any giveaways or tour dates. What I found was a bio of Dr. Donna Freitas, a professor and author. It had her books listed…and a contact email address. I thought about it; should I email the author directly and make my case? What was the worst that could happen? I had already been told no by the publisher. She could tell me I was rude for emailing her, and think I was nuts. That was a major possibility, but I had to try. So I emailed her.
When I got a response, I was so nervous. Here’s her response:
Thank you so much for writing and for your support of my trilogy! How wonderful. I’m honored.
Let’s see: I am more than happy to do a Q&A. Send along the questions (and maybe an occasional reminder since I am busy finishing the third book as we speak and it’s overdue!!) and I will get to them ASAP.
I’m so upset that Harper denied your request for galleys of The Body Market! If you send me your address, I will personally send you a signed galley from my stash. 🙂
Thank you for being such a big fan. I’m so curious about your lesson plan–and excited to check it out! Let me know if I can ever help or Skype in to something you are doing–I’d be happy to. I’m a bit of a social media dissenter, so I kind of stay away from that world myself, though I’m obviously fascinated by it as are all of my college students. I teach on the subject as well.
I look forward to hearing from you again!
Do you have ANY idea how awesome that was? I spoke to an author I admired, and she emailed me back with an offer to send me a SIGNED galley of her book! Signed! We talked back and forth (I was going to post the emails but it feels a little personal: it’s not the same as posting an auto-response for an approval from Netgalley. She told me she would send me a copy of Unplugged as well, since I checked my copy out from Overdrive. And she said (you’ll never believe this!)…
If any of my friends were interested in reading Unplugged, or if they had and wanted to read The Body Market, just tell them to send me an email and I’ll send them a galley.
What??? Wow! This woman is a-mazing.
So you heard that: if any of you are interested, let me know via Twitter or comment below and I will give you the means to email her. All you need to do is tell her that I told you about a galley of her book. I don’t want to just post her email here and have a bunch of people emailing her…if you’re interested, she said she would love to do it. Who knows? Maybe it’ll also be signed.
My point to the story, besides sharing with you my unbelievable interaction with a talented author? And the chance to receive a galley of your choice? My point is that even if the publisher denies you, it doesn’t mean the author knows about it. Donna was really surprised. We discussed it and she didn’t understand. My trouble has been with Harper only: you guys know I get galleys from St. Martin, Random House, SOURCEBOOKS Fire, etc. But maybe you guys are having the same problem with a different publisher, or can’t get a galley at all.
What I want you to take away from this is that the authors are not the bad guys…either are the publishers really: they think they’re doing their best. But there’s no rhyme or reason to the reasons why you don’t get one but someone else does, and that person never posts a review longer than a few sentences (I know someone like that) or has a blog they haven’t touched. Maybe try asking the author or trying again with the publisher…you never know! In this case, I’m GLAD that I was denied! Look at the relationship I made with an author I truly admire and love. She’s going to do a Q & A and she’s offering to help other readers. After the “A” I got on my Thesis rough draft, this has been a wonderful weekend.
Before I go skip off to finish a different ARC that I’ve been reading, let me tell you a little about Donna, my new author friend!
Donna Freitas is the author of both fiction and nonfiction, and she lectures at universities across the United States on her work about college students, most recently at Colby, Pepperdine, Harvard, and Yale. Over the years, she has written for national newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post, and she’s currently a non-resident research associate at the Center for Religion and Society at Notre Dame. Donna has been a professor at Boston University in the Department of Religion and also at Hofstra University in their Honors College.
In 2008, Donna published Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America’s College Campuses with Oxford University Press, based on her national study about sex on campus. Her latest book is called The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost (Oxford, October 2016), and it is based on her research for a new study about social media and how it is effecting the ways we construct identity and sense of self, how we make meaning in the world, and navigate our relationships during college. In 2014 and 2015, Freitas conducted approximately 200 in-person interviews with college students at thirteen different colleges and universities, and collected nearly1000 online surveys about these subjects.
Donna is also the author of six novels for children and young adults, including The Survival Kit (FSG, 2011), named an ALA Best Books for Young Adults and the winner of the Bookstar Award in Switzerland, and This Gorgeous Game (FSG, 2010), also named an ALA Best Books for Young Adults, a winner of the CCBC Choice Award, and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best winner. Her novel, The Possibilities of Sainthood (FSG, 2008), received five starred reviews and many accolades, including: an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read, Society of School Librarians International Book Award Honor Book, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List. Donna has also published two middle grade companion novels with Scholastic, Gold Medal Summer (about a gymnast) and Gold Medal Winter (about an ice skater), which just won a CCBC Choice Award. In June, Unplugged the first novel in her sci-fi trilogy about two competing worlds, one real, one virtual, will be out in June from HarperTeen. She lives in Brooklyn.