This is a perfectly reasonable explanation, of course. But try explaining that to a neurotic book:
Me: TAD, I’ve got some bad news. Seems you won’t be getting a review in the San Francisco Chronicle.
TAD: But… why not? They reviewed your other books.
Me: Well, that’s just it, TAD. Since the guy’s reviewed the other books, he kinda feels that he has to pass you up in order to be fair to other authors and books.
TAD: It’s because of the sheep, isn’t it?
Me: Come on, TAD. Let’s not do this again.
TAD: “Don’t put sheep on the cover,” I said. “People get nervous around sheep.” But you said it would be fine. Now look. I’m being ignored. Over livestock.
Me: Don’t be like that. People love the cover. And you’re getting tons of reviews. You even got written up in the New York Times.
TAD: Don’t talk to me about the New York Times review. Stupid Dave Itzkoff.
Me: Hey, now. I had lunch with Dave. He’s a nice guy.
TAD: He thought I was crap! He should be slashed with tetanus-laden razor blades and then dropped into a pool of iodine. And then fed to cats. Feral ones.
Me: I liked Dave.
TAD: Sure, because he liked your other books. The ones without the farm animals. You know what it is. I’m too fat.
TAD: Look at me! I’m 400 pages!
Me: That’s not fat.
TAD: People look at me and wonder if I’m the new Robert Jordan book.
Me: They do not.
TAD: I’m fat and I’ve got sheep on my cover. You might as well just set me on the remainder table right now.
Me: You don’t think you might be being a little overdramatic about this.
TAD: Don’t patronize me, Mr. Campbell-Cheese-Board-Award.
The Ghost Brigades (entering the room): Hey, John, I have a question —
TAD: Oh, look. One of the favored children. The Chronicle reviewed him.
TGB: Uh… Did I come in at a bad time?
Me: We’re having a moment.
TAD: I heard that!
TGB: You know, I think I’ll come back later.
TAD: That’s right! Run from me. Like everyone else. Bastard.
TGB: Yeah, okay. I’m just gonna go.
TAD: (yelling after TGB) I hope you fall off the Hugo ballot and break your neck!
Me: Now you’re just being mean.
TAD: (sniffles) I just feel vulnerable, you know? I think it’s because I’m a stand-alone. Ghost Brigades has Old Man’s War. I’ve got no one.
Me: Well, I’m writing a followup to you now.
Me: Really. That should make you feel better.
TAD: (sniffles again) It does. I mean, maybe a little.
Me: You know what would make you feel even better?
TAD: Ice cream?
Me: Ice cream.
TAD: (claps) Yay! Ice cream!
We do this every day. Sometimes twice. So for all you book reviewers, if you don’t want to review The Android’s Dream, that’s totally your call. Just remember what I have to do on this end when you don’t. The ice cream bills alone are killing me.