I’ve mentioned before that one of my most important jobs here at BiblioBuffet is to hire the best writers and then get out of their way. It’s a clichéd phrase, but it’s also a truth that Nicki and I live by. All the writers choose their own topics, subjects, books to review; they offer their own opinions and they do it in their own way. All we require is that whatever they say they say it well.
We are proud of our contributors who do say it well. And one of the reasons for that—aside from their honed and practiced talent—is that freedom we offer them because we firmly believe that if a writer writes about her or his passion then the writing is going to be passionate. It can’t be anything less.
That point was driven home to me yesterday when I received an e-mail from Pete Croatto who writes “The Athletic Supporter,” a column centered on sports. In his introductory essay, Pete described himself as “someone who loves sports books and collects them.” But Pete is more than someone who parks himself in a sports book; he is the type of person who while breathing it in analyzes it, debates it, draws ideas from it, revels in it. And if I didn’t know that before, I knew it when I read his e-mail in which he declined to review an offered sports book that dealt with steroid use by athletes. “Thanks for understanding,” he wrote. “I want to review stuff that excites me, and the whole PED/baseball nonsense leaves me sad. There’s so much lying and hypocrisy involved that I’ve become exhausted plowing through it all.”
What sent my heart soaring, however, was his high compliment to the editorial team (Managing Editor Nicki Leone and me):
The one thing I love about writing for you and Nicki is that I have complete and absolute freedom to write on anything relevant to sports literature, no matter how far afield it might be. There’s more to being a book lover than just reviewing the latest titles—it seeps into my everyday life, and I relish the chance to get into that with readers. You and Nicki understand that the site is built on passion, and that goes beyond a standard review template. Don’t get me wrong: I love reviewing books, but at BiblioBuffet I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Again, Lauren, I can’t thank you enough for giving me the freedom and the vehicle to publish my zealotry.
With writers like that, how can I not be in love with them?