Friday, June 08, 2007

If A Tree Falls In The Forest And No One Is There To Hear It, Does It Make A Sound?

If a book is published and no one reviews it, will anyone read it?

Back when I was starting out in the book publishing world (which was only a little over ten years ago and not a hundred and ten), publishers would send out arcs to review journals months before publication. Then reviewers would read said arcs and some would write reviews that would be published in the months leading up to publication. Readers knew the book was coming, librarians could order ahead of time, whatever.

The last few years, however, both the editors I've worked with have been telling me that reviews are coming later and later. In fact, I was speaking to an editor a few days ago who said her (major) company had had books published in May for which they had still seen no reviews.

My speculation? The number of books being published has been going up for years. I'm guessing the review publications are overwhelmed with books. They certainly don't have space to review everything, and perhaps books that would have been reviewed in years past are slipping through the cracks. As the journals struggle to cover everything they want to cover, the spring season is passing, the fall catalogs are coming in, and it's time to move on.

It used to be that getting reviewed was a problem for self-published books and books published by small presses. It sounds as if now it's becoming a problem for everyone.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.



Blogger TadMack said...

To me, this is why bloggers are so helpful - the kidlit blogosphere, if you trust them to not be worthy of it - will read and review and talk up your books before "professional" reviewers get around to it. It's not the same, I know, but I know that many - I'd say most - of my book selections come from seeing what Fuse#8 and Bildungsroman and Book Moot and Bookshelves of Doom and Big A little a and other blogs have to say about what's good.

7:44 PM  
Blogger gail said...

Children's books, in particular, don't get reviewed often in general publications. I'm finding that I get a lot of my reading suggestions from bloggers, too.

11:46 AM  

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