Friday, August 01, 2008

Do Bloggers Who Review Even Want The Same Kind Of Respect Print Reviewers Receive? I Mean, Received?

In Will Blogs Save Books?, Lisa Warren opens with news about two more newspapers cutting back or possibily even eliminating book reviews. After which she asks, "...why don't we as readers give book reviews on blogs as much respect as book reviews in major market papers?" Then she goes on to advise bloggers on how they can write reviews that will sound more like the print reviews that nobody wants any more.

Also, I wasn't terribly surprised to hear that The Hartford Courant showed its book editor the door. The Courant is in the midst of cutting its staff by...ah...some huge percentage. The Courant cut back on the space it gave to books a year or two ago and given the way things are going with book reviews over all, I sort of expected its book editor was on her way out.

The paper rarely covered children's literature, so I don't think the loss of its book editor will have much impact on kidlit in Connecticut. We have the largest children's literature archive in the northeast, plus at least two very good annual children's literature events--The Connecticut Children's Book Fair and The Rabbit Hill Festival of Literature. Children's literature is well covered here.

Labels: ,

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.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Importance Of Reviews

A few years back I used to refer to Jane Yolen as my on-line mentor because I was obsessed with her On-line Writer's Journal. (If she knew I existed, she probably referred to me as her on-line stalker.) As with most of my obsessions, it finally burned itself out, and I don't go to her journal anywhere near as often as I used to. But the last couple of times I've been there I've found some very juicy stuff.

If you go to her Journal and scroll down to March 11, you'll see a fascinating post about how receiving no reviews for a book is far, far worse than receiving a bad review. Talk about "Telling the True."

Many years ago I was a member of a book club, and we were reading what I thought was a quite fascinating nonfiction book by a couple of professors at UConn. (I can't remember the title or the authors. Really.) It must have been my month to lead the discussion because I researched the book, looking for reviews, and couldn't find any. I asked my local librarian about it. How could there be no reviews for a book that was only a year or so old?

Her response? "The journals must not have thought the book was important enough to review."

I'm not scared of bad reviews. I would prefer not to get them, but I'm willing to take a punch because a bad review means your book is important enough to discuss. You're still a contender. But no reviews? That is my big fear.

Labels: ,