newspaper book reviews | Fiction Writers Review
This is itself a somewhat roundabout way of getting to my real subject, which is the BEA panel discussion on book reviewing featuring the "Book Babes" and broadcast on C-SPAN as part of their coverage of the Book Expo. The most astonishing thing I heard said during this discussion was that, as far as the Book Babes are concerned, newspaper book reviewers are "literary snobs." Apparently book reviewers are way too interested in literature and not atttentive enough to the best-seller trash that most "real" Americans actually read. This can be the only logical conclusion to be drawn from their assertions, given that the sort of books featured on Oprah or other televison talk shows, which Margo and Ellen later claimed were the models of the kind of book discussion they had in mind, are already the books that most book reviews feature. The problem can't be that book reviews exclude the middlebrow (a point that made during the question period), focusing instead on the highbrow. It's that these book reviews give any attention to the highbrow--that is, literature--at all.
While newspaper book reviews are becoming rare, book reviews on and are helpful as people decide what books to buy. If someone complements your book (in person, by email, in social media, wherever), authors should get bold about encouraging those people to write reviews. It doesn’t take long (I in 5-10 minutes) and many people are willing to do it.
My question is whether a newspaper book review sells books. My books never saw any results from newspaper reviews that was noticeable or from guest radio and TV appearances...over a thirty year period. (In total my books sold over half a million copies).The predicament facing newspaper book reviews is best understood against the backdrop of several overlapping and contending crises: the first is the general challenge confronting America’s newspapers of adapting to the new digital and electronic technologies that are increasingly absorbing advertising dollars, wooing readers away from newspapers, and undercutting profit margins; the second is the profound structural transformation roiling the entire book-publishing and book-selling industry in an age of conglomeration and digitization; and the third and most troubling crisis is the sea change in the culture of literacy itself, the degree to which our overwhelmingly fast and visually furious culture renders serious reading increasingly irrelevant, hollowing out the habits of attention indispensable for absorbing long-form narrative and the following of sustained argument.My question is whether a newspaper book review sells books. My books never saw any results from newspaper reviews that was noticeable or from guest radio and TV appearances...over a thirty year period. (In total my books sold over half a million copies).People love to share and talk about the books they’re reading—and it’s one of the most important ways people discover books. Publishers are embracing social media to bring this conversation into the digital age—expanding upon discovery tools like magazines, newspaper book reviews, book clubs—to personally connect readers with authors, editors and other readers. Today, with millions of readers logging online to search for their next book among countless titles, social media is helping to spread the word about recent releases, hidden gems and perennial classics through a personalized the experience. Whether through author tweets and blogs, customized reading suggestions, or opportunities for avid readers to post their own creative expression on fan fiction sites, publishers are using social media to help readers find and interact with books they’ll love.