Tuesday, May 11, 2004

More about reviewers

At the DarkEcho blog, Paula Guran says:
Okay, so I am glancing through my new issue of LOCUS (#520) and I come across a favorable review of a book that does not even deserve ink in the magazine. Am I the only reviewer in the world who wants to pick up other reviewers by their (no doubt ass-like) ears and shake sense into them?
She goes on to wonder if reviews (and Guran writes reviews for Cemetery Dance magazine) really matter, which brings us back to Ed Gorman's point.


Anonymous said...

Reviews do matter...if they're widely read. Locus, Cemetery Dance, and pretty much every other genre magazine you can name are not widely read.

Get a review in one of the four big trade mags, the Times, some other daily papers or weekly book reviews, and orders come pouring in from the trade.

Nick M.

Anonymous said...

I think reviews in magazines like the ones Nick just listed only matter to the writer and not much else. It's nice when someone expresses a public opinion about your work, regardless of whether they liked it or not. At the very least, it lets you know someone read it.

Brian said...

So, are reviews in the genre magazines just good for stroking the egos of writers? That doesn't seem right to me. I've certainly found books through reviews in Locus and Cemetery Dance. But I think Nick is right, the number of people following those reviews is far smaller than a review appearing in the New York Times or some other mainstream outlet.
But is it pointless to be reviewed in the genre magazines? If you're not getting as many buyers through a review in Locus and Cemetery Dance, how else does it benefit the book?

gwenda said...

It seems to me that reviews in genre magazines can help your book get noticed within the genre because people who can be very influential in terms of word of mouth _do_ read those magazines and the reviews in them. If those people read your book, like it, talk about it, or do additional reviews of it, it could help. Certainly, they're not going to land you on the Today show -- but not many writers are going to land on the Today show anyway. They certainly can't hurt.

The problem with reviews in terms of fiction is that so many of the places where the general public has traditionally looked for them have scaled back or are reviewing as much or more nonfiction than fiction. Genre fiction is relegated to a paragraph within a shared review, in many cases, and is probably only likely to be read by people who are already interested in that genre... so harder to get to other audiences, even ones that might like the book more.