Publishing Trends on How Book Reviews are Changing

Posted October 05, 2009 to Digital, Media Appearances

Publishing Trends has a multi-part series of articles examining how the web has changed book reviewing, and what it means for books, authors, and publishing in general. The writer, Laura Hazard Owen, did an interview with me for the article, and I’m quoted discussing my grading rubric, and what I like to call the “golden rules of blogging.”

Online book reviews don’t necessarily look like their print counterparts, nor do they necessarily cover the same books. At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell reviews romance, which, she points out, is “never reviewed in mainstream media publications.” She and her partner, Candy Tan, decided to start reviewing the genre because “we loved romance novels, we were so tired of taking crap for the fact that we did, and there weren’t enough reviews online and off. We wanted to talk about all of that, sex, the changing sexual politics in the genre, and throw our English degrees at it, and say, ‘You as a genre are very much worthy of any other genre we studied in college.’”

Wendell and Tan actually review books; they don’t just make recommendations. “The longer I stick within this genre, the more my rubric, my scale of grading, become apparent,” Wendell says, “and it’s easier to figure out if people’s tastes align with mine. When authors ask me about blogging, I tell them the only currency you have online is credibility and consistency. You have to be a credible source. If you have a bias, say so. Inconsistency ruins your credibility.”

You can download a PDF of the newsletter as well: Publishing Trends October 2009

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