The New Book Reviewers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 0 Comments A+ a-

We all know the interwebz is slowly taking over the way the literati is exchanging messages, ideas and *gasp shock* reviews! Not really a surprise, I know, considering the closing of many review sections in your local papers. (I still miss the Book Review section in the LA Times.)

A few years ago there was a Book TV segment where book critics basically lambasted the online community (namely bloggers) who have taken the saddles over reviews. People don't go to them anymore, they go just any ole person with a blog. Eh. I'd personally trust the any ole person especially if they are avid book readers/lovers and they share the same taste as I do in books. Stuffy book critics seem to be like the movie critics, if it's dull and drones on it must be high art. If it's genre, it's for kids, dontcha know?

My fellow authors out there know how the net has offered some fabulous resources for gaining book reviews. Although Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, The Library Journal and what have you are still the go to big guys for gaining reviews, many authors don't fit in the top hierarchy of book publishing to even gain a blink from them. It's fabulous if you get a review (especially a starred review) from them but if you're not in with the in crowd then that plum leaves you out in the cold.

Ah, but not anymore. The internet as opened up a wide range of fabulous online reviewers where book lovers gather to gain more reads. This is the same community that seems open to new authors, new trends and ideas in books. NY gets their cues from these guys, make no mistake. ;-)

Case in point, Thomas Nelson (international publisher extraordinaire) has launched a program to enroll any interested bloggers who are interested in reviewing their books. The company provides them with free review copies on select titles in exchange for the promise of a review at least 200 words on a blog and at Amazon.com.

A few indie, small press and e authors have done this already (and have been talked down about it by various opinionated online communities) but, hey, if readers respond well to the book who's to say it isn't gravy?

Nelson ceo and active blogger Mike Hyatt aspires to "to have a rich database of bloggers who are actively selecting Thomas Nelson products that they are interested in to read and review. The positive reviews will be a priceless word-of-mouth marketing vehicle and the negative reviews will be a useful tool in understanding why a product might not have sold at retail."

Sounds pretty groovy to me. Current books on the blogger list are Stephen Mansfield's The Faith of Barack Obama and Lynne Spears' Through the Storm. Not really my cuppa, but if you're interested in joining this program, you can sign up over here.