Thursday, May 8, 2008

Journal Journal on the Wall – Who’s the Fairest of them all- A conversation with book review editors from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal

A discussion on how book review journals find reviewers and choose books to review

Librarians: Barbara Hoffert and Kathy Mikas
Reviews Editor from Publisher’s Weekly: Jonathan Segura,
Senior Editor Library Journal: Nancy Aberman

The session was introduced using a wonderful visual, a review journal with multiple post-it notes sticking out of every page. This was a great example of working journal that librarians use to decide how to spend our meager budgets.

The editors see up to 100 books a week. They receive galleys from publishers and are expected to have the book read and reviewed within a week or two. They must quickly move the books from their offices into a reviewers hands and then into print (either electronic or paper)

The audience for these review journals is primarily libraries. The journals review across the spectrum of genres: from nonfiction to chick-lit. An editor must assign the “right” book with the “right” reviewer. Most reviewers at Library Journal are librarians.
The audience used to be the book trade and book stores. This has changed. Now it is mostly libraries and librarians. However, their reviews make it to all of the online bookstores: Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc. so the audience can be virtually anyone. This makes the writing of the reviews more difficult. Speaking to librarians entails in-depth descriptions of the story. For the general public, the reviewers cannot give up plot and story.

How they choose reviewers:
Recommendation from present reviewers
Publish a call for reviewers on their website
Some people actually contact the review journals
These are paid position – but it doesn't pay too well- so don't quit your library job!
If the person has a specialty- such as a nonfiction subject - this makes it easier for the editors
Fiction must be broken down in to sub-genres and reviewers are sought for their abilities in that area.
The editors did stress that they are always looking for reviewers!!!

Some shocking numbers:
Publishers Weekly - 1600 reviews last year between 8 reviewers
Approximately 300,000 books are published a year

A review is an educated opinion. The reviewer must answer: What is this book trying to accomplish? Why is the author important? Whether the book is recommended or not? All in 200 words or less!

1 comment:

Susan Mello said...

Sorry, I forgot to tag this one.
My Bad!!