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Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Author's Quest for Reviewers and Reviews

Okay, so now I have a book or two out and the question is “What do people think about the content material?” One of the most difficult parts of writing and publishing a new book is finding Reviewers to write about the book.  Of course, only good Reviews will help the publicity of a new book and many writers pay for a professional Reviewer to write them up decently.  This raises an ethical dilemma. A paid Reviewer is putting out advertising and Public Relations material for the professional author’s need to market. This does not mean that the contents of the book are necessarily reflected from a Readership point of view.  Professionally speaking paying a Reviewer is a legitimate business maneuver and any Reviewer asked to “write up” a completely incomprehensible novel will decline the job. Non-paid good Reviews are excellent when they are available but they do not always come from Reviewer sources that are credible to the Reading public.

There is another complication with soliciting (paid or unpaid) Reviewers for Reviews: the book release timing.  Most Reviews are requested in advance of publication. An author tries to set up the launch of their book with good Reviews placed strategically in the media. Book Reviews after a release are harder to obtain and it is more difficult to find media to carry a post-release Review.  Most Reviewers have a backlog list of reading and even if an author is accepted for a Review, the Review may not be forthcoming until months after the book release.  I have a unique situation as my first novella “The Rest Room” is the first part of a two book series (to be followed by “The Dream of Keriye” in 2015) and a post-release Review of “The Rest Room” could work into an additional pre-release Review of “The Dream of Keriye”.  I am finding it awkward to request a post-release and pre-release Review from the same Reviewer. 

My second book “Growing Past” is in a different genre and is devoted to short stories revolving around female characters. This is relevant to this topic as most book Reviewers only review books in specific genres or categories. There are not many “generic” book Reviewers.

I spent some time reviewing books for BTS e-mag. I found that Reviewers on the roster could pick the books they wanted to review and that Reviews are screened for effective author promotion before they are accepted. Solicited Reviews are never used if their content is negative. This does not mean that a Reviewer has to lie about their opinion of the book. Honest strengths and weaknesses of the content are welcome in a Review as long as the intent to “sell” the book remains the objective of the Reviewer.

Reviewing books is an art form. General Readers are not Reviewers, but Reviewers are still readers. Finding a critical eye to promote a book from “read” to “reviewed” is a quest on the author’s part to find validation and not just publication.

-Kimberly A McKenzie 


7:55 pm edt          Comments

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Expiring Publishers, Concerned Writers

I have had the dubious privilege of placing my new book with a publisher that went out of business. There are reports, not just in the United States, stating the publishing houses are dwindling in favor of mass distribution vehicles and self- publishing alternatives. Once upon a time, writers worked hard at finding a publisher to accept their work for publication and distribution and relied on in-house editing. This ethic is still viable in the realm of articles and short fiction, where periodicals and universities are active publishers of submitted works. Even in the arena of shorter works, the advent of blogs and linked on-line sources has narrowed the scope of publishing while opening the doors for easier access for writers to print.  While these developments may portend trends and futures for the publishing community, the impact on writers and readers is solidly measurable. There is faster access, less editorial input, and are fewer financial gains than ever before for writers in the writing community.

As a writer, this worries me over the image evolving of writers and their work. Jobs are being offered at five cents every five hundred words in the industrial writing sector. Writers selling work already completed are facing so large of a volume of competition for the fewer amount of paying publishers left that many good writers are left without vehicles for their work unless they want to utilize the non-paying sources. This does not hold out much promise for career writers’ capabilities to turn out living wages.

I am a writer and I will always write. Writers do not become non-writers because they are not paid for every word. However, I have also worked over nine years in editing roles and writers without publishers usually have less input from editors. This is a scary scenario to any writer when the writer’s words will not be “cleaned up” or showcased correctly unless a writer produces his or her own perfected copy.

With this in mind, writers need to be willing to support the publishers left in their publishing efforts under difficult economic and societal pressures.  This does not mean that writers should sustain efforts with publishers incapable of fulfilling commitments. The vehicles available to carry writers’ words must be carefully evaluated for impact, return of value, and appropriate collaboration on end products in print.

I found a new publisher for my new book. The frustration of a half-finished process starting over again was made easy by my new publisher’s excellent efforts to work with my needs for the book where they were.

Our future as writers is not bright if we do not include the other pieces of a long established industry. The options available to writers today allow us more freedom and a greater voice, but they also carry a price tag when the rest of the related industry suffers. Writers are evolving to fit the new idea in publishing options. It will not be to our benefit to run publishers out of options.



7:29 pm est          Comments

2014.03.16 | 2014.02.09 | 2014.01.05 | 2013.12.08 | 2013.11.03 | 2013.09.29 | 2013.09.08 | 2013.09.01 | 2013.08.11 | 2013.07.21 | 2013.07.14 | 2013.06.09 | 2013.05.01 | 2013.04.01

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Here you'll learn all about The Rest Room and Kimberly A. McKenzie: Follow the Blog for facts and fictions.

The Rest Room Fact Sheet

1.  The Rest Room is Room 223 at the Motel Min.

2. Hale, South Carolina in The Rest Room is named after Nathan Hale- a soldier in the Continental Army during the Revolutionarly War.

3.  There are many types of shipping containers: intermodal freight, corrugated boxes, wooden boxes, crates, intermediate bulk, bulk boxes, drums and insulated shipping containers.

4.  Insulated shipping containers are a type of packaging used to ship temperature sensitive products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.  In The Rest Room, non-traditional shipping methods are at the heart of puzzeling circumstances for the three main characters: Kervila, Optin, and Henry. 

Look for the sequel to The Rest Room.  The Dream of Keriye will follow with Kervila's journey to find the truth among a web of intricate coincidences. 

by Kimberly A. McKenzie

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Kimberly A. McKeznie resides in Charleston, SC and has been a writer/author for 20 years.  She is divorced and lives with her two cats: Hailey Commet and Phelecia Providence. The Rest Room is her first published novel. 

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