Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Newspaper Book Reviewers on the Chopping Block

It's not just bookstores that are struggling in today's economy.  Newspapers are having a tough time of it, too.  As they look to cut costs, one of the positions they are putting on the chopping block is that of newspaper book reviewer. 

According to Publisher's Weekly, the L.A. Times gave the ax to all of their freelance book reviewers.  In addition, some long-standing book review columns will also be disappearing from the L.A. Times.  For authors who depend upon reviews from major newspapers to give their books a promotional boost, this comes as bad news.  It is also another sign of the times.   Newspapers are seeing less of a demand to dedicate valuable space to book reviews when readers can get that information online at places like Amazon.com, written by fellow readers. 

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, then you already now that you don't have to depend upon the blessings of a review from a traditional major newspaper (although smaller local newspapers will still sometimes dedicate page space to book reviews and interviews with authors).  These days, there are a number of different places online where you can get your book reviewed, which we have mentioned here before. 

While this is bad news for book lovers who read the L.A. Times (and for the folks who last their jobs) it is a further reminder that authors need to work ahead of the curve and not be so dependent upon the traditional ways of promoting their books.  The days of hoping a newspaper will review your book and doing one or two hugely-attended book signing events at the biggest bookstore in town on your book's release date are over. 

Now, authors are doing blog tours, getting their books reviewed by readers on Facebook, doing interviews and book club appearances via Skype and conducting book signing events at local, well-attended fairs and festivals.  The successful authors are those who keep up with the changes in the marketplace. 
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