I've been wondered about Book reviewers of late. Especially, the BIG reviewers: NY Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Christian Science Monitor, etc.
What power these folks wield. A kind word about a book, and a career can be made for an author. At least in the short term anyway. The publishing world demands new production match previous works. Franzen, great as Freedom is, missed a bit in the eyes of reviewers on high with his follow up work. The literary version of the Heisman jinx?
Yet, what does it take for a debut novel to get noticed? Huge sales? Fair enough, yet the decision to buy these bestsellers has already been made by consumers, so in effect, a reviewer is a bit behind the curve. What about a great book that just needs a big reviewer to take notice to achieve great sales? Isn't that a more effective use of their time? Find us the great among the morass that floods the shelves.
Obviously, they can't review every book. So few big reviewers, so little time. But the entire process of which books get chosen, seems a bit off to me.
A case in point is "Numb", by Sean Ferrell. I have mentioned this unique and worthy novel a few times, hell I'm interviewing him in my new interview series. Why? Read the BOOK! It has all the markers for what all the BIG reviewers claim they look for: quality writing, plot, character, fluidity. Do they review it? Of course not. Why review "Numb" when James Patterson's zillionth book is coming out in a jillion copy first print. Got to let people know what they are going to buy anyway...
The blog world has a better handle on book reviews than any newspaper in the country. They find books of note and bring them out to us the best they can. The blog world LOVES "Numb" by the way.
Maybe this is all the way it should be. If books are going electronic, maybe someone will create an App that funnels blog reviews to your Kindle...
All I want, is to see books I like to have the same chance at BIG review as the heavy hitter authors. I'm confident Sean Ferrell will have his day.
I wonder which one of the BIG reviewers will be lucky enough to do it first?