Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the founder of Authors' Coalition, an award-winning author and poet, a columnist for My Shelf, and an instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. Her books include the popular titles The Frugal Promoter and The Frugal Editor, both USA Book News' Award winners. Carolyn is also the editor of The New Book Review, a book review blog with a different twist: authors may submit reviews which have already been written about their books, thus extending the life of the reviews. In this interview, Johnson discusses the influence and effectiveness of reviews in terms of book promotion, among other things.
Thanks for being here today, Carolyn. How long have you been reviewing?
I've been reviewing for about eight years. Now I really only review movies occasionally for the Glendale News Press and even more infrequently for my series called Reviews for Riters (tm). The latter are reviews written for well-known books but rather than recommending a book (or not!) they are examinations of how master authors tackle specific elements of writing. Thus they are directed at writers — really — more than readers. They're really tools for learning our craft.
Please tell us about The New Book Review. How and when did it get started?
The New Book Review is unusual in that it does not offer review services (either free or paid) to authors. Rather it is a place where authors can submit reviews that have already been written for their book, thus extending the life of the review. Readers are welcome to submit, too. The New Book Review is a blog rather than a site and the submission guidelines may be found in the left column. Of course, writers must have permission from their reviewers to republish the review and must give the reviewer full credit for their work.
What makes The New Book Review different?
Probably just that it is simple and easy to remember. THE NEW BOOK REVIEW. Its concept may be more original than the name. The "new" means that I take a the "new' view to books. Reviews for all books (other than pornography) are welcome. If someone loved a book enough to write a review for it, it belongs at The New Book Review. By the way, I will accept critical reviews but not slash and burn critiques. If the reviewer can't recommend a book, then why would my readers want to know about it?