PubCrawl Podcast: Reviews

This week JJ and Kelly talk reviews, publishing’s necessary evil. Bottom line? Reviews are not for authors. Repeat: REVIEWS ARE NOT FOR AUTHORS.

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Show Notes

  • Types of reviews
    • Trade publications (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, etc.)
    • Consumer reviews
  • Uses for trade reviews
    • For collection building at schools and libraries
    • Pull quotes (choice phrases to put on marketing materials!)
    • Starred reviews
      • Starred reviews are merely a way for trade publications to note a particular title for a subjective meritorious reasons (I.e. the criteria changes from publication to publication and reviewer to reviewer)
      • Starred reviews from trades are not necessarily consensus reviews from the trade, even though editors do curate these publications
      • Generally industry professionals (professional reviewers, educators, librarians, etc.), but occasionally “influential” writers are asked to review titles
      • Reviews are generally assigned according to the reviewer’s personal taste
    • Trade reviews are an early barometer of potential reception, but it’s not set in stone
  • Consumer reviews
    • Consumer reviews are for readers NOT FOR THE AUTHOR
    • Even if it doesn’t feel like it, the power imbalance between the author and the reader is in THE AUTHOR’S FAVOR
    • Do not respond to individual reviews; however, if there is a pattern (problematic representation, etc.), you may consider addressing it in future editions of a book or a statement on a website (tread lightly and with consideration here)

What We’re Working On

  • Kelly is working on secret stuff
  • JJ is still writing her next book

What We’re Reading

Off Menu Recommendations

What You’re Asking

If you’re on sub and the editor leaves and they forward it on to another editor, will it get lost in the shuffle?

No more than usual…? The process will vary from house to house, but ultimately, it still comes down to whether or not the editor connects with it and is able to get their acquisitions board on board.

I’m working on a query letter and synopsis for a historical adult fantasy. It’s written in the POV of three characters, but I’ve written the query and synopsis from only one character. She’s certainly the main character, but I feel I’m shortchanging the others or misrepresenting my work. How do handle?

If your story is told in three different POVs intertwined in one major narrative, then I would pick the POV with the most active role in it (e.g. in the The Lord of the Rings, you would write a query focusing on Frodo and Sam’s narrative). If it’s a case where three different POVs are narrating the same set of events in a Rashomon sort of way, then perhaps mention that.

That’s all for this week! Next week we will be talking about the High Concept Pitch and Why It Works. So as always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!

Also! We are doing A QUERY CRITIQUE for the end of March, so send them to with the subject line QUERY CRITIQUE.

2 Responses to PubCrawl Podcast: Reviews

  1. Amber J. Mar 13 2018 at 10:47 am #

    Hello Ladies

    I was wondering what do you do if you have two story ideas with similar concepts.

    (Two of the stories I’m working on — one fantasy, one fiction [with religious overtones] — deal with gods and goddesses. And even though I’m excited by both, and they have different plots, I feel pressured to choose one over the other because of the similarities.)

    For Kelly – from the perspective of an agent/editor, how do you choose which author to work with if several send you books with similar concepts or themes?

    For JJ – from the viewpoint of an author, how do you choose which project to pursue if you have several story ideas that are similar?

    Thank you

  2. Stefaniegoldmarie Mar 16 2018 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you Philadelphia

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