From Category: Reviews and Criticism
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the How to Do It Frugally series of books on marketing and editing for indie authors. Her blog The New Book Review reprints positive reviews submitted by authors and reviewers. In this blog post, she explains the basics of writing a helpful review on Amazon, Goodreads, or similar sites to promote your favorite books by other authors.
Kind of a Hurricane Press publishes this webzine devoted to reviews of poetry books and chapbooks.
Bloom is a website that showcases authors whose first book was published at age 40 or older. Contemporary authors can contact the site to request a feature. There are also articles on late-blooming greats of the past. Editors say, "Bloom's mission and intention are not to critique or detract from the success of young writers; our interest is in contributing to the conversation about literary life and creative process, offering up a diverse range of paths as models. Our hope is to present some counter-balance to the disproportionate attention paid to precocity by exploring and presenting stories of slower, zig-zag, later-life, development...Bloom seeks to challenge any narrow or uniform ideas about what constitutes literary success or authenticity."
Literary news, reviews and interviews help you take the pulse of the art without getting bogged down in jargon or ideology. Good links to work in other journals as well, such as this article on Classical Arabic Poetry.
Disability in Kidlit is a multi-author website dedicated to discussing and improving the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature. They publish critical essays, reviews, and interviews. Their goals are to help readers, editors, and libraries find books with accurate and respectful treatment of disability, and to educate writers and editors about problematic portrayals. All contributors and editors identify as disabled.
The blog can be read by the general public. To join the social network, you need to request an invite via the link on their website.
In this blog post, Amazon Top Reviewer "Bassocantor", a/k/a Chris Lawson, gives advice on how to craft a professional, targeted pitch to solicit book reviews.
In this 2017 essay from Current Affairs, Brianna Rennix takes a skeptical look at popular experimental devices in contemporary literary novels. She argues that these tricks have become cliché, interfering with the genre's unique potential to entertain and provoke empathy. For fun, test your MFA syllabus or this week's New York Times Book Review against the Postmodern Novel Bingo card: "Entire chapter is just a list of ironic brand names"; "Tepid marriage ruined by unsatisfying infidelity"; "A lumbering comedic setpiece is suddenly interrupted by horrific violence"; and more.
Established in 1976, the Midwest Book Review is an organization committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. Reviews are posted monthly on their affiliated websites and distributed to libraries, literary websites, databases, and online discussion groups. MBR welcomes small press and self-published authors.
A large, collaborative collection of critical essays. Background and analysis of many of today's most interesting American poems and poets. Submissions welcome. Click here for information.
This book review series is broadcast on WNIJ and WNIU, the public radio station affiliated with Northern Illinois University. The website includes book reviews and audio clips of author readings and interviews.
Named after a series of children's picture books by site editor Allison Holland, Raspberry Sassafras is a website that reviews indie and self-published picture books, and also features a Storytellers section where young writers can submit work to be posted on the site.
In this 2017 essay from the LA Review of Books blog, widely published poet and critic Kristina Marie Darling advises reviewers how to be mindful of privilege and subjectivity when critiquing a poetry book, particularly one by a less-established author. She warns against inferring psychological or autobiographical details from authors' published work. The essay contends that the best reviews are those that situate the book in its own aesthetic tradition and point the book toward the audience most likely to appreciate it.
Reedsy is a networking and resource site for book marketing. This curated list features 174 book review blogs that were active as of 2017, searchable by genre and openness to indie books (self-published and print-on-demand).
ShoutAbout is a curated product review site. Their list of their favorite 30 book review blogs includes ones specializing in romance, crime, fantasy, and juvenile literature. Winning Writers is honored to be on the list.
Edited by award-winning poet William Woolfitt, Speaking of Marvels is a blog that features interviews with authors of chapbooks, novellas, singles, and other shorter forms. Past interviewees have included Allison Joseph, Karen An-hwei Lee, Rajiv Mohabir, Carl Phillips, Cecilia Woloch, and many other notables.
Story Circle Book Reviews provides a review venue for women author-publishers and for women's work published by independent and university presses. The site's sponsor, Story Circle Network, also offers the Sarton Women's Book Awards for small press and self-published books by and about women, published in the US or Canada.
Sophisticated tri-weekly poetry reviews sponsored by Fence magazine. Any site that appreciates Gabriel Gudding's A Defense of Poetry gets our approval. Sign up for the mailing list to be notified of new reviews.
Founded by award-winning poet Rochelle Hurt, The Bind is an online journal that reviews poetry books by women and nonbinary authors. They review chapbooks, full-length collections, hybrid works, and translations. The Bind is interested in intersectional and feminist writing. Read a 2017 interview with Hurt on Trish Hopkinson's blog. Visit their website for guidelines for pitching articles and requesting reviews.
Reviews for over 900 books new and old. Concise and opinionated. Good at calling attention to obscure but worthy books. Genres include poetry. We also enjoy their blog, the Literary Saloon.
Founded in 2011, The Lit Pub website features recommendations of new literary fiction and nonfiction books, with brief reviews. The Lit Pub also publishes three full-length prose books per year through their open submissions period in June. Manuscripts may be novels, novellas, memoirs, lyric essays, story collections, prose poems and/or flash fictions.