The other day, my fellow Huffington Post blogger took NY Times tv critic Alessandra Stanley to the worldwide woodshed. In so doing, Mr. Levinson recognized that criticizing a critic is almost never done. By the same token, their praise is sung about as often as good umpires. My question to you: Who are the best and the worst reviewers of books in our genre? And Why?

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Excellent point about non-fiction being more likely to get reviewed by people who know the subject.
Yeah, and sometimes Amazon reviewers can be really mean. Maybe even worse than the pros.
The relative anonymity gives people license. Professional reviewers have their reputations to consider. And to some extent they are a brand. There's a film critic, Todd McCarthy (at Variety last time I checked) whose taste is practically identical to mine, so his is the review I look to first. Which brings me back to my original question: Who do we like—and not like—in books?
I don't have any "professional" reviewers I go to for advice. I take my suggestions from people whose opinions I've come to trust and respect from Crimespace, and several blogs. Full-time reviewers don't necessarily share my tastes.
Thanks, Beth. I knew about the first and last, but the others are real finds. I also like the name Tipple a lot.
And Kevin really works at his reviews. They're very thoughtful and thorough. They aren't just plot summaries followed by a one-line positive statement that's designed to be quoted by the author. I really enjoy reading his reviews.
Reviewers who give good reviews to my upcoming book will receive BMWs.
I hope they remember to mention that to the FTC! :)
It's not really a good idea since it can cause a conflict of interest. The Washington Post, for example, requires that their reviewers have no contact or relationship with the writers they review.

Any one who takes the time to review my book is pretty much a hero to me. I am a regional writer and must depend on local papers to cover my work. The largest daily in my part of the world just finished massive lay offs and early retirements. They no longer covers books so I go hat in hand to the few publications left mostly small town weeklies and beg for mention. It's almost reached the point of, "good, bad, or indifferent, just spell the title right."

Of course, the most effective sales tool I have is me, usually in a setting that includes free alcohol. My sales pitch is as follows:
"This here is a purty good book. I'll rite ma name in it and give you a copy for fifteen bucks."
"Your wife can read a little can't she? Let me sign this book and you kin tell her you know a famous writer. Give me fifteen dollars and we'll fergit the tax."
As you might have guessed, reviews have very little to do with the success or failure of my book sales.

You do humor very well, Tom. That should help sales.


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