EXCERPT from "To Be Reviewed or Not to Be Reviewed" by Lynn Salsi in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction
Once upon a time book reviews gave readers, writers, and publishers an overview of the industry. A positive review in a major magazine or newspaper promised a book a long shelf-life in stores, giving the writer an opportunity to produce a second book before the first title went out-of-print. A review in a major newspaper like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or the Miami Herald put books and authors on an elite list.
Professional book reviewers delivered objective comments about content and interpreted the book’s importance as an addition to the canon of its genre. Newspapers—large and small—published weekly book pages which occupied space from a few columns to a complete section.Large dailies employed fulltime book page editors. Since writing defines civilization, print media considered the creation of a best-seller list a contribution to society. And, such lists defined the best writing available on a weekly basis.
Lynn Salsi has a BA in Journalism and an MA and MFA in creative writing from Seton Hill University. She is the author of 18 books. She has received many awards, including Jacqueline Lougheed World Understanding Lecturer (International Alpha Delta Kappa), an American Library Association Notable Book Award, eight Willie Parker Peace History Book Awards, a Stars and Flags gold medal, and a silver medal from the Military Writers Society of America. In 2008 she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for The Life and Times of Ray Hicks, Keeper of the Jack Tales. She writes popular fiction and