I couldn’t have said it better

In some ways I’ve been lucky. My reviews on Amazon have been great, my reviews on B&N and Goodreads have also been good.This means Amazon is much more likely to put  Bloody Murder on someone’s recommended list.

In this blog entry, which I urge you all to read, Ann R. Allen talks about book bloggers and reviews. This goes hand in hand with one of my previous posts talking about the changes in the ways people buy, review, market and sell books. It’s an exciting thing to be part of. Readers and writers are being hear more.

Now, I know some people who will compare this trend of reviewer blogs and “everyman” reviews to Yelp. For those unfamiliar, Yelp is a site where “real people” give you “real reviews.” It’s mostly for restaurants, but I’ve also seen reviews for shows, doctors, pet shops and other merchants. Yelp has pretty much become its own microcosm on the internet, in that you really have to know how to search and what to search for to get what you need out of it. An example is someone who visits an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time. Reviews for a first-time visit to an Ethhopian restaurant are filled with dismay that you are not given utensils, but rather you use the injera (the soft spongy steamed bread) to pick up your food. As for myself, I’m familiar enough with the cuisine that this kind of review does nothing for me. I want to know who makes the best kitfo or awaze tibs (if you’re curious and in the NYC area, I recommend Queen of Sheba).

While I often compare books to food–heck, Bloody Murder  takes place in New Orleans, I’m also doing a bit of writing about food–there’s a bit of a difference. For one thing, most reviewers tend to specialize in only a genre or two. This gives them familiarity with the best and the brightest, the new and the classic.

Another difference I see between indie book bloggers and “everyman” food reviews is the sense of community out there. Yelp has its forums and its special events–I’ve been to a few and some of the food has been knock-down fantastic. The culture, however, is generally a little younger than my forty-something, and tends to be more gourmand than gourmet. In looking for reviewers and ways to publicize my work, I have seen a feeling of community, of mutual support, a way to help out one’s fellow author.

I’m starting to think of it as a gourmet pot luck. But I’m also rather hungry.


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