This Writing Life--Mark Terry
Thoughts From A Professional Writer

Book Sections in Newspapers
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I'm introspective, dammit!

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August 12, 2006
I'll try to keep from whining. As I commented yesterday, the newspaper I was reviewing mysteries and thrillers for has decided to limit their reviews to local authors or authors who are touring in Oakland County, or... you get the idea, it's no longer going to be a book section, but in the same way that the feature page focuses on medicine and health on Thursdays and food on Mondays, people and or books or writers will probably be the focus on Sundays, maybe...

Anyway, a common whine among writers, especially mystery writers (and romance writers, who rarely get reviewed in newspapers, or SF writers who NEVER get reviewed in newspapers and...) is the way the book reviews space is shrinking, especially in newspapers.

Wanna know why?

It's not lack of interest on the part of newspaper readers, although I've heard that said, but I don't actually believe it.

I commented to my wife yesterday, "Guess they won't be cutting out their car reviews, will they?"

Of course not. I live in the Detroit area. The newspapers in this area live and die by the auto industry. If you go through and look at their advertising, how much of it is by the auto industry do you think?

Get rid of movie reviews? Yeah, right. How many movie ads from both studios and theaters do you see in your newspaper?

Theater? Concerts?

That's right. Now, assuming that your newspaper isn't the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times or USA Today, how many publishing houses and bookstores advertise in your city's newspaper?

Yeah, I thought so.

Mark Terry

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