Tuesday, July 08, 2008


By Amy MacKinnon

Have you heard about Book Browse? It's a web site for people who love books and want to share their thoughts -- good and bad -- with other devoted readers. People who sign-up for the program can request a free galley and then write a review of it. That's quite a bit of power in this brave, new world where publishers are beginning to focus much of their publicity budgets on Internet marketing. Pay attention, writers.

So while my publicist and marketing director were thrilled to report last week that Tethered was the most requested galley in Book Browse history, I was a little wary. What would people be saying -- for all the world to read -- about my book?

It used to be that word-of-mouth was all done over the back fence or at the local coffee shop, dropping of the kids at school or picking up a book at the library. I tend to believe, and I could be completely wrong, that professional reviews don't inspire the average reader to plunk down their money for a book, nor do ads. Maybe seeing it on the front table at Borders, Barnes & Noble, or especially a favorite indie might inspire interest, but a trusted friend's suggestion is gold, isn't it? Publishers can't buy that kind buzz.

That's what's so interesting about Book Browse. They're corralling a network of readers into an online community in order to get real feedback. This is the wave of the future. The administrators of Book Browse won't accept pitches from publishers for their book selections, though they do accept advertising, they select what books they'll offer to their readers. The want to remain independent of anyone's influence.

Well, some reviews from real, live readers are starting to trickle into the site. While I've no interest in professional reviews, I care deeply what readers have to say. They are the ones who matter.


Joanne said...

Great reviews, Amy! Book Browse seems like a 21st century, cyber "back fence." It's genuine, and refreshing. The more things change, the more they stay the same? We still want the back fence, coffee shop, etc., but via a new venue. The internet is a great tool.

Gail said...

those are terrific reviews Amy!! And no surprse. How does one get their book on Book Browse? Also are the readers reading galleys of your book? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

You must be so excited. :) I like bookreporter.com too, but book browse is the first site I've seen with so much reader involvement.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Joanne, exactly, a cyber back fence. Sort of like blogs where we stop by a friend's home and knowing you're always welcome, that your input is appreciated.

Gail, your publisher submits it to the administrators and they decide if they like it well enough to feature it on their site and offer galleys. They would love CANER IS A BITCH!

Tina, Carol Fitzgerald is one of my favorites in this business. I've been reading BookReporter for years and my favorite part os her newsie newsletter is her essay. She invariably talks about her family and that feels very real to me. It's not too late to submit RUBY AMONG US to BookBrowse...

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

How wonderful to start getting feedback from real live readers--and wonderful feedback, too! This is just the start of what will be a fabulous ride.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Judy, anyone who's bought a ticket on this ride knows that it is the proverbial rollercoaster of highs and lows. This is one of the highs and I'll ride it as far as it takes me. There are sure to be readers who won't like or get my book. But I am grateful to those who've written so far.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, and after all, it's the readers we want to please, ain't it?! Congratulations, those reviews are wonderful!!

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Amy!

It's so great to visit here and read of all your success. I can't wait to read Tethered. I don't want to read the reviews--just enjoy it on my own.

I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but my gosh, the cover is stunning. Yay!

Anonymous said...

All the reviews hit on the same mark, this is Clara. Proves how well you crafted her character.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Exactly, Kristy. And all those lovely readers are going to cherish MATTERS OF FAITH. It is a gorgeous book.

Thank you, Grace! But we do judge a bok by its cover, don't we? Thankfully, I love mine. Love it! I'm reading LOVE WALKED IN now and like you didn't read the reviews or even the jacket flap first. It's more exciting this way. And what a book.

Usman, thank you for geting that this is a story first, last, and always about Clara. You're a prince.