Everyone is a critic: Once upon a time writers only needed a good review from the New York Review of Books to consider their work a success. Now it seems that authors need to impress just about everyone with access to a keyboard and an Amazon account. At the PEN World Voices Festival last month, top critics delved into this trend and debated the merits of Amazonian reviewers and their influence on the publishing world. Reactions ranged from fatalistic ("The democratization of reviewing is synonymous with the decay of reviewing," said critic Morris Dickenstein) to mildly pessimistic. We'd be curious to hear from our author friends who have had books praised and/or panned by the masses about their experiences.
Living high on the blog: Is it just us, or does it seem like every third book you see for sale these days was born from a blog? Does this mean the "blook" is the new black in publishing? Publishing Perspectives takes an in-depth look at this how new trend and their main takeaway is an analog as it gets -- nothing still succeeds like success. Publishers are taking notice of blog-to-book goldmines like Post Secret, The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, and Sh#t My Dad Says, and are scouring the Internet for the next big web thing to cash in on.
Taking a few tips from the big top: Inspired by the new circus movie "Water for Elephants," our friend Cindy Starks is counseling speechwriters to get in touch with their inner Barnum as a way to better engage their audiences. For starters, instead of opening your speech with a mundane list of people to thank, Starks suggests on her blog that "perhaps we should take a page from the circus-master’s book and begin the talk with the most exciting piece of information we’ve got. An anecdote, a story, a question, a striking statistic, a joke." You should probably leave your bullhorn at home, though.
Tweet revenge: Most speakers are now grudgingly used to audience members tweeting away during their presentations. But the Eloquent Woman suggests that speechwriters are better off seeing Twitter as opportunity to seize more than an annoyance to tolerate. She offers a few handy hints on how to capitalize on the tweet-speak relationship, like tweeting audio samples from your speech or conducting market research using your Twitter network.
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