In the old days, publishers sent out bound galleys or proofs to a limited number of reviewers, journalists, film and translation scouts, and booksellers in the hopes of drumming up early interest in an upcoming title. Now there is Net Galley, a platform where a publisher can upload an electronic version of the galleys that provides early access to reviewers, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers, educators and other “readers of influence.”
From what I can tell, people who have accessed ALL THE LIGHT THERE WAS through Net Galley include members of the Amazon Vines reviewers program and a wide array of bloggers, some of whom posted ratings on Goodreads.
So far I have come across reviews from a young woman in Indonesia, on a blog called “A Sweet Spot Home” that features posts about entertaining along with book reviews, and on a blog called “BooksNFreshAir.” I have no idea how many people these advance reviews reach and how much they help the launch of a title, but my editor said, “They can’t hurt.”
What does it mean that there are now thousands of people weighing in on a book through blogs, customer comments, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and dozens of other platforms? Neil Gabler had an interesting piece in The Guardian a few years ago called “Everyone’s a critic now” that examines the effects of online community commentary on reviewing. He sums up his argument thus: “The point is that authority has migrated from critics to ordinary folks, and there is nothing—not collusion or singleness of purpose or torrents of publicity—that the traditional critics can do about it. They have seen their monopoly usurped by what amounts to a vast technological word-of-mouth of hundreds of millions of people.”
March 12 is the official publication date of ALL THE LIGHT THERE WAS, and the early reviews will soon be joined by those from mainstream outlets along with a cacophony of amateur reviews and customer comments. Bring on the vibrant, noisy, democratic conversation.
March 9, 2013