by Canary The First
I’ll start out with a big thank you to Madison for inviting me to invade her blog and chat about my favorite topics–books, books, and book reviews. I am an editor-in-chief at the Canary Review, an independent book review site dedicated to discussing books, reading, and the writing process. But that’s the party line we use when we have to fill in a “Site Information” box. The truth is, we’re a flock of fluffy, bright yellow birds who love reading and chirruping about our most recent literary finds. Our roost currently houses six feathery fiends, and a nest-full of readerly opinions.
What do we read?
Indie vs Traditional: When it comes to reading and reviewing books, we don’t discriminate between independently published eBooks, small press printings, and traditional on-the-shelf novels. If it catches our attention, we’ll give it a go. What this means, though, is that we have the same picky standards, no matter what we’re reading. It also means that few indie books are picked up and reviewed; there’s stiff competition for our attention, and only so many hours of sleep we can trade-off for a good read.
Genres: Each canary has a preferred genre, but in general, we’re all about fantasy, speculative fiction, science fiction, paranormal, and young adult. The fun stuff.
How do you feathery fiends decide what to read?
There is no magic formula for what will make one of the canaries pick up a book. (Well, yes, there is, but that might be just me.) But there are certain things we look for. As with anything in life, presentation is everything. If you’re requesting a review, personalize your email. Follow whatever instructions the reviewers have. Check out the reviewer’s site and leave a quick comment. Slip in a compliment. Present yourself with friendly confidence. Follow directions.
If you do all that right, whoever reads your email is inclined to like you. Now comes the make or break point of the process–present the book. If your book blurb is boring, it won’t matter that the reviewers like you. They won’t read your novel. Ever.
According to a survey the Canary Review did in August, 61.5% of book reviewers polled said that the blurb could be the sole factor in their decision to read a book (with politeness, friendliness, and originality of the email straggling in next). And in an average week, 49% of the book reviewers surveyed receive 10-20 book review requests. So do what you need to do to rise above the slushpile–finishing a book is just the beginning.
Spend the extra time on your blurb. Draft and redraft. Ask a friend. Ask a canary. Spend several sleepless nights gnawing on your pen.
Well yes, but what about you? What does tCR do?
- We review books. You can find our request submission guidelines here.
- We post nifty series about writing, publishing, and reading. We slap the writing pitches we don’t like, and we draw swanky graphs about unhappy reading truths.
- We offer editing and proofreading services. We’re currently accepting new projects for January and February (contact us at thecanarypost at gmail dot com for more information).
- We invite guest writers to share their best and worst reads. We recruit canaries.
The Obligatory Bio: Naiya got lost reading and still hasn’t managed to clamber back to the land of the living. She has two degrees worth of literature, speaks three languages, and wants to be even more yellow and fluffy when she grows up. Her weaknesses include library cards, Mango Lassi, and amnesia plot twists. Visit the other canaries here!