Refusing to Review Self-Published Books

This article at the Los Angeles Review of Books sets out to make the point that there are far too many self-published books and explore the stigma of that label, but I found it more enlightening in its comments on review policies. Apparently major media, newspapers and magazines, don’t cover self-published works as a rule, believing them to be “amateurish”. The Washington Post does not review self-published books. The Post’s fiction editor Ron Charles admits, “We simply don’t have the […]

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What Makes a Good First Issue? Guidelines for Superhero Comic Origins

Commentary by KC Carlson All through our lives, we hear one particular metaphor over and over — You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Most of the time we hear it in relation to job hunting and interviews, but I think it’s a pretty good rule of thumb for practically anything. Especially the first issues of comic books. First Issues, Pilots, and Proposals There’s always been a special fascination with first issues in the world of […]

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Reveal Those Review Copies, Bloggers

If you’re in the U.S., as of December 1, the Federal Trade Commission has made it mandatory for bloggers to disclose any payment or free items they receive in return for reviews. If you don’t, “penalties include up to $11,000 in fines per violation.” No specifics were provided on how the items must be disclosed. (Update: The FTC has clarified through questions from the affected: the fine potential is for advertisers, not bloggers.) Last time the subject came up, at […]

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Why Posting Has Been Light Lately

KC and I just got home from the hospital, where he’s been since Wednesday. They think he had a mini-stroke, which would explain his vertigo and dizziness (even more than usual). Here he is getting his brain scanned, one of the many tests they ran. (The dots are electrodes.) He said it was like watching the best Pink Floyd laser light show. He’s fine now but still resting up. Just in time for me to feel like I’m coming down […]

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Reviewers Can’t Win

I know, reviewing’s not that hard. You read or watch something, and then you say what you thought, being careful to include the basics — the premise, the creators, any special features that set it apart, the context of its place in genre or history if relevant — as well as explaining your points with enough clarity and examples that someone can figure out A) whether or not they share your tastes and B) whether or not they’d like it […]

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Reviewing What’s Sold to Me

Valerie D’Orazio argues (link no longer available) that superhero comic stories should only be reviewed after they’re finished. Well, that might be a bit too strong. I don’t want to put words in her mouth. She asks, “Is it fair to review any story arc before it’s over?” and then lists reasons why it’s not. While that can be the safe approach — you have to make certain assumptions otherwise, and you risk guessing wrong, but that’s part of the […]

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How to Work a Booth

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning (shut UP! I know it’s June!), and while sorting through old papers, I found my copy of the Friends of Lulu booth guidelines from 1996. Since convention season is heating up, maybe some small publishers might find these tips helpful. (I’ve heavily excerpted the document to make it more general.) Opening the Booth A coordinator should have been designated in advance to take charge of booth setup. Make sure that all boxes and supplies […]

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Reviewing Serialized Chapters

A comment in response to my review of Mail Order Ninja brought up an interesting point I wanted to draw more attention to. MON Book 1 is only the beginning of a series, as I noted in the review. However, I reviewed it as a single element, because that was the package I was given. A reader responded “you seem to have an inability to recognize the inertia of character arcs”, telling me I should have more faith in the […]

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