Nice Things Said Re: EWN

  • "Dan Wickett is serious about a good read. But the EWN email list doesn't just deliver his sure-footed reviews; it also brings you news and connections to other writers. Sign up now - he understands what readers want to know about books." Quinn Dalton, author, Bulletproof Girl
  • 1.
    "Mr. Wickett is that rarely heard from but best of all possible reviewers - the dedicated and knowledgeable fan. He writes clean-cutting and fresh reviews that represent a sensibility unspoiled by over-exposure to the biz of books, but deeply in love with them." Daniel Woodrell, author, Winter's Bone
  • 3.
    "Dan Wickett is a reader's best friend. Not only does he read and trenchantly review new work, but he looks back to books that deserve ongoing readership. I've lost track of the number of times he's led me to boks that I overlooked (or never knew about), and that were a delight. There aren't many reviewers I will let shape my library, but Dan Wickett is one." Erin McGraw, author, The Baby Tree

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    « Short Story Month - Work of the Day - May 1, 2007 - World Champion by Etgar Keret (Translated by Miriam Shlesinger | Main | Bad Timing »

    May 01, 2007



    Dan -- Great news on this front! I'm especially pleased about the Maud Newton bit ("...saying she'd never consider what she does a replacement for a traditional book review") because it says, exactly, what I had hoped to say in my own post about a similar subject today. Although, of course, Maud says it far more succintly than I.

    I would truly miss the print book review sections of the papers I get every Sunday and I can't think of a lit blogger who wouldn't agree with the need to save them. It comes down to the issue of how.

    Steve Gillis

    When I first moved (back) to Ann Arbor 12 years ago, my wife and I approached the Ann Arbor News about doing book reviews. Their response was typical to what we are hearing now - that it is more economical for them to buy reviews from a service and reprint what has already appeared in larger papers. This pattern has continued to where only a few papers now print new reviews at all and what we receive elsewhere is a retread. While litblogs do a great great service and are clearly the wave of the future, I agree it is essential we find a way to reverse the trend and make sure book reviews continue in a printed form. If this means creating a service of our own, where reviews now being written by litbloggers can be culled together and sold to papers as part of a broader service I am all for it and with Dan and Dzanc am surely interested in supporting both financially and otherwise such a venture. Look forward to hearing more from everyone.

    Steve Gillis - co-founder, Dzanc Books


    Why doesn't the NYT ever call me? Once they did, and they got the wrong man and I'd rather forget about that.

    And I only ever read reviews by authors that have some connection to the literary editor anyway.


    I'm new here and saw the NYT article "Are Book Reviewers Out of Print" where I found the link here.

    I enjoy writing book reviews and have a few of them on I was wondering if you're familiar with that site?

    I was also wondering if you have any advice for a 51 year-old emerging writer who has been writing a bi-weekly gardening column for three years, has recently pocketed a degree in English/Creative Writing, and is a father and husband in dire need of a job?

    (Have you entered search terms such as "writer," "copy editor," "editor," or "freelance writer" in a job search engine recently? Try it, you'll likely see no results or results that have nothing to do with the terms you entered.)

    Also, does "literary blogging" and "literary culture" include all genres of literature? For example, creative non-fiction.


    Dan, it was great to see your name lead off the article! Congratulations, and your comments made you sound just as smart as you are.

    For me, the key paragraph in the Times story was this:

    For those who are used to the old way, it’s a tough evolution. “Like anything new, it’s difficult for authors and agents to understand when we say, ‘I’m sorry, you’re not going to be in The New York Times or The Chicago Tribune, but you are going to be at,’ ” said Trish Todd, publisher of Touchstone Fireside, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. “But we think that’s the wave of the future.”

    As I said in my last self-serving, garrulous comment, when my first book came out in 1979, lots of papers printed reviews of just about any old book.

    Somehow authors prefer, as I do, getting reviews and blurbs from places with geographical place names in them to reviews and blurbs from more fancifully-named blogs like Return of the Reluctant or Syntax of Things. Even though the San Francisco Voice, the Ventura County News and the Baltimore City Paper may have been obscure weeklies, a quote from one of their reviews seemed to give my book legitimacy. And even a horrible review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer or Minneapolis Tribune made me somehow feel I was important enough so that a whole city hated my writing.

    Therefore, I would like to respectfully suggest to the esteemed litbloggers that they consider changing the names of their wonderful blogs in favor of names with geographical place names. It would be a great tribute to the moribund newspaper industry if the blogs could be named after dead dead-trees newspapers.

    For example, Maud Newton could rename itself The New York Herald Tribune. Doesn’t The New York World-Telegram & Sun sound better, Ed, than Return of the Reluctant? The Elegant Variation could morph into the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Syntax of Things could, in tribute to the great writer and editor Harry Golden, could revive the name of The Carolina Israelite.

    Bookslut doesn’t sound nearly as prestigious as The Washington Star. LitKicks would make a nice Long Island Press (the afternoon paper we subscribed to back in Brooklyn in the 60s). Beatrice could reclaim the old New York Journal-American title. I’d also hope for changes in the names of PeteLit (The Chicago Times), The Reading Experience (The Miami News), The Old Hag (The St. Louis Globe-Democrat), Curled Up (Houston Post), etc.

    Dan, please consider giving Emerging Writers Network a new name. I'd like to see you as publisher of The Detroit Times.

    Laura Benedict

    Do Richard Ford's comments in the article suggest that he hasn't yet arrived here in the 21st century? Please join us soon, Mr Ford--Your gravitas would be welcome!

    I'd like to mention The Grand Rapids Press in Michigan for a moment. I still do occasional book reviews for them and enjoy being in newsprint. But one of the things they do best is to support regional writers--almost every Sunday there's a book with a Michigan connection. The editor, Sue Thoms, gets a lot of pressure to use wire reviews, but has mostly fended it off, thus far. Truly an unsung hero.

    Great recognition, Dan. Good to see the big boys are paying attention!


    Why are publishers and booksellers of all sizes not lobbying harder to keep book review sections in newspapers? I would think they'd have a significant stake in having both forums available to readers.

    Dan Green (The Reading Experience)

    Since I'm from the St. Louis area, I'd like to take "St. Louis Globe-Democrat" for my blog's new moniker. (Even if it was a right-wing rag.)


    that was very nice of them. you got 2000 hits so far today. good job.

    Erika D.

    Like everyone else I was delighted to see Dan get that attention in the NYT yesterday. But the print vs. blogosphere divisiveness aside for a moment, I find additional problems with this "campaign." (I should say from the outset that I am a former NBCC member who resigned last fall and I've had some unpleasant dealings both at the organization's blog and with John Freeman in particular.)

    For one thing, the petition being touted specifically attests to each signer being "a subscriber to and/or a frequent reader of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and I want the AJC to continue publishing a book section edited by Teresa Weaver...." So long as all the signatories truly do subscribe to/read that section regularly, that's great (though I'd suspect plenty of authors who've received positive reviews there, and plenty of freelancers who've been paid for their work there, are among the not necessarily disinterested signatories as well), but somehow, with the blanket promotion of that petition, I doubt that's the case.

    Plus, there seems to be a particular interest in saving this one person's position (Teresa Weaver; I've never had any interactions with her and I'm sure she's a lovely person, but would the NBCC make an effort like this for someone who isn't a beloved former board member, or, say, someone who edits a book review section less in keeping with their own proclivities?). Beyond that, the part of the "campaign" that suggests that people join the NBCC doesn't sit well with me, but that's likely due at least in part to my lasting disappointment as a former (dues-paying member--yes the NBCC charges membership dues) who didn't appreciate the particularly anti-Israel views promulgated on the organization's blog.

    So, beyond the simple fact that intelligent discourse about books isn't necessarily dying out with the downsizing of newspaper book sections, there are some other issues to consider here.

    Robin Reagler

    Congrats on the New York Times article. How awesome!

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