Here and elsewhere, there have been some valuable discussions about children's book reviewing on blogs and an email I just got has me wondering about the distinction between book reviewing and book buzz. The email, of the multiple-recipients variety, was from Penguin: "Have you read FIRE yet? We want to know what you think! Please send me your thoughts, comments, quotes, etc. so we can get buzzing about the biggest young adult book of the year! Looking forward to hearing from you!"
I think those exclamation points will allow me to forgo another cup of coffee this morning. Fire is Kristin Cashore's sequel to Graceling (published by Harcourt, Awkward.) and will be released in October. The buzz-begging went, I presume, to people who had received ARCs, and I'm guessing that this group includes a fair number of bloggers, given how well Graceling did among that group last year.
I wonder if book-bloggers are going to have to choose between being creators (and subsequently beneficiaries) of buzz and reviewers of books. As I wrote in the comments on my last post, reviewing a book months in advance of its publication is not particularly useful if the audience for your review is the general public. (Advance reviewing of the kind Kirkus does is useful, because it's going to an audience--librarians--who routinely order books before publication date.) But months-in-advance is perfect for creating buzz, and blogging is a terrific medium for just that kind of publicity. Can a blogger provide buzz in advance and a review later? Does involving oneself in buzzing compromise any subsequent review? How cozy can a blog get with a publisher's marketing strategy? And if you DO have "thoughts, comments, quotes" on a book, are you going to give 'em to a publisher or save 'em for your blog?