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"I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so."

-- Sidney Smith 

T A B L E  O F  C O N T E N T S
  1. [Editor Notes; The Writer as Reviewer; Writer as Reviewed]
  2. [Resource Notes]
  3. [Markets and Leads]
  4. [C/Oasis- new stories and poems]
  5. [Community]
  6. [Etc/Etc/Etc]

Welcome back! Some changes have been made to Sunoasis. The premium and regular issues have been merged. Each issue will be dominated by one theme but will have plenty of resources to pick and choose from. Every issue will have up-to-date market information.

I'm not charging for subscriptions but will use the Amazon Honor System. I like to think I'm more like PBS than CBS.

E D I T O R  N O T E S

Sunoasis continues its long climb up to respectability. I was contacted by a publicist for the Carnegie Mellon University Press asking if I would review two new books of fiction they are publishing. If Sunoasis has that much credibility with a decent university I couldn't say anything but yes.

Some of those reviews are here if you're interested.

Reviewing is both an intelligent act and one useful in the marketing side of the writing business. The writer is a reviewer but there comes a time when she wants to be reviewed.

The reviewers job is simply to experience the work as best she can and then write honestly about what "comes up." Do that fairly, honestly, with intelligence, and you can be a decent reviewer.

Reviewing often has a reputation as being a slightly corrupt enterprise, especially in old literary cultures like Great Britain.

But in America, where everyone is slightly naive and democratic, the reviews tend to be earnest and sincere. In America the attitude is, "will this book make me do what I want to do better?"

There is hardly any opinion about the literary merits of a book.

Just as in writing the admonition is to read and read more, so too with reviewing it is necessary to read that which fascinates you and then go review books written on subjects that fascinate.

Editors run reviews because they see it as part of the journalistic function to separate the wheat from the chaff. The editor also knows that people hate making decisions and want other people to do it for them.

According to Scott Pack, writing in the Bookseller, "Book reviews should inspire reading. They should excite, stimulate, agitate and empower readers to discover new books and avoid bad ones. They should turn you on to undiscovered authors, prompt you into finally reading the writer you have never quite got round to, and make you wonder at the world of delights that remain unread."

Who needs book reviews? How about academics, students, consumers, people who read for pleasure, parents, professionals in technical arenas, and certainly librarians.

First law of the reviewer: "Trust the tale not the tale-teller."

Book reviewing is one of the keystones that holds the literary system together. It necessitates a kind of rare honesty. After reading a reviewer do a hatchet job on some poor guy's work you think more about what is wrong with the reviewer than with the work under review.

>>>>>>>Y e a h,  b u t   i s n ' t   b o o k   r e v i e w i n g   d e a d?<<<<<

In the past reviewers have made a decent living in large-circulation publications such as newspapers and magazines. As with many other aspects of the literary system it is being challenged by the internet.

"Book criticism is an increasingly endangered beat in a chain-dominated newspaper industry," says Kevin Berger of Slate. "Its pleasures are too quirky and cerebral to fit newspapers' marketing formulas."

Reviewing, in my opinion, is a professional obligation. Poets should review poets, novelists should review novelists, journalists should review books that journalists write. Lawyers should review books written by lawyers, school superintendents should review books by school superintendents and down the line.

In doing so the professional or knowledgeable amateur undercuts the vapid press release put out by pure marketing types that undermines the credibility of language. Book reviews build up a credible foundation that is useful to many types of people.

We all know the internet is a great catalyst for change. It has two large impacts on book reviewing. One is the tsunami of information that people can tap into and get substantial opinions about books, beliefs, ballet and everything else. Why one opinion about a book? Why not a dozen from both known and obscure sources?

And people chat on the beast. They discuss and recommend. If you are in a community of chatters a recommendation can sometimes be more potent than a review.

Damian Horner, a freelance marketing consultant, has termed it a new "recommendation model." He points out the arrival of focus groups, bloggers, and reading groups coming in to play a role in the new reviewing game.

Look no further than that strange, awesome beast Amazon.com, which quickly seized on the advantages of the Net by allowing readers to post reviews of books. This practice has had its share of scandals. And as a guy who buys books from Amazon I can attest to how powerful a real good or a real bad review plays on the decision to buy. Reviews are now the property of all the communities on the internet and go far beyond specific publications.

Reviews are not going away.

Resources to consult:
Reviews of Books runs original reviews and links to reviews of specific books from other review sites.
This is an extensive resource into publications that review books. I recommend it!

>>>>>>>> T h e    W r i t e r   -  R e v i e w e d<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Despite changes don't write off the review game as irrelevant. There are plenty of powerful publications that wield clout with their readers that include books-buyers from Barnes and Noble, Borders and libraries.

A quintessential goal for the writer is to get her book reviewed!

A review will vault your book over thousands of others that go unreviewed. It is a central part of the marketing plan.

I have proven that an editor of a small publication is open to reviewing books close to the editorial intent of the publication.

The book-review game can be complicated. Here are some tips on building your odds of success in this area. I'm not the expert but I have consulted a few. They are credited at the end.

S o m e  E a s y   T i p s   F r o m   T h o s e   W h o   K n o w
  • Start early. Put it on the planning list. If you have an in- house publicist make sure you stay on top of where she is trying to get the book reviewed. Start thinking about reviewers six-months before the book is published.
  • Develop a solid list of reviewers and especially look to see if your book has a unique audience and connect to all publications that share that audience.
  • Don't stop looking for reviewers. Keep assuming that your work hasn't found all its potential audience.
  • Don't limit yourself to the traditional print-review sources. Consider radio and television shows and Internet review sites with their more flexible lead times.
  • You can't force anything. Think small, think niche.
  • Include all personal information plus the publication date for the book in a cover letter or as part of a media kit.
  • Get any decent comments from the advance copy reviews? Use them in all other post-pub reviews.
  • Request a clipping of the review from the reviewer.
  • Don't send a reviewer a shabby copy. Get the production value to, at least, normal standards for the book industry.
  • Make sure your book fits the format norms for the market segment. For example, most general fiction reviews are for hard cover only. So, if you have a trade paper original it may hamper your ability to be reviewed.

"The Book-Review Game" by Bharti Kirchner in Writer Magazine, October, 2005.
"The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing" by Tom and Marilyn Ross Writer's Digest Book, pp. 225-228

         [ CODA ]

David Sexton, in The Evening Standard (U.K.), makes the point that, "in private life, nobody sane reads all books through."

According to Sexton, when Dr. Samuel Johnson was given a book to read by a clergyman he is alleged to have said, "A book may be good for nothing; or there may be only one thing in it worth knowing; are we to read it all through?"

The book reviewer has the obligation, however, to do the deed on behalf of the reading public who remain short on time and/or money.

So obey the simple rule of Evelyn Waugh and never review a book you didn't actually read!

* * * * * * * *

Directory of Review Sources
Literary Market Place: Lists everything you need.
Library Journal
School Library Journal
Publisher's Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
New York Times
Small Press Review

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Writing Good Book Reviews
How to write a book review.
How to write a decent book review.
Places that review books.
Getting your book reviewed.
A guide to writing a book review.

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We talked about time management last month and I came across this software that will track time spent on projects. I've seen it touted several places but I'm not necessarily endorsing it. It's $40.

B u s i n e s s o f W r i t i n g :

Blogging continues to influence newspapers. "Williams said publishers can no longer just concentrate on what he calls "inside-out" information flow, where stories are composed entirely internally and then pushed to an audience. Participation and feedback should be welcomed and expected, he said." The mainstream is just now understanding that the Net is a new publishing system. I suspect long-time subscribers of Sunoasis have known that for awhile.

(Pay-for-view article) Another discourse on the impact of digital publishing. It's not a zero-sum game at all. I think more than a few writers will abscond with their talents, make websites with a portion of those talents and then make solid print-on-demand hard copies for readers who, like myself, read books. A writer should approach all of this as a grand adventure, with risks, that permit him or her to actively participate in their own writing life. I would not want to read War and Peace on the computer. But, I would (and have) read The Odes of Horace on a screen. I love reading my own stuff online. It wouldn't bother me to see it in print, with a nicely designed cover, hard-bound. But I know I can do that if I want. Digital publishing is about ownership, plain and simple. I totally disagree with writers who allow readers to make marginal notes in the manuscript, as part of the manuscript. But, that's his option. I completely agree with the writer taking as much control of the process as he can.

Jeff Jarvis analyzes the future of the book. It's not good he says. He makes several excellent, correct assumptions. First of all, it's the content that makes the book, not the cover, binding, paper, and typography. All of those enhance a book but the essence is the content between the covers. The economics don't favor the book. The new habits among the young don't favor the book. There are severe problems however. One is protecting the rights of the author, including the right to get paid. There will be no seamless continuity between these forms.

A maverick publishes his own books and makes an acute observation. "Tired of the modern publishing-house system that he figures is only looking to make a quick buck off its writers, Livingstone has gone the self-publishing route and purged his vast catalogue." What this wonderful writer does is introduce the wisdom of a writing life. Is the publishing system going to invest in your writing life? Think hard and twice about it.

Yes, they are still arguing about print vs. digital. Let the future take care of itself. This impressive panel agreed on one thing. When a excellent portable reading device comes into play, print is in grave danger.

But is the threat to print and newspapers, especially, a threat to democracy? No. The low levels of literacy in a "super-power" such as this is a threat to democracy.

W r i t e r O r g a n i z a t i o n s :

American Journalism Historians Association
American Screenwriters Association
Media Info Center
Media Bloggers Association
Nieman Foundation for Journalism

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M A R K E T S  A N D  L E A D S

Native People's Magazine
German Life
Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, for African-American business
American Indian Art Magazine
Celtic Heritage Magazine
Filipinas Magazine
Jewish Action

Here is an index of writer guidelines.


Contract Writing/High-Tech Market Research Assignments. (NOTE: MULTIPLE, sequential assignments available)

BCC, Inc. (www.BCCResearch.com) is seeking seasoned market researchers/WRITERS who are capable of preparing complete, self-contained technical/economic market research reports discussing niches in most PHYSICAL or LIFE SCIENCE sectors of the economy including: biotechnology, chemicals, healthcare, technical ceramics and advanced materials, electronics, transportation, energy, flame retardancy, food/beverage, Internet, telecommunications, membranes/separations, plastics, packaging, waste, water, and air treatment, and many other industries.

Applicants must have excellent knowledge of their chosen industry and excellent economic/market research skills. Successful applicants must be able to meet publication deadlines and adhere closely to finished copy format requirements which are supplied by the publisher (see Author Guide downloadable from http://bccresearch.com/guide).

BCC pays a MINIMUM of $5,000 on author’s HAND-IN of document PLUS royalties!

For Full Ad

Staff Writers Needed
Washington D.C. area

LRP Publications is a thriving publisher of business-to-business newsletters, magazines, books, software, online services and more. In business for 29 years, we are recognized as the leader in many legal and professional markets.

We currently have 2 available staff writer positions in our Rosslyn, VA office. First, we are seeking a reporter to cover education issues on Capitol Hill for daily print and Web-based publication, Education Daily. We need people who can cultivate and report news quickly and accurately.

The second staff writer position will cover Congress, the White House, federal agencies, associations, think tanks and experts for LRP's Federal Group products that service the federal human resources, labor relations and workers' compensation communities. Foremost among these products is the Web site, cyberFEDS®.

For Full Ad


Valley Forge, PA

Vanguard, one of the world's largest investment management companies, seeks a strong writer to create and/or revise text in proposals for prospective Institutional clients, and to assist in managing the database that stores responses to questions in Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

You'll write clear, concise text, or revise existing text that answers questions in the RFP database making sure that database content is current and accurate. Your style and language should comply with accepted Vanguard standards. You'll help maintain the database by communicating with subject matter experts on a regular schedule and revising the content as necessary, and you'll assist in editing ad hoc responses. You'll gather feedback from editors, editorial managers, subject matter experts, and any other appropriate reviewers and be expected to work collaboratively with experts across the company.

For Full Ad


Fiction and nonfiction writers for most genres. Publication history, reliability, ability to work to tight deadlines and strong interpersonal skills essential.

For Full Ad

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Job Links for new leads!

If you have any suggestions about markets you want guidelines for, just drop a line

A T    C/ O A S I S
by Roy A. Barnes

Love has many prices. One of them is accepting the imperfections of the person, place, or thing that has found its way into your heart. The sum of my love of the many geographical twists and turns that make London what it is, is made more complicated by my uncanny ability to get lost when blazing a new trail for myself and anyone with me.

DIVA by Elizabeth Varadan
"It’ll be nice to see my grandbabies," Renee chattered nervously. Since they’d left the bus depot the taxi driver had only made noncommittal grunts to her comments.

"Six months old," said Renee. "Twins. A boy and a girl." Rose had sent her a picture with the birth announcement. They both had shocks of dark hair like her daughter’s above their wrinkled faces.

Three Poems by Lamont Palmer
Reflections on Possible Waywardness
A Tilghman Island Tale

On The Rocks by Liam Rands
“Are all bodies this heavy?” Brad asked. He struggled to maintain his grip around Wayne’s thick legs.

“He’s a dead weight alright.” Todd chuckled. He looked down at the overweight man they carried between them. “It’s all those chocolate cookies the kids in his class make for him. They stick like lead to his waist.”

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New York State Summer Writers' Institute

Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY
July 3 - July 28, 2006

Pacific Northwest Writers Association Annual Summer Conference

Seattle Airport Hilton
Seattle, WA
July 13- July 16, 2006

Sewanne Writers' Conference

The University of the South
Sewanee, TN
July 18- July 30, 2006

Squaw Valley Community of Writers

Olympic Valley, CA
July 22- July 29, 2006 (for poetry)
August 5 - August 12, 2006

Writing The Region- Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Writers Workshop

Gainesville, FL
July 26- July 30, 2006

The Glen Workshop

Santa Fe, NM
July 30 - August 5, 2006

Green Lake Writers Conference

Green Lake, WI
August 5- August 12, 2006

Mid-Atlantic Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference

Goucher College
Baltimore, MD
August 9- August 14, 2006

Bread Loaf Writers' Conference

Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT
August 16 - August 27, 2006


Want to keep Sunoasis going? Donate through the Amazon Honor System and wonderful things will happen!

Thanks to Steven Evans for his generous contribution. Thanks Steven! He is an editor and has a splendid web site here: www.the-freelance-editor.com

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E T C/ E T C/ E T C

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Copyright 2006


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