Monday, January 05, 2009

Peer Reviews Are About More Than Content and Expertise

Let's Talk Peer Reviews . . .

When many of us write nonfiction, we ask for peer reviews. We ask if experts in the field might give us input on our book before it is published. But there is more to it than that (especially for writers of fiction so keep reading!). Some of us are fully cognizant of what that "more" might be and others are not.

For many miss a couple of vital elements of a peer review that Susan D. Daffron mentions in her front page article for Span Connection (Nov. 2008) and that is the author will find more peers willing to help if he or she is asked to review only a chapter rather than a whole book. The other is that the peer review process might well contribute to the gleaning of absolutely great endorsements/testimonials for the cover or inside pages of the finished book.

What I like best about the peer review process is that is can be tailored to benefit writers of the so-called hard-to-promote books--fiction, poetry and memoir.

Writers in those genres often think they can't find interested experts but experts come in all stripes. They can be editors, teachers, authors of similar genres, and on and on. In other words, the peer review process can work well for any author. It's only a matter of figuring out what is in your work that you might have reviewed, finding people with expertise in that area and in blocking out a period of time in the writing process just before sending your manuscript off to a publisher to let the peer review process work for you in all the ways that it can.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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