Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin' ... 3

When the Tartarus Press first published Ritual and other Stories in 1992 it was reviewed in Avallaunius (the journal of the old Arthur Machen Society), Necrofile, and the splendidly obscure It Goes on the Shelf. By the time we published The Secret of the Sangraal in 1995, we also received reviews in The South Wales Argus, The Contemporary Review, The Universal Mind and The Fortean Times. We still have the original cuttings pasted in an album, slowly turning yellow... Of course, these were all physical, print reviews, and we had to wait up to a year for some of them to be published.


Once we had got into our stride as publishers we automatically sent out review copies to those publications we thought could best offer publicity, including the late, lamented The Third Alternative and All Hallows. Then, as now, we had to try to judge the efficacy of different publications. For example, if The Times Literary Supplement reviewed one of our books it was always good to be able to quote the review, but it rarely resulted in sales. Receiving a positive review in a journal devoted to a single literary figure always looked a little parochial, but would often sell more books. Review copies are expensive to send, so we had to choose wisely. Of course, it wasn't always obvious which publicity a customer might have seen before ordering a book.


And then the internet came along...Print media is still important (Peter Tennant at Black Static is one of reviewers worth trying to impress), but suddenly there is a wide range of other virtual venues for reviews, publicity and promotion. So, which of these are influential, well-respected, and gain a large number of readers, and which are well-meaning but go unnoticed? As ever, it is very hard to tell, especially as publicity can often have a cumulative effect, meaning that a book might only be bought after a customer has read a number of positive reviews. (Interviews are similar. Jason Rolfe at Bibliomancy has today posted an interview with Tartarus Press, and hopefully a few readers will go on to check out our website.)

So, which venues strike us as interesting and useful? A good review from Publishers Weekly, like the TLS, always looks impressive, and yes, The British Fantasy Society and others are worthwhile, but we'd like to suggest a few fascinating but less obvious venues for discerning readers:


The Endless Bookshelf
The Agony Column
The Stars at Noonday
The Pan Review
She Never Slept

Do you have any other suggestions...?