If you are a book lover, you need to connect with one of Canada’s major book review web sites - The Miramichi Reader.
Let’s welcome James Fisher – Editor -in-Chief. It’s not James' first time on the Scribbler. A lot has changed since then. I invite you to take a peek at his previous visit HERE.
Let’s chat with James.
Scribbler: Thanks for taking the time to be our guest James. When we talked about TMR before, it was in 2018 and you mentioned TMR had been in existence since 2014. What is the one major change during these years of which you are the proudest of?
James: I am very proud of the coverage we are able to provide to Canadian book lovers. While I started out with the Atlantic coast publishers and authors in mind, TMR has expanded its coverage nationwide. In addition, I hear great things spoken about TMR from my contacts in the publishing world, which makes me feel good. Blurbs from our reviews can be found on many publisher’s websites, and even in books themselves. I am very happy that TMR grew so organically, and in the process, gained credibility as a trusted source for book reviews.
Scribbler: TMR now has many contributors to the site. Can you tell us something about the growth and how do you find reviewers?
James: The addition of more reviewers, which really took off during the initial years of the Pandemic, has been wonderful, Allan. Many of these – including some who are authors themselves - were invited by myself, and others stepped forward when I put out a call on social media for more reviewers. I really wanted to cover more of the Canadian publishing scene and I can now boast that we have around 50 reviewers on the team, some contributing more frequently than others, but all are doing a fine work for TMR. One of our reviewers, Carrie Stanton, also doubles as our social media person, and that frees up more time for me to keep the site current.
Scribbler: What are important elements in a review?
James: Avoiding spoilers! Seriously, a good review should be balanced, mentioning the positives as well as the negatives about the reading experience. For instance, I recently reviewed a book that claimed to be a “true story” about a certain historical Canadian. However, instead of the expected non-fiction book, it read more like a novel with plenty of invented dialogue. In addition, there was no bibliography or list of references. No photos, nothing that would mark this “true story” as being authoritative. I mentioned all this in my review. I didn’t say that people shouldn’t purchase this book, just be aware of what they are getting.
In addition, a good review should elaborate on the book’s synopsis so that a person reading the review will either be intrigued to buy the book, or think “that topic doesn’t interest me” and move on.
Scribbler: You recently started a funding program through Patreon and Ko-fi. Can you give my readers some direction with how they can be an active part of TMR?
James: I began looking for funding sources, as up until last year (2022) I was funding all the expenses of TMR out of pocket. As the site grew, I needed to purchase a more comprehensive web hosting package, full versions of newsletter services, and WordPress plug-ins to keep the site running smoothly and looking professional. There are also some postal expenses and so on. I didn’t want to apply for a government grant, as I wanted the funding to come from the readers I knew were out there. I went with Patreon initially, then got onboard with Ko-fi as it easily allows one-time donations of $5 and up. I put a little “tip” button at the end of each post, so that if a reader appreciated that particular post, they could leave a tip. Every little bit helps!
|Another great feature of TMR. Go HERE.|
Scribbler: Anything else you’d like to share?
James: In 2022, I tried going the podcasting route as I had been avoiding getting into it for some time. While it was fun to talk to authors on Zoom, it involved a lot of my free time to edit the audio and create an episode that sounded somewhat professional. Eventually, I could see that podcasting wasn’t worth the effort for TMR. It was through our newsletter, social media, and the website that we were reaching the most people. So, I hung up the microphone. One has to try new things, but keeping the status quo is working for us quite well.
Thank you for being our guest, James. Thank you for the great site.
Dear Readers, be sure to visit The Miramichi Reader.
And thank you to all our visitors.
So much goes on behind the scenes. Well done!ReplyDelete
Nice site! How does one go about requesting a review?ReplyDelete
Hi Gary. I assume you are asking about getting a review at The Miramichi Reader? If so, please see this page: https://miramichireader.ca/contact-us/ReplyDelete
Thanks for all you do for authors and their stories, James!ReplyDelete