This month my April Showers brought me flowers and snow. What do I really want the rain to bring? As an author, I thought hard about this question and came up with an answer. I'd love to be showered with wonderful REVIEWS! Yes, forgive me if I'm wrong, but they seem to be every writer's dream. (Besides a hero to die for.)
So I wondered, how long have these mini critiques of our works been around? A quick Google search revealed a 1846 comment by Edgar Allen Poe that answered my question. Mr. Poe believed reviews (and the publishing industry)"were a sham and riddled with nepotism." But I'll jump ahead a few centuries to my first memories of a magazine containing tons of romance reviews. Can you guess the name? Yes, I mean the Romantic Times (RT).
Created in 1981 by Kathryn Falk, the RT was originally a newsletter. Ms. Falk's first edition took nine months to create and was distributed to 3,000 subscribers. The premier edition contained a Book Excerpt from China Bride, an Author Interview with Janet Dailey, New Titles for Summer Reading, and a piece titled “What your favorite Novels Reveal about your Personality.” I loved the RT. I would read it cover to cover, searching for those great stories, reading about authors I knew only by their pen names, and pages of recommendations listed by category. And I was not alone.
By 2004, the magazine reportedly had 50,000 subscribers and had built a reputation as “Romance's premiere genre magazine.” (A good friend of mine collected each copy and stored them in her bookcase.) I would go to the New England RWA Chapter meetings where a woman from a bookstore always dropped by and sold copies to anyone who hadn’t bought theirs yet. I knew an author who even secretly reviewed for them–– of course under another name. As times changed, the RT did too. In later years the magazine went digital until it ended in 2018 with Kathryn Falk’s retirement. I still miss it.
Today we have many review book blogs, tours, and more. But thanks to Ms. Falk’s imagination, marketing skills, and the authors who wrote the stories, we enjoyed a shower of reviews between the glossy covers to help us daydream our forever happy endings.
And today, I’m reminding you. Don’t forget to shower your favorite authors with those dream comments. They’ll be forever thankful.
Take care my friends.
🌷Nora LeDuc ❤️