Thursday, April 29, 2021

It's Raining Reviews by Nora LeDuc #RomanceGems




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. 

Thanks Unsplash

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 ❤️ 

DON'T FORGET~

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15 comments:

  1. What a nice tribute to Kathryn Falk and RT. Kathryn helped me launch my career. I will make sure she sees this post. Nora without reviews many of us would never have been discovered. Let's keep those reviews raining!

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    1. Thanks, Marcia, and nice to know she helped you. I saw her article you too can write a romance novel--and that's what started me writing!

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  2. My first three books got glowing reviews from RT book reviews!! It is nice when someone (who you don't know) appreciates what you've written.

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    1. It's exciting to get those reviews and lifts you up!

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  3. RT was definitely a game changer. Nice post. A positive review can definitely brighten a lonely author's day.

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  4. Reviews are so important. I, too, miss RT. My friend who worked in the romance section of a bookstore said many readers brought their copy with them and bought each of the books with good reviews. That's a powerful magazine!

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    1. A powerful magazine for sure. Is the bookstore still open where your friend worked?

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  5. Whether it's good or bad, a review is always nice. Helps to see what readers thought. I think it's interesting the different viewpoints that each reader has.

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  6. It is interesting to see what you have expected in a review. Some are surprising.

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  7. Nice little history, Nora. Gosh, I think the last time I saw Kathryn was when a friend (boookseller) and I went to lunch at her house. That was, OMG, 25 years ago. My how time flies. My first review from RT was for my first book. That was a long time ago too.

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  8. Great post! I love when you get that review where you can tell the reader really "got" your characters! Those are the best! It's so hard to get reviews these days, with book blogs flooded with requests. A friend recently reviewed for me and jokingly said they were short and sweet, but I was grateful as that's all that is really necessary. It doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece. Thanks for sharing this info!

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  9. Kathryn Falk was always coming up with new ideas. A village in Italy. A farm/bed and breakfast in (I think) Texas. I always thought of going but never did. I used to get RT when it was just a little newsletter on regular paper. Enjoyed talking to her at conferences. Thanks for the look back, Nora.

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