As PANK‘s Reviews Editor I was part of a panel about women and book reviewing at this year’s AWP in Minneapolis. It was called “Diversity in Reviews: Why Reviewing Matters” and my fellow panelists were Robin Becker, Camille-Yvette Welsch and Alyse Bensel.
Here is the last paragraph of my paper:
I want to leave you with this thought: I don’t want to discount love. Some books are assigned and some we choose based on a pre-publication description – almost like a classified ad – and the reading experience that follows can be lovely or a trial. But at least every so often I recommend reviewing a book you just plain love – especially if you are new to reviewing. I have one pitching strategy that has so far been 100% successful (and this is the strategy I used when I first started reviewing): I read a book from the new releases shelf at my local library, fall in love with it, and say so (and why) in my query letter. Love isn’t always rational (as so many stories remind us). Sometimes we should just fall, and then try to tell others the tale.
If you’ve really fallen in love with a book (one that was published within the last year, or one that’s at least ten years old for our “Books We Can’t Quit” series) and you want to review it for PANK, tell me the tale at firstname.lastname@example.org.