Monday, August 4, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Book Editor (Part II)

During her visit to Saturday Writers, Jane Henderson answered questions from the audience. She was engaging and thorough when she explained the review selection process and candid and encouraging when she gave tips for local writers and publishers on how and when to submit their books for review.

Here's a summary of what I learned:

* All books, including children’s books, should be sent directly to Jane Henderson at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

* You do not need permission to submit a book for review.

* About six weeks ahead of the event/release date, send her a heads up e-mail that you will be submitting a book (galley or ARC) for review consideration.

* No later than four weeks before the release date or event, submit the book (galley or ARC).

* She has to have a physical copy. (I took this to mean no e-books or PDF files.) 
* Succinctly summarize (in a couple lines) why Post-Dispatch readers would be interested in the book.

* Describe the local connection, if any.

* Mention if there's a local event planned—date, time, location, etc.

* Include the date of publication, price of the book, and name of the publisher.

* It’s okay to send one additional follow-up e-mail to make sure the book was received.

* But, sending more than two or three reminders can be counterproductive.

* Jane mentioned that the newspaper uses metrics of online readership to determine which reviews, features, and types of books readers are most interested in reading about. These metrics are used when selecting books for future reviews. 

* Here is a selection of newsworthy items that have appeared recently in the PD book section/book blog.

            A review of Gravity Box written by local author Mark Tiedemann and published by WalrusPublishing, a local press.

            A feature about esteemed local writer William Gass on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

            A feature about the October literary festival, Lit in the Lou.   

           Weekly listings of best-selling books.
Final note:  Jane's talk confirmed my belief that writers can generate interest and get more visibility for books and book reviews by visiting the Post-Dispatch online book section and book blog site regularly. I visit them several times a week to make sure I don’t miss any news about books, publishing, local authors, or special book-related events.


  1. Donna--Thanks for posting the rest of the tidbits you got at the meeting. Aspiring writers need all the help they can get. And you're right. If we can get people interested in our books via the Post-Dispatch book section/blog, we need to take advantage of them.

    (Of course, you never disappoint...;)

  2. When I lived on eastern side of state, I loved the Arts section of Post Dispatch. Remember reading William Childress...loved him! Alas...I don't get that paper anymore.

  3. Insider knowledge can't be beat! Well, technically, that would be "beaten," I suppose. But you get my drift.

  4. We are encouraged to have Jane on staff in StL. So many papers have lost their book reviews. We need to let the Post-Dispatch know we do still read her columns.

  5. Loved your blog post Donna, and I love hearing Jane Henderson talk!.

  6. Great info, Donna. I wonder if other reviewers follow a similar schedule? Thanks for sharing---will definitely bookmark this for future reference.

  7. Donna you summed up Jane's talk perfectly. Thanks!

    Critter Alley

  8. Hi Sioux,
    Thanks. You are so sweet, and your blog never disappoints either!

    Hi Claudia,
    The Arts and Entertainment section is the first part of the paper I read.

    Hi Val,
    I get your drift, girl!

    Hi Marcia,
    You are right!

    Hii Sherre,
    Jane was a gem!

    Hi Lisa,
    I'm not sure about other book review editors. Glad it was helpful.

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks! She was informative and fun!

  9. I always learn something wonderful when I come here! And I also want to say that of the seven cities in which I've lived, Saint Louis has the best paper in the Post-Dispatch. No contest.

    1. Thanks, Tammy. Like you, I missed the newspaper when I lived in other states and overseas

  10. Donna it looks like I got lucky. The post will review my book and it will most likely be in the week from this Sunday's edition. Personal contact helped here I believe.

    1. I believe you are right. I'll be looking for the review.


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