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July 14, 2005

Blogcritics UK.

I’ve got an opportunity to set up a subset, a country specific part, of Blogcritics. This isn’t something set in stone as yet but it’s an idea that’s been discussed recently.

We would be hosted on the Blogcritics site and very definitely be part of their umbrella organisation.

However, I think there’s a value to add by being much more UK centric.

OK, now, there’ll be a little money raised by Amazon links, advertising and the like, which will pay for the infrastructure. But there won’t be anything like enough to be paying contributors, just as there isn’t with the US site.

So, the question is, who would like to write for it?

There’s a couple of things that might make it more attractive. I shall be beating the bushes to get review copies for people (I’ve already got the logistics of that worked out) so there should be a good supply of interesting (and free!) books (books to start with, moving on to CDs and DVDs as soon as poss.) available for review. So that’s the first thing, we’ll be getting copies of books you want to read anyway, in return for which you write a review.

I’ll also be pushing the site, when up and running, to the various regional newspapers and smaller magazines in the UK. I’m hoping that some of them will start to pick up reviews for their own use. The relationship here will be that they contract (and pay) directly to you. We’re not going to try and take a cut. Yes, I know, these reviews can be badly paid, Literary Review pays about 40 quid if you’re lucky, others pay better. The major papers are NUJ rates which are considerably better. (And yes, I’m damn certain that Sam Leith, the Telegraph books editor will at least skim those pages....he’s already been giving advice).

If that goes well we’ll try a deal with a syndication service to make things easier.

For those who want to be or think they already should be writing for the majors a little tip. Reviews can be a good way into the system.

There is also the American thingie, Pajamas Media, coming. They will be trying to syndicate such things to the papers worldwide. The financial model I haven’t seen yet but Blogritics themselves are part of it and I’ve also had brief contact with Roger L. Simon on the subject (the answer was, yes, interesting).

So there may, as I say, may, be methods for actually making a little money out of more formal sales of reviews that are written for the new site.

Plus, of course, that bright shiny new copy of something you wanted to read already.

Now, in order for me to be successful in getting review copies I need to be able to convince the publicizers that this is more than just wanting free copies. That there is a system, an  allocation system, and that the reviewers are at least literate.

So, could you email me/make a comment to this post giving your willingness to be part of this? The only commitment you are making is that if there is something you want to review, and we send it to you, that you will in fact write a review.

I need to know your name and the URL of your blog.

Just to let you know, Clive Davis has also been giving advice and will be joining us, not least in giving some brief tips on how more formal reviews should be structured. As he writes such for both the Washington and London Times (and many other places in the past) this should be helpful.

My rough take is that I need to gather 50 serious names before I start to talk to the PR people about getting copies. So, can you spread the word? Not only join up yourselves but also write this up for your readers? I’m sending emails to those I assume would want to join but of course, there’s tens of thousands more bloggers out there than I know about who might be interested.

It doesn’t matter whether your interest is in historical romance, sci-fi, literary novels, politics, economics, psychology, baroque music, whatever. There’s 80,000 new titles a year published in the UK and I’m hoping that we’ll get a good cross section, even if we don’t get all of them (!). 

Over to you. Who wants to join or who has any further questions?

Oh, one thing I should make plain. This is not an ideologically based site. Obviously, whatever you want to put into a review is fine but there are no groupthink hurdles to overcome before joining. Don’t be put off by my own prejudices.

July 14, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink


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» BLOGGERATI from Clive Davis
Everyone's a critic, so they say. Tim W comes up with a very good idea. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 15, 2005 10:56:12 AM

» Blogcritics UK -- become a book reviewer... from James Hammerton's Blog
Tim Worstall is busy setting up a UK subsection of Blogcritics, a blog that is dedicated to letting bloggers submit book reviews. If you're interested in reviewing books then hop over there. The only commitment you need to make is that if you spot a ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 15, 2005 7:53:46 PM


OK, first sign up is Pootergeek via email.

Posted by: Tim Worstall | Jul 14, 2005 7:44:33 PM

Count me in!

Posted by: John Burgess | Jul 14, 2005 8:00:06 PM

I'm up for it.

Posted by: Phil Hunt | Jul 14, 2005 8:08:24 PM

Put me on the waiting list!

Posted by: Mike Cunningham | Jul 14, 2005 8:38:10 PM

I'm also now posting at Silent Running in Oz/NZ so would like another way into wider exposure. Ready to crit anything you send my way from the viewpoint of Attila the Hun Mark 2....which would make reviewing Cherie Blar's next book interesting.....count me in!

Posted by: Dave t | Jul 14, 2005 9:14:42 PM

Count me in!

I used to review theatre for a couple of Edinburgh Fringe papers and would be happy to join in. Come to think of it, I know some publications that would probably like to use the reviews.

Posted by: Devil's Kitchen | Jul 14, 2005 9:23:58 PM

Does Ireland count?

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Jul 14, 2005 9:27:17 PM

Popular Science, or as it's more commonly seen "Unpopular Science", seems like a reviewable topic.

Posted by: in actual fact | Jul 14, 2005 9:36:03 PM

Sign me up, Tim. Will you mail to the US?

Posted by: pdberger | Jul 14, 2005 10:24:50 PM

Please count me in

Posted by: Jonathan | Jul 14, 2005 11:14:43 PM

I'm game. Thanks.

Posted by: Justin | Jul 14, 2005 11:19:18 PM

Consider me reference-pointed.

Posted by: Nosemonkey | Jul 14, 2005 11:55:43 PM

Um well...

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge | Jul 14, 2005 11:56:51 PM

Sounds interesting. As long as I don't have to read the latest Harry
Potter of course...

My book club amongst my Uni mates fell apart when I got them to read
the epic of Gilgamesh, so I'm needing an outlet.

As an aside, it might be intersting to get left leaning people to read
right leaning books and visa versa - so we break out of our little
echo chambers.

So, yes, I'm up for it...

Posted by: Robin Grant | Jul 15, 2005 12:01:17 AM

I've already been doing this kind of thing with some success, so definitely count me in.
This is a fantastic idea - it'll do more than anything else this year to boost the British blogosphere. Especially given the quietude that has descended since 7/07. I know we're cool heads, but really...

Posted by: James Hamilton | Jul 15, 2005 12:28:36 AM

What the hell, even though I feel like I've joined a Polish bread queue.

Posted by: Backword Dave | Jul 15, 2005 1:38:36 AM

And me, I'm game.

Posted by: David Wildgoose | Jul 15, 2005 7:53:19 AM

I don't know if an American living in England will qualify, but if so, I'd be happy to do this. I write (wrote being more accurate, perhaps) women's fiction myself and have critiqued quite a few manuscripts.

Posted by: KathyF | Jul 15, 2005 8:27:15 AM

Yep, sounds like a good wheeze. I like Robin Grant's idea "to get left leaning people to read right leaning books and visa versa". Know your enemy, that's what I say.

Posted by: Matt | Jul 15, 2005 10:52:10 AM

I'd be interested...I';d even go as far as the new Harry Potter :o)

Posted by: Rachel | Jul 15, 2005 11:20:09 AM

I'll have a go...

Posted by: 011428846 | Jul 15, 2005 11:24:58 AM

Stick my name down for this - I'd be more than happy to contribute to it. I used to write reviews for all and sundry several years ago, so it'll be good to get back into the habit. Not so bothered about the national exposure, I just like writing, reading, watching and listening to things.

Posted by: Gary | Jul 15, 2005 11:25:10 AM

I'd be interested. Got any Russian fiction to review?

Posted by: Andy | Jul 15, 2005 12:08:52 PM

I'll give it a crack if you'll have me. Preferred topics: anything to do with crime and death. Or history. Which amounts to the same thing, mostly.

Posted by: jamie | Jul 15, 2005 1:27:28 PM

I have nearly finished colouring in all my books so would be happy to have some new ones - as long as the reviews can be in crayon...

Posted by: Tim | Jul 15, 2005 1:45:01 PM