Thursday, July 28, 2016

Has Book Reviewing Changed For Better or For Worse?

Just prior to the release of "The Last Ranch" in May, a very positive review of the book was posted online at "Tonstant Weader Reviews" with a note that a review copy had been provided by my publisher. It got me to thinking about how much the world of book reviewing has changed since my debut novel, "Tularosa" was published in 1996.

Twenty years ago, most newspapers, including my hometown paper the Santa Fe New Mexican, had journalists who served as book editors and who routinely got advanced reading copies of books from publishers asking for review consideration. Because of that a whole lot more authors had their books reviewed and a whole lot more readers were drawn to books they might not have otherwise discovered.

For the writer, if the print reviews were positive -- and even better yet plentiful as well -- chances for strong sales could skyrocket. It was always a happy occasion when good print reviews came in from Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York or another major market. That doesn't happen anymore for most writers.

Nowadays with the growth of the Internet and increasing popularity of reader reviews on websites,  book editors at newspapers have become all but extinct and a writer's chance of having a book featured and reviewed in a major print market is almost nil.

While I can understand how economics can make publishers decide not to run a weekly book page, I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Doesn't their livelihood depend on readers reading? Wouldn't they want to encourage that by recommending worthwhile books? I know booksellers would love it.

Fortunately the Santa Fe New Mexican continues to review books and I truly appreciate that. But with social media, author websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. now dominating, do newspaper reviews even matter in the digital age?

I think so, but what do you think?

"The Last Ranch" reviewed at

Tonstant Weader has reviewed "The Last Ranch". Read the review here...

Monday, July 18, 2016

"The Last Ranch" reviewed in the Florida Times-Union

I’d like to share the July 8th review of “The Last Ranch” in the Florida Times-Union newspaper. It’s nice to know the book continues to receive print media praise.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Going to a Booksigning? Buy a Book.

During the last twenty years, I've had the good fortune to travel across the country from coast to coast, signing and talking about my books in bookstores large and small. I continue to enjoy
meeting readers who appreciate my novels enough to take time out of their busy lives to attend those events and expresses their enthusiasm for what I've written. It also gives me an opportunity to thank them and show my gratitude to the booksellers who have helped build my career as a successful writer.

Very often, these booksellers are book lovers and small independent proprietors filling a vital role in the cultural well-being of their communities, and doing it all on a very slim profit margin while competing against the Internet giants that drastically undercut prices. I sometimes silently wince when a reader at an independent bookstore event asks me to a sign a copy of my book purchased online at a deeply discounted price. It just isn't fair to the booksellers, and I watch as they grin and bear it.

With that said, I'd like to suggest a new bit of book-buying behavior the next time you go to your local independent bookstore and attend an author event: Always buy a book. Any book.

Buy a copy of the book by the presenting author for yourself, or if you already have a copy get one for a friend. Buy a book for a child or grandchild, husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend. Buy a book by another writer you admire, a book in a different genre you haven't yet explored. If money's tight, buy a bargain book that looks interesting. And if you can afford it, leave with an armful of books and the pleasant anticipation of the enjoyment of what lies ahead once you open that first new  book to page one.

Book signings are hard work for booksellers. Books must be ordered, arrangements for scheduling must be made, publicity and marketing has to be readied, displays put up, books unpacked, chairs and tables put up and then put away, book repacked, and everything tidied up. And don't forget the author, who may need an introduction, a lectern, a microphone, or have other special requests. All  done by the bookseller for very little profit.

With this in mind, please don't treat the author talks and signings you attend as evenings of free entertainment. At the end of the event walk out of the store with books you've purchased. Any books. The independent booksellers will love you for it.
With a tip of the hat to Dorothy Massey, owner of The Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hardest-working bookseller I know, and truly a great lady.

Friday, July 1, 2016

"The Last Ranch" reviewed in Pasatiempo Magazine

Reading the Friday morning paper over coffee this morning brought a very welcome and unexpected surprise. There was a great review of “The Last Ranch” by Robin Martin in the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Pasatiempo Magazine that is really a wonderful critique of my now complete American West trilogy. She writes that, “In addition to being full of adventure, each book is a true historical novel, an accurate picture of the American West. McGarrity’s writing is as clear as the desert air … and he has a talent for telling good stories. (His) trilogy of the Kerney family ranch is the story of most ranches in New Mexico. Anyone who is a fan of the author’s popular Kevin Kerney novels should read this authentic Western trilogy….”

It doesn’t get any better than this. Clink on link to enjoy the entire review.