Interview | Publishing In Canada • Anne Logan & 7 Years Of Loved Work

It is a truth universally acknowledged that books and cats (okay, dogs too…) are a reviewer’s solid company and reliable source of comfort. And, when working in a book field for seven (7) years, one leaves with various degrees of experience, let alone unforgettable moments that possibly shaped one’s worldview. In continuing The Black Lion Journal’s conversation on publishing and literature, TBL Journal has humbly asked Anne logan, book reviewer for her website I’ve Read This and blogger listed on The Book Review Directory, to humor us in answering a few questions for this in depth interview directly related to her experience in the publishing sector. [READ Anne Logan’s Featured Series! Anne Logan: Books, Cats, & A Bit Of Wowza]

THE BLACK LION
You hosted the Alberta Literary Awards and you are the PRESIDENT on the board of directors! Congratulations! For those who may not be familiar with the awards, what are the Alberta Literary Awards all about? And what was your role?

ANNE LOGAN
The Alberta Literary Awards are prizes given out annually to Alberta writers in 8 different categories, celebrating everything from poetry to short non-fiction. I’m a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors, which is the presenting organization of the awards each year. Because of my role on the board, I was asked to host the awards this year, which I was honoured and excited to do. Essentially I introduced the presenters, and attempted to make awkward jokes while I kept the program moving along!

THE BLACK LION
You’ve worked in Canadian publishing for 7 years! How was that, as an experience? How did you get started in publishing?

ANNE LOGAN
I went to Humber College in Toronto and took their Creative Book Publishing program. This was instrumental in getting me started on my path into the book world, because it connected me to so many different people in the Canadian book industry, and gave me valuable real-world experience. From there, I got a job as publicist for the wonderful Cormorant Books, which led to my next job in Calgary, at the literary festival Wordfest. All of these positions were not only fun, but gave me the chance to read a ton of great books.

THE BLACK LION
In retrospect, what advice do you have for novice writers or college students who would like to gain access into the publishing world, as an author and/or as someone working for a publishing house?

ANNE LOGAN
Publishing is a notoriously low-paying industry, so working as an intern is the best way to get your foot in the door, because publishers need that low-cost help all the time. Volunteering at book-related non-profits is also a great way to get started, so look into your local book festivals and writing organizations to gain more experience. If you’re willing to work hard for very little pay, and you have a passion for books, you’ve got a great chance of being successful in this industry.

THE BLACK LION
Sometimes I feel that book bloggers are best suited as a liaison for readers between authors and publishers. I was wondering–what are your thoughts on the current role of book bloggers?

ANNE LOGAN
Book bloggers are fitting into an important niche that is badly needed in the publishing world. As many print newspapers limit their book sections, or in many cases scrap them altogether, there seems to be a need for unbiased book reviews. Although online book reviews are not necessarily as “trustworthy” as print reviews (mainly because you can’t tell who is actually publishing them, and why) they do provide content for people looking to pick up a book. There are so many books out there that people want to hear from someone else that their purchase will be worthwhile, which is why book reviews are so important.

Book blogging is also adding to the number of voices in book criticism, simply because it’s so easy to get our opinion out there with a blog post, so it’s nice to have such a diverse set of voices to choose from and follow.


“I worked in the Canadian publishing industry for 7 years, and loved every minute of it. Now that my day job no longer involves books, I wanted to find a way to connect with other readers and publishing professionals. I read a lot, and I don’t want to keep my opinions to myself, so people send me books, and I review them.”

THE BLACK LION
You’re an avid book reader and fantastic book blogger with a strong following! What draws you to a particular book? Has book blogging changed the way you approach a book now, as compared to before blogging (or is it about the same)?

ANNE LOGAN
Well thank you for the compliments, I still consider myself a very “new” blogger, because I follow so many other book bloggers that have way more followers than me, so it’s a work in progress! I really enjoy Canadian literature in particular, so when given the choice of which books to read, I typically lean towards local authors. My work with the WGA as mentioned above also influences my reading, so I try to pick up Alberta writers as much as I can. Of course, I also love a good mystery 🙂

The only thing that’s changed about the way I read now, versus when I used to read, is that I try to form my opinion of the book as I go, rather than leaving my reflections to the end. I also try to pick out particular things about the writing or story that I can discuss in my posts, so I’m not just giving a long plot overview as my review. The back of the book summarizes the plot, so my blog readers don’t need an in-depth description of what’s going to happen: just a quick explanation does the trick. When I used to work for Wordfest, I read books with a few things in mind, one of them being the author themselves, and their reputation; also, how the book would read in a public setting. Because I’m now simply reading books to see if they are enjoyable or not, it’s much easier to decide whether I can recommend them or not.

THE BLACK LION
What role do you consider book bloggers and reviewers, in terms of marketing and/or author representation?

ANNE LOGAN
Book bloggers are just another form of publicity, when you get right down to it. It’s also important to note that they are a very cost-effective way to get attention for one’s book. Purchasing advertising for a book is extremely expensive, which is why you don’t see much of it anymore, but sending a book to a person in exchange for an honest review is a great way for publicists to get their books in the hands of more people. Once being a publicist myself, I realize the importance of getting a book out there, so I make an effort to pass along my books to others once I’ve finished reading them. This act of passing on the book may foster a love of that author in someone else, which is the ultimate goal of the publisher and author.

THE BLACK LION
What tip would you give to book bloggers about accepting books for review from authors and/or agents?

ANNE LOGAN
The most important thing to keep in mind when accepting books for review is to be picky, and only accept books that you think you would like. For instance, if you don’t enjoy reading historical fiction, don’t agree to review a book in that genre, because you probably won’t like it, and you probably haven’t read enough of that genre to give it a fair review. There are many books that look like I would enjoy them at the outset, but because of problems with the writing or narrative, I don’t end up liking it. When that happens, I give them a negative review, because I’m comfortable enough with that genre to know whether the book is well-written or not.

You also need to be clear about what format you are willing to read. For instance, I clearly state in my reviewing guidelines that I won’t review e-books, and yet some authors still pitch their e-books to me. This is a clear indication that they haven’t taken the time to read my guidelines, therefore I won’t take the time to read their book in return.

THE BLACK LION
Finally, last question! What are the top 3 tips that you would give to novice bloggers on starting a book blog?

ANNE LOGAN
1. Try to post at least once a week, at minimum.
2. Find other blogs that have reviewed the same book you did, and connect with them. This will help you build a readership.
3. Make sure your own creative voice shines through; that will set your blog apart from others.

• • •

The Black Lion graciously thanks Anne for her time in answering these questions! And we hope that you may have found some inspiration from her words as much as we have in asking for them and in reading them. Publishing is something that takes passion and perseverance. It takes strength, belief, and value to push forward ideals and creativity. This is why book reviewers and bloggers are so vital in shaping future views about writers/authors and literature in general. Anne Logan is a change maker and influencer for literature by continuing her passion for books as far as she can go. Follow her on Facebook, Goodreads, and on her blog.

¡PSST! ©2016 The Black Lion Journal

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