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Indie Voices: Our Best Blogs of 2015

Best Blogs

Our bloggers come from a wide range of backgrounds, and their insights are part of what makes Foreword Reviews so dynamic. This year, we published blogs from journalists, novelists, librarians, and even a few Foreword insiders.

From this brief selection of our blog posts, you’ll learn about what’s missing in YA; about how to present your work to the world—and accept reader feedback; about the importance of independent work; and even how to embrace your most imaginative side. Those lessons make these a few of our favorite blogs.

The DIY Book Tour

Indie author Johanna DeBiase hand-crafted a book tour for herself this summer, covering its ups and downs for our blog along the way. In this second installment, she reveals some of the lessons she learned, from where to read to how to field questions, from touching base with hosts to learning how to tailor your expectations. Great insights for independent authors considering similar moves.

Embracing the Imagination

A beautiful essay from Joanne Harris, the author of Chocolat, that meditates on why we move to squelch our imaginations as we become adults. Spoiler alert? Harris thinks that impulse is a loss. Read along as she asserts that “imagination is not about escaping from reality. It is the art of the possible. It teaches curiosity and flexibility of thought—. And stories—even fairy stories; perhaps especially fairy stories—teach us to look behind fiction and see the truth that it conceals.”

Addressing Sexual Assault Via YA

Librarian Kyrsten Bean tackled the topic of sexual assault in YA fiction—or, rather, the too few books that dare to approach sexual assault and its aftermaths. She covers troubling statistics and the absolute necessity of active dialogue: “although it’s not a pretty topic to discuss, teens seeking solace will likely look for something they can read in private, an e-book, or a book pulled from the local bookstore or library stacks.”

On Picking Great Books

Managing Editor Matt Sutherland offers a little insight into the Foreword Reviews book selection process–and why we’re not all about celebrating the same books that others do: “. In our minds, it’s no fun to write and publish just another review of just another mainstream book. We strive to give voice to great writers and thinkers from unexpected places. So send us your disadvantaged, your hungry beacons of light. We know what to do with them.”

An Independent Bookstore that Thrives

Journalist and author James A. Mitchell stopped by Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI, to observe a thriving independent bookstore, succeeding without replicating big bookstore buying models at all. For Literati, everything is about being hooked into the community, and it’s this design, Mitchell says, that leads to its success.

Self-Publishing Matters

Executive Editor Howard Lovy isn’t about to participate in the cheap negativity thrown the way of self-published books. Self-publishing, he reminds readers, opens up opportunities for writers neglected by more traditional presses–and leads to public access to occasional jewels. A great reminder that snooty parameters for “real books” often exclude real and important stories.

There’s More to a Book Than a Negative Review

Novelist A.M. Khalifa reminds fellow writers not to get too worked up about negative reviews from readers: “Sooner or later you discover that reviews are nothing more than one reader’s personal interpretation of your work, rather than your work’s absolute literary worthiness.” His piece teems with good advice for writers who’re facing public criticisms of their work for the first time.

Michelle Anne Schingler

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