Guest-blog: MARK DENIZ on BEYOND FICTION

I have already posted a short piece on the new Beyond Fiction media review website some time ago (which you can find here), but I asked BF’s head honcho and review-wrangler Mark Deniz to write a short piece about what led him to set it up, and his aims and ambitions for it.

Take it away, Mark!

—()—

As an indie press publisher there are certain obstacles to getting the books out for review. Costs are paramount and when you are based in Europe and an Australian review site want to review your book (and you respect their views), you really have to think about the worth, as you’re going to have to send the book, at quite a cost, aware that it’s probably not going to jump to the top of the queue, so you may even be waiting a good couple of months after release date for the review, if you indeed get a review…

I recently spoke to an indie publisher, who had sent fifty copies of a book out for review and received…four reviews in total. That’s fifty books at cost price (plus shipping) to get four reviews. This sounds productive doesn’t it?

Basically most of the people I have been in touch with in the reviewing side of the books are doing this for the love, in their free time and sometimes the eyes get a bit greedier than the belly. They see all these shiny books and decide that they want to read them all, review them all and so they request them all. Before they know it they have a pile of forty books to go through, and have no idea when they are going to get around to them all.

So, loving reviewing as I do, and seeing the reviewing from the publishers’ side I decided I wanted to get a review site out there that could attempt to keep on top of the things we request for review. Note I said attempt, as not only have I seen the reviewing from the publishers’ side but I’ve also been involved in a few review websites and have been guilty of the sins that I am trying to eradicate from our site. It’s a hard task and a fine line between success and failure (not sure failure is the word but they’re a pair…)

So, creating a site was the easy bit, it was the populating it with other reviewers feeling the same way as I, which was the problem. First person I talked to was master reviewer herself: Sharon Ring of Dark Fiction Review, who was keen to come on board. I then had a chat with Michaela Staton (The Cola Factory), who was also interested and things began to shape themselves. There were discussions back and forth on names, ideas, and mission statements and all looked rosy.

And then it stopped, suprisingly stuff got in the way, you know, that real life thing that keeps distracting us and nothing was done/mentioned/discussed until Peter G. Bell and I ran our rather successful little Vampire Awareness Month and we began discussing a host site for the Ghost Appreciation Month, as we wanted a more solid platform than my own blog.

And along came Louise Morgan and Simon Marshall-Jones and KV Taylor and Bertena Varney and suddenly the team was looking extremely solid and there was nothing we couldn’t do!

Not only were we talking about reviews but we wanted articles, news releases, interviews, etc. We wanted things that would promote artists, authors, publishers, musicians, anyone in the creative world who had something to say.

One thing that still bothered me was that we weren’t covering all locations, as we had reviewers for the UK, US and the rest of Europe but were still struggling with Australia. I wanted a reviewer in every location, so that when publishers sent books to us, we could help them with shipping costs by not wanting it sent across the globe. Coincidentally Scott Wilson asked on an Australian forum if anybody was looking for reviewers and we grabbed him by the scruff of the neck!

Next was a case of posting an advert for new reviewers on the net and this lead us to Sam Kelly and the team grows, and grows with people who really know their craft and are more than happy to let you know what’s going on in this world of ours!

I started a series of interviews with the budding stars of the speculative fiction genre (a term I don’t actually like) in 2008 and called this: Stars of Speculative Fiction. I interviewed twenty-one people, ranging from newcomers, such as T. A. Moore and Joel A. Sutherland to veterans: Ellen Datlow and Elaine Cunningham.

I thoroughly enjoyed these interviews and decided that they should be continued on the Beyond Fiction site. My 22nd interview was with Cate Gardner and I am currently interviewing three more stars, soon to appear on the site.

We are still looking for reviewers and we are still looking for titles but are eager to keep within our mission of having a healthy turnaround and so will not just accept anything. We would rather that we declined taking a book, due to a backlog than we ask you to send it, just so it can gather dust with us.

We’ve started well, with reviews ahead of book releases and interviews to complement those reviews. We are still finding our feet here at the site but those of us here are no newcomers to this world and we are pooling our wealth of experience to give you the best in fiction, film, games and music.

Check us out, I’m pretty sure you’ll stick around!

—()—

Many thanks to Mark for this – so why don’t don’t you play the site a visit today – http://beyondfiction.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Guest-blog: MARK DENIZ on BEYOND FICTION”

  1. Great article! I am always looking for more books to review. I always make sure I do the actual review too. I can’t believe people would get a free book and not review it! That is terrible!

  2. Well done you guys. Excellent post, Mark.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: