Volume III, Issue 1 -- February, 2002
State of the Site
- page 3
Annual Report for
the complete review - 2001
- The Site
- Traffic, Search Engines, Search Queries
- Links from Other Sites
- Popularity and Interest:
- Links to Amazon
- Amazon.com - US
- Amazon.com.uk - UK
- Amazon.fr - France
- Amazon.de - Germany
- Author Pages
- Articles from the complete review Quarterly
- Other Information-pages at the Complete Review
- Critical and Popular Response
III. Critical and Popular ResponseThe response to the complete review continues to be positive. Users seem to like the site: there are many return-visitors, and what feedback we receive is generally very complimentary.
While a few users have unleashed torrents of abuse regarding what we say about their favourite books and authors, most critical comments focus on our limited selection of titles under review ("Why haven't you reviewed XYZ ?" is a popular complaint) and our emphasis on obsucure/foreign/out-of-print literature. (A few users have also complained that we aren't "multicultural" enough .....)
Media notice of the complete review remained limited. We did find mention in a Wired article (though the number of people who clicked through from the article to take a look at the site was astonishingly small), and we did get quite a number of weblog mentions -- both for the site as a whole and for individual reviews.
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IV. Otheri. 'Blurbs'
To our knowledge, no quotes from the complete review were used as a blurb on a book or in print advertisements in 2001. Excerpts from our reviews were, however, used in other promotional material (such as publishers' catalogues and the like).
Users (and specifically other webmasters) were more helpful in 2001 in providing information about links that the complete review overlooked or that have been changed. Still, outside input regarding links remains very limited.
iii. User Inquiries
Users continue to contact the complete review in droves, making a variety of inquiries, requests, and demands.
Among the most popular questions/demands:
While the upfront request/demand by authors that we review their books remains a very popular approach, we have also noticed an increasing sophistication in authors' efforts to get us to review their books. One now overworked technique is to play dumb, where authors introduce themselves as novices who have just written a book and wonder whether we have any advice for them on how they might get their title published or how they might market it. We of course also play dumb (something we are very good at) and respond that we have no idea how to get a book published or how to market books (seeing as how we only review them). Oddly enough, we then inevitably get an e-mail in which the author then proposes that we review their title. (Sadly, we then almost inevitably have to disappoint them: we can only review so many titles, and theirs usually don't fit our limited editorial needs. Also: we don't particularly like it when people aren't upfront with us -- or waste our time with dishonest queries.)
- I have to contact author X -- give me his/her address or e-mail address
- Send me a review of Y immediately. (Requests for reviews of specific books seem to come largely from high school and college students who only remember that they have a term paper due the night before it is due -- and who haven't read the book and have just discovered that there isn't a video of it. Astonishingly, we get a lot of these panicky requests)
- Where can I find a review of Z ?
- Will you review my book ?
Among the less frequently posed questions/demands we receive are:
Generally we like user-feedback -- and we want to be helpful where we can -- but sometimes we do worry about the expectations of our users. Naturally, we do tell authors whether or not we might consider their books for review, but most of the other questions or requests put to us are completely (and fairly obviously) beyond us.
- How can I get a subscription to magazine X ?
- Please send me a desk copy/review copy of book Y.
- What is the website address of the complete review ?
- How can I subscribe to the complete review Quarterly ?
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V. OutlookWhither the complete review ?
Don't worry: we aren't going anywhere. What you see will continue to be what you get.
People actually seem to like the site. They say nice things to us about it (which we appreciate) and there are surprisingly few suggestions (or commands) as to how we might better the site.
In 2002 the complete review will continue to add reviews of a similar cross-section of literature as is currently available. The target for 2002 is to add 175 reviews (for a total of 925) and six author pages (for a total of 33).
We will try to focus more on certain titles, specifically providing:
We would like to expand the role of the complete review Quarterly as a literary forum in 2002. So far, however, we find that relatively few authors are willing to submit material appropriate for publication (due, in part, no doubt, by the fact that we are unable to remunerate contributors at this time), limiting what we can provide on the site.
- reviews of more titles by authors already under review
- more reviews of older and classical titles
- more reviews of foreign literature
The most significant change at the complete review for 2002 is the introduction of complete review Fiction (cr Fiction). First introduced in December 2001, and officially launched in the February 2002 edition of the cr Quarterly, this is an attempt to offer yet another approach to the appreciation of literature.
Early indications (and experiences with similar undertakings) suggest cr Fiction will take off like a lead balloon. We do, however, believe that the long-term prospects for it are good and that it will reach an appreciative (if small) audience.
Popularity has never been the primary objective with any of the undertakings at the complete review, and that philosophy seems to have served us and our users well -- as we feel it will with cr Fiction.
There are no indications that any title already under review will be a break-out title in 2002. The most likely candidate would be a drama -- Yasmina Reza's Life x 3, perhaps, or Alan Ayckbourn's twin-bill House and Garden. The only other title which looks like a sure bet to make a mark is the non-fiction work Wittgenstein's Poker, which has done very well in the short time it has been available.
As to new reviews -- well, we're not even sure what titles we'll be reviewing, so it is impossible to guess.
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