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    With "Between the Covers: The Book Babes' Guide to a Woman's Reading Pleasures," published by Da Capo Press last fall, into its second printing, The Book Babes are still receiving invitations to speak (See Ellen's post "Learning Curve"). Here, they look back on some of their road trips.

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April 17, 2007


Jessica Schneider

Links Exchange with Monsters & Critics


I recently became books editor on the highly trafficked news and information site Monsters & Critics. Here is a link to it:

The site was founded by James Wray, our Editor-in-chief from Glasgow, Scotland and Ulf Stabe, from Hamburg, Germany, the Lead Programmer, and gets over 4.5 million visitors a month. We are one of the major contributors to Google News; in statistics we are listed among the top ten. We produce half of our content ourselves, and the other half comes from news agencies like DPA or Reuters. Our Talkback feature is popular, it is somehow unique because we allow anonymous comments to go online instantly.

Wray also founded the Tolkien Fan Site The name Monsters & Critics is an homage to Tolkien, the title of a book of essays he wrote. We started with a pure entertainment bias, covering arts, books, movies, DVDs and soundtracks with a strong focus on reviews. Later we added other categories like world news and people and the rest. Today world news and people are our busiest sections and drive the site.

What the owners are looking for us to do in the Books section is to get a higher visibility. We plan to do that over the next several months in a few ways. Step one is to get reciprocal links with popular book review and literature sites online. This is where you come in. As stated, we can offer a high profile, and exchanging links with us will help both your site and ours in the Google rankings, plus whatever click through traffic can be generated. Unlike many sites, we do not want an endless blogroll of sites, merely a few dozen of the biggest and best of sites that feature book reviews (even if occasionally), and those with a lit focus. We’d appreciate it if you would consider and consent to a reciprocal linkage.

For your edification, after this first implementation, here are some other changes on the horizon- and we also hope you might consider contributing a book review, or article on books or literature in the future. It is not necessarily only on fiction or literature, but books of science, history, politics, self-help, genre, etc. that we seek. At this time, no payment is available. However, if the site’s Book section can increase in visibility and traffic, there may be nominal remuneration in the future. But, any posts of reviews will have the added benefit of further reciprocal linkage.

It would work like this: you post a review on M&C first, and we link back to your site in the Bylines- thereby bringing you new readers, and you link to the post on M&C from your site. We’d want to have the first posting rights for a week to ten days, at least. By that time the review or article will be archived and off our front page, and you can repost the piece on your site, with a link back to M&C as to where it first appeared. That way, the post and both our sites get double the exposure.

Also, aside from a blogroll and more reviews and contributors, we will want to try to get longer reviews of classic books and authors- not just the generic book releases we focus on now. If you love, or know someone who loves Twain or Mailer, Grass or Whitman, we’d love to hear from them with a review of a classic book, or essay on an author. This drives longer term readership.

We also want to establish an in-depth monthly interview with quality big name writers, along the lines of the Playboy type interview. These will focus not just on lit and the author’s career, but range far and wide on topics. My first focus will be to try and get National Book Award winner Charles Johnson (Middle Passage). The site’s owners are also thinking that, if that becomes a success, and we can land some big names, we may eventually do podcast interviews. In short, we want the M&C books section to be a nexus of lit and book traffic.

After all that, we also have plans to expand the Books section to Books & Literature, by requesting original fiction and poetry and/or reprinting great works in the public domain from Project Gutenberg and similar sources. Finally, we will likely also add a graphic novel section for those who are a bit more pop cultural.

The goal is to leverage M&C’s fanbase over to this section, and shine the light upon deserving books, lit, criticism, reviews, interviews, and writers/bloggers. We’d like you to consider linking with us to help yourself and the larger writing community gain readership.

Please respond and let me know. If yes, send us a link to your M&C link and I or Ulf will add a link back to your site. Let us know if you prefer just a URL link: like or your blog name. Also let us know if you want to contribute reviews or know someone else who would.

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  • : Between the Covers: The Book Babes' Guide to a Woman's Reading Pleasures

    Between the Covers: The Book Babes' Guide to a Woman's Reading Pleasures
    The Book Babes' book of book suggestions and literary observations was published November 15 by Da Capo Press. The Book Babes have appeared and signed books at Inkwood in Tampa, Powell's and Annie Bloom's in Portland, Elliott Bay in Seattle, Book Inc. in Burlingame, Calif., Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., Florida Craftsmen, Inc., in St. Petersburg and Barnes & Noble in New York City. Check out a portion of the great reviews we've received on Amazon!

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