'Bookworm Sez' Writer Finds Success in Tough Feature Market

By: Dave Astor "The Bookworm Sez" column, launched in 2003, is now in nearly 200 newspapers.

Terri Schlichenmeyer's self-syndicated book reviews actually have 212 clients, though 22 of the publications are magazines rather than newspapers.

How has she done so well in a tough newspaper market? "My reviews aren't stuffy," replied Schlichenmeyer, who has a radio-writing background. "I pull readers into the review with a 'hook' they can relate to -- just like they teach you to do in 'Radio Writing 101.' I use humor, and I talk to readers. I'm also accessible."

Many "Bookworm Sez" clients are smaller newspapers, and the Wisconsin-based Schlichenmeyer said editors and readers at those publications appreciate an intelligent feature. "I use words that readers don't generally see or use in casual conversation, and they're not edited out very often," she reported. "People who want to read book reviews are inherently literate."

The feature (http://www.bookwormsez.com/) is weekly. "But I review three to five books each week," Schlichenmeyer told E&P. "At least one is a book by an African-American author, one is a children's book, and the rest are a mixture of history, novels, mystery, memoirs ... whatever looks fun or is in the news at that point."


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