Why, hello, dear friends. Normally, by this time of year I would have attended several bookcons. I would have giveaways aplenty of table swag. There would be hijinx to share and mayhem to convey. However, as we all know, 2020 has been a year like none we have known…none we hope to know again. We are watching friends navigate new norms, children redefine “classrooms” and authors find footing without the in-person experiences they know we as readers crave.
It’s been hard. Isn’t that an understatement.
And our friends, the books, are fickle confidantes. While some of us have been able to readily escape into their pages, some find their pages stubbornly closed, the world too dark to escape elsewhere.
You, my friends. I see you and I wish I could ease your burden. As a team, the Hive tries with every review to unlock that door so you can escape once more. We truly and completely hope that day is soon.
On a positive note – and also a negative one – our world is in turmoil. Finally, we are being forced to address inequalities as a culture. We watch and we march and we raise our fists and we raise our eyes. We do what we can, from where we are… because many of us are stuck at home, avoiding a virus that could take those we love… that has taken ones we love.
Milestones. While earlier this year, our Hive family made a commitment to bolster visibility of POC (both authors and characters), as well as a more diverse spectrum of books, we were initially shut out by publishers. And then BLM happened and doors everywhere opened. We have been utterly bathing in a beautiful rainbow of characters, plots, players and experiences. It’s been wonderful.
We hope it continues.
In the meantime, we were ecstatic to receive the news we are ranked #77 in the WORLD of Top 100 Book Review Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020 by Feedspot. I am not sure there is a word for my feelings on this. Even when you do the work, you never realize how well it’s going until something like this happens. The last 5 years have been extraordinary, allowing me to travel the world and meet incredible people, to lead a team of incredible people…
So let’s talk about those people.
If you haven’t noticed, the LitBuzz Hive is the best it’s ever been, and I have never been more in love with a group of people. While we have lost a few people along the way, Tanya and Meghan are still sharing their love of literature with you, and helping to guide every new reviewer after them. Joining them in leading our family is Kristin. To be blunt, without her our Instagram would suck. She’s the force behind many of your favorite posts. Make sure you check out who is tagged in the post as our amazing crew also have their own IG accounts for you to follow, and we’re making sure you have the chance to know them individually.
If you’ve forayed over to LBtv on Instagram, you have met the adorable and wonderful Carla, who shares her uncensored feelings on her current reads on Sundays (and also check out her YouTube vlog with her cousin, Lit Chicks Vlog, for some bookish hilarity!). Jessica shares audiobook reviews in between releasing her own books under the nom de plume Jessica Joy. While we love Jessica, we would also never lie to her and we’re all big fans of her books… and her reviews!
To complicate things, our other Jes (see what we did there?) is writing her first book, and we can’t wait to celebrate all that new honey, but until then, you can usually find her reviews on Thursdays in a diverse list of genres – but they usually include memorable romance!
Amanda and Darienne are my absolute worker bees. I can send just about any book to them – and with whatever timeline it entails – and they will produce incredible, inciteful reviews right on time. Expect an array from these two; their personal reads are as fun as they are.
Rounding out the team are Lorynn, Katy and Spike, who I like to think of as alternates who pop in occasionally with a home run – and then real life drags them away for a while.
If you’re keeping track, including me we have a solid team of 12 right now. It takes a village – or a Hive – to produce the quantity and caliber of reviews we share. While we do take and share the big-name books you’ve been awaiting, we’re also still dedicated to our indies and small publishing houses. We still take book submissions (on average, 60-80 per week!) and we’re still supporting the community any way we can – like sponsoring Once Upon a Book Author Event!
A lot has changed in five years. We have watched our world change, the book world experience unprecedented evolution, and the way we communicate transform. But what hasn’t changed is our dedication to our community. In the coming weeks, we will be making some major
changes here to the aesthetics of LitBuzz. We’ll also offer more opportunities for authors to reach readers, and readers to connect with their favorite people and characters. But as the leader of this endeavor, I promise that those changes will always remain true to our mission of providing free, honest reviews on books we receive from a variety of sources. I’ve put a lot of thought into who we are and what we will become. Our visibility for authors is almost priceless, but this venture has never been about profiteering; it’s been about love of the literary world. While many review sites have gone to a completely-paid review model, that will never happen here. A paid review is not an honest review; it comes with expectations.
The only expectations that concern us are yours.
Thank you for supporting us, for continuing to support us, and for being a part of this journey. May we celebrate many more amazing milestones by your side! As a thank you, we’ve gathered an incredible giveaway by some of our favorite authors. One lucky winner is going to be really happy! Good luck!