Why do I need The Staff Recommends?

Because deciding what to read is a difficult proposition. Each year, better than 175,000 books are published, and you’re going to read what, 10? 15? 50? Books can be pricey, a real investment of money and time—you can’t afford to choose poorly. Or, you’re going on vacation and packing space is limited. Do you want to be stuck with a dud? The Staff Recommends makes sure you’ll have a dud-free reading life.

Where do the books come from?

Publishers send us books they wish to be considered for The Staff Recommends.  If and only if we decide we like a book and want to feature it on The Staff Recommends, then publishers pay us to have their book featured here.

I get it now, it’s a pay-for-play deal. I’m onto you pal.

Let us reemphasize the “if and only if we decide we like a book,” part of the program. We choose the books we like, and only then does money change hands. If we don’t like it, it will not appear on The Staff Recommends.

I see you call yourselves an “advertorial publication.” Advertorials are those ads in magazines that look like articles, right?

Exactly. We’ve chosen that term because we want you to know the space here has been paid for by publishers. But while most ads just transport you to an advertiser-owned place that tells you to buy something, we think you’d prefer to find out first why we think you’ll like the book we’ve featured.

So what you’re saying is that The Staff Recommends is kind of like the part in the bookstore where the employees put little cards on the books saying what they liked and why, only online?

Yes, that’s what we’re saying.

I love that stuff.

We do too, which is why we came up with The Staff Recommends, a way to spread the book love across the internet at no cost to you, the book lover.

Who does the deciding?

All books on The Staff Recommends must pass muster with our editor and ombudsman, John Warner. All recommendations on The Staff Recommends are written by John and his team of readers.

Why should I trust this guy and his pals?

You may be familiar with John as a Tournament of Books commentator, an editor-at-large for McSweeney’s, and the one-man book recommending phenomenon, the Biblioracle. He’s also the author of the definitive book of fake writing advice, Fondling Your Muse: Infallible Advice From a Published Author to the Writerly Aspirant. His novel, The Funny Man, which he’d love to recommend on The Staff Recommends, but can’t for obvious conflict-of-interest reasons, will be published in 2011.

The Staff Recommends is operated by Andrew Womack, a founding editor of The Morning News, home to the Tournament of Books. John and Andrew maintain a strict line between the editorial and advertising aspects of The Staff Recommends—that barrier is your assurance that all the opinions here are real.

I see you use affiliate links for your purchase buttons. Those kickbacks are pretty sweet, am I right?

Our publishers want to know how many books The Staff Recommends helps them sell. The only way for us to tell them is to track purchases using affiliate programs (e.g., through Amazon). All we want are the metrics—we donate all the affiliate money to First Book, a nonprofit organization that distributes new books to children in need.

I arrived here from one of my favorite websites. How are they associated with you?

We have a group of partner websites that feature links to the recommendations on The Staff Recommends. Our network includes The Bygone Bureau, The Millions, and The Morning News.

How do you choose these partner sites?

We select sites with loyal, thriving readerships—we’re more interested in reaching individual readers than racking up pageviews. Our network sites’ readers are also book readers. Their appetites vary from voracious to snacky. They’ve had a “to-be-read” stack since they were 10. They want to find out about new books they should read, and we have their answer here.

Latest Recommendations

Read more at The Staff Recommends

Attention Publishers

Place your book in our advertorial publication and every month you’ll reach a half-million discerning, book-buying, unique readers.

How it works: Send us your book that you want us to consider for a paid placement. If we like your book, we’ll feature it here. If we don’t, there’s no obligation to pay any fee, and we can try again with another book.

No book is too big or small to be considered for The Staff Recommends. Brainy hardcovers are as welcome as self-published e-books. If you think it’s a good book, we might too.

For our current rate card, special placement opportunities, and to submit your book, contact Andrew Womack.