As we all enjoy summer, there are so many people working on the 2009 Holiday Season. As toy reviewers, we are in that group–and when we used to do the annual book, we were always a year ahead. Our annual book was always designed for the next year—so at any given point in time, I had great confusion as to which year we were actually in. I told my kids that if I ended up in a ER someplace and was being given an exam that included naming the date…please don’t have them be alarmed if I was off a bit. (Morbid…a little I guess.)
I have to say our new web-based system (new and improved website coming for fall)…has improved our general spirits here considerably. For the 15 years we did the book, we had to be done writing by July 4th- no joke or we wouldn’t make the printer deadline. The next week would be filled with the copy-editor’s notes and then a round of inserts for toys that arrived just in time. We reserved space and copy for things we thought would be terrific…and then adjust them accordingly before we went to print. The last book we did never saw the light of day due to the lead issues. Painful that we did all of that work – it was a good edition.
The web has allowed us to write longer reviews and to be less concerned about hard and fast dates.
The lack of such an extreme deadline has also meant that my mother and I no longer have our annual June fight–where we’d start arguing over some book or some toy…that of course had nothing to do with any specific product but just the tension of getting a book out with so many details that had to be fact-checked. Our working relationship has been one of the treasured experiences of my adult life. We still laugh when a really ridiculous product comes across our desk–and we still marvel at a toy that seems to get it just right.