I know it can be hurtful to hear that someone doesn’t like your baby… it happens. Bad behavior makes you look bad and gives indies the reputation of being “difficult.” Just stay clear of the negative drama. Take it as constructive criticism and strive harder.
Ren – 5 February 2013
How did you get started?
Well I wasn’t always an avid reader. I started reading again about 2 and a half years ago and have been hooked ever since. After about 6 months of constant reading, it occurred to me that I should share my love of books with others. I felt kind of silly at first thinking that no one would visit my blog, let alone read my reviews. It has been an amazing journey so far!
How do you review a book? Is it a read first, and then make notes, or do you make notes as you go along?
I’ve never been one for note taking. Actually, I’m horrible at it. I take notes and lose them everywhere or just forget to check them. I like to write from memory. It can be challenging at times when I forget what I wanted to say in my reviews. I guess I should try that note taking trick again lol.
What are you looking for?
I love reading paranormal books. Reading about things that go bump in the night keeps you young, I swear! I find contemporary can sometimes be on the depressing side. At least when I read paranormal, it’s entertaining.
If a book has a great plot, great characters, but the grammar is less than perfect, how do you deal with that?
I just deal. I’m not stellar with my grammar and I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult things can be for an indie. If the editing is really terrible, I make a mental note to mention it to the author in private. I never review based on grammar mistakes.
How long does it take you to get through, say, an eighty thousand-word book?
It varies. I work a lot and don’t have much time to read a book straight though. On a good week, it would take me two days to finish it. As of late, it takes me a week.
How did you come up with your rating system, and could you explain more about the rating system?
I use 1-5 stars. I refuse to write a review if I rate it less than 3 stars. I feel that negative reviews are counterproductive and I don’t want to turn off other readers that may enjoy the book. Reading is subjective and I’m kind of picky. I rate based on how well the story captured my interest and the story line.
What advice could you give to authors looking to get their books reviewed?
Be creative! I recently received a request for something that I normally wouldn’t review. By the end of the email I was laughing to hard that I had to accept. If the book is anything like the email I’m in for a treat!
Do you get readers emailing you and thanking you for a review?
I will occasionally get a comment on the blog or Facebook telling me they liked a review. Just this week I had a friend tell me that she purchased a book based on my review. That’s always an awesome thing to hear!
My advice to authors on getting a “bad” review (hasten to add that might mean a perfectly honest, well written, fair review – just bad from the author’s point of view) is to take what you can from it and move on. Under no circumstances to “argue” with the reviewer – would you agree with that?
Definitely! I know it can be hurtful to hear that someone doesn’t like your baby… it happens. Bad behavior makes you look bad and gives indies the reputation of being “difficult.” Just stay clear of the negative drama. Take it as constructive criticism and strive harder.
We talk a lot about writing here on the blog, and possibly not enough about reading, which is after all why we’re all here. Why do you think people love reading. We’re seeing lots of statistics that say reading as a past-time is dying – do you think that’s the case?
Not at all. I work in a public library and we’ve seen a huge increase in reading. I always tell people that they just need to find their genre. That’s what hooked me. I know a lot of bloggers that also found their love for reading in their adult lives.
What are the most common mistakes that you see authors making?
Spelling and punctuation. That’s pretty much the only one I can think of at the moment.
We’re told that the first page, paragraph, chapter, is absolutely key in making or breaking a book. Agents typically request only the first five pages of a novel, what do you think about that; if a book hasn’t grabbed you by the first five pages, do you put it down?
Well it doesn’t hurt. I’m usually the type of reader that must absolutely finish a book. If I get half way and it doesn’t pick up then I won’t continue. I think I’ve only had two DNF’s. One book that I did read that had me hooked from the first chapter was Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay. Yes, I totally name dropped but to this day I still haven’t found a book that hooked me like that.
There has been a lot of talk recently about Agency pricing and Apple and the Big 6, what are your thoughts on that?
Well I must be living under a rock because I had no clue. That’s what I like to call “the politics” of reading. I hate politics lol. I’ll have to go look it up now. Curiousity will get the best of me.
Is there anything you will not review?
I won’t review Religious fiction. If it is paranormal with religious elements, I’ll consider it. I’m not big on sci-fi but oddly enough, the last few that I’ve read were good. I may need to reconsider that. I like to stick with romance… usually adult, YA, NA and paranormal.
What do you think of the oft quoted comment that the “slush-pile has moved online”?
Here comes that darn rock again…shucks. I must really be sheltered because I had no clue about that either. The only experience I had with that was when I read an interview with Jodi Picoult and her talking about indie authors. I was kinda hurt by the article and I’m not even an author. Yes, there are duds out there, but I’m all for self pubs.
Do you think attitudes are changing with respect to Indie or self-published titles?
Yes!! I’ve seen a huge increase of self-published titles being picked up by publishers. There are even a good amount that have made it into the public library shelves here. I always get giddy when I see a book that’s from a self-pubbed author. It makes me feel like a proud mamma! I love my indies!
Do you have any ideas or comments on how the industry can “filter” good from bad, asides from reviews?
Just check out social media followers for some of the indie authors. Not everyone reviews the books they read but they do talk about it online. They participate in groups, talk about how much they loved it on Facebook walls and even recommend them to blog pages.
End of Interview:
Visit A Little Bit of R&R to see Ren’s reviews.