As a person that reads every day, I don’t get how someone can tell me they don’t like to read or they can’t find the time to read.
Lisa A – 27 February 2017
How did you get started?
I decided to become a self-published author after speaking with a few others within the community. One of the biggest challenges I heard was how hard it was to get your name out there as an Indie and decided that I would do my best to help by reviewing books by other Indies.
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 definitely make notes as I read along, I have a condition that makes me forgetful so I don’t want to miss out on asking a great question about the book or pointing out a suitability warning just because I forgot.
What are you looking for?
Tall, handsome, kind eyes… oh you mean book wise! I’m looking for juicy plots, relatable characters and non-edited warnings.
If a book has a great plot, great characters, but the grammar is less than perfect, how do you deal with that?
Again, if I’ve been warned that it’s an ARC that hasn’t been through the final editing stages, I tend to cut a lot of slack. If it’s a book that has been published and I just can’t make it through it, I will be honest with the author and won’t publish a review on my site.
How long does it take you to get through, say, an eighty thousand-word book?
It depends; if it’s something I cannot put down and will sacrifice sleep for 3 days tops. If it’s something that just is good, but just isn’t doing it for me… probably a week, maybe a little longer.
How did you come up with your rating system, and could you explain more about the rating system?
Since I was new to the – how do I put it? Ratings that count system? I looked at a lot of other review blogs and took note on their rating systems then mixed and tossed and I think I redid it eight times before I finally settled on what it is today, lol.
And now that I have it just right, I don’t use it. I either like a book or I don’t. It will take exceptional writing, characters and editing to get a five-star review from me. So, if I like it, it will get a four, if it was okay a three and if I couldn’t even finish it I don’t bother. But just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t, so I don’t want to give a poor rating and have someone miss out on it just because of something I said… I hope that makes sense.
What advice could you give to authors looking to get their books reviewed?
Get out there and ask. No one is going to come to you begging to review your book. Write the emails, fill out the forms, do the leg work. And please, please, please make sure you are double checking your personalization/salutations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a review request with the wrong name lol
Do you get readers emailing you and thanking you for a review?
Readers no, authors yes.
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?
Most definitely, after I published my first book I had received four and five star reviews, so was crushed when I received a two. I read it and reread it and my first response was to ask them who they thought they were, did they have any idea how much work I had put into it. Then I looked at my book again and could see their point. I printed that review out and looked at it while I was writing my second book because I never wanted to see a review like that again.
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 pastime is dying – do you think that’s the case?
As a person that reads every day, I don’t get how someone can tell me they don’t like to read or they can’t find the time to read. My own children did not get my reading gene and it kills me. I don’t believe it’s a dying pastime but I do think that with all the distractions of today that weren’t available when I was younger (instant access to work, emails, portable gaming consoles – good grief I’m making myself sound like a dinosaur and I’m only in my late 30’s), the rules of reading have changed.
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?
Nah, I’ll give it a chance until the third chapter or so. So many new authors rush to get their work out there that they skip a vital step (well, I think it’s vital): having a group of trusted people that will read your work and will tell you when it’s crap. A lot of people I know have family members read their work and while there are some that will tell you the truth, most are too nice to tell you what you need to work on.
Is there anything you will not review?
Nope. I’ve read everything from cookbooks to science fiction to romance (I did take a break from that, but that was for personal reasons) to horror. Like I said, if it grabs my attention, I want to see how it ends.
What do you think of the oft-quoted comment that the “slush-pile has moved online”?
I believe it’s true. I can see the benefits of it for self-publishers trying to get their work noticed.
Do you think attitudes are changing with respect to indie or self-published titles?
I did, until I read an article lately that bashed self-publishers and said that we were destroying the written word. I won’t go into it, from the comment section you could tell that no one was agreeing with the writer. I was happy to see that a lot of readers were happy that self-publishing had taken off, that they were able to find new authors they wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Do you have any ideas or comments on how the industry can ‘filter’ good from bad, aside from reviews?
I do not, lol.
End of Interview:
You can read Lisa’s reviews at Lisa A Writes and Reads.