Reading is an escape. Nowadays people have a lot more to escape from, or want to connect to someone else via reading.
Laura Freeman – 13 November 2017
How did you get started?
I just started a site one day. 3rd October 2017. So, I am a baby blogger.
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 make notes as I go along. Generally, it’s just notes on mistakes or errors I’ve found. Or stuff that bugs me. I always send theses notes off to the author to be fixed.
What are you looking for?
I have a very wide range of books I read. What I don’t read is erotic, non-fiction and not a huge fan of romance.
If a book has a great plot, great characters, but the grammar is less than perfect, how do you deal with that?
I am dyslexic, so my own grammar doesn’t really exist. I have to force myself to reread and reread and then put in grammar when I guess it should be. So, in other people’s books I don’t notice it so much.
How long does it take you to get through, say, an eighty thousand-word book?
Depends if the story has hooked me. Few hours to a day.
How did you come up with your rating system, and could you explain more about the rating system?
I haven’t come up with one. I just use the standard Goodreads system for now.
What advice could you give to authors looking to get their books reviewed?
Be honest about your work. No point saying your book is something, when it is something else entirely.
Do you get readers emailing you and thanking you for a review?
Not emails, but messages via my social media 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?
Yes, I would agree with that. We are all different, so our tastes in books are different. If someone is being mean for the sake of being mean, ignore them. If someone has taken the time to do a well written review, you can’t really fault them if they didn’t enjoy it.
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?
Reading is an escape. Nowadays people have a lot more to escape from, or want to connect to someone else via reading. Just so they feel some real connection with someone. I don’t think as a pastime is dying, it is just changing like everything else.
What are the most common mistakes that you see authors making?
Pacing, a lot of new authors tend to rush their story or try to put too much into their first story. Take a step back and breath, let your story tell itself without confusing the reader.
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?
No, some books need the time to build up. The first five pages tend to tell if the author has good writing ability or is making basic mistakes. If it is full of mistakes, I am sorry but I won’t read it. Your work is your baby, you don’t show your baby covered in poop.
Is there anything you will not review?
Like I said before, erotic, non-fiction and some romance. I like to get out of my own comfort zone when it comes to books, so I am very open to the unusual kind of books.
What do you think of the oft-quoted comment that the “slush-pile has moved online”?
Never heard this used before, so wouldn’t know.
Do you think attitudes are changing with respect to indie or self-published titles?
Yes and no. More people are doing it, so it is becoming more widely known. But I don’t think it has been pushed enough main stream for everyday people to know much about it.
Do you have any ideas or comments on how the industry can ‘filter’ good from bad, aside from reviews?
No not really. I think reviews at the moment are the best bet. Or maybe an official kind of system that rates books in the terms of style, grammar, basic mistakes e.g. But then again that’s just an editor, right?
End of Interview:
To read Laura’s reviews, visit LF Books.