Book blogging from an author’s perspective – Terry Tyler shares her thoughts

me meTerry is an author I’ve got to know recently on Twitter.  She currently has five contemporary novels on Amazon.  I asked her what her thoughts were on approaching bloggers from an author’s point of view, and this is what she had to say:

Most importantly, look at the submisson guidelines.  It’s classic advice, and has been said over and over again, but bloggers say that it’s still not always followed.  If they say no novellas, don’t ask them to read your novella.  If they say no erotica, don’t send them erotica – etc!

This might seem obvious, but some newly published writers might not know about it – I didn’t!  Make sure you download the mobi copy from your Amazon account page – you go into ‘Bookshelf’ and ‘reports’ and download the review copy – this is what you send to reviewers.

I’ve been reviewed on quite a few book blogs; sometimes they’ve just read and reviewed one of my books without me asking, which is always a lovely surprise.  Many of these I will ask to review subsequent works, but I always have my eye out for new reviewers.  There are new book blogs springing up every day.  What I do is this – every time a book blogger follows me on Twitter, I have a quick look to see if they review my sort of books, and if they do I tweet or DM them to say thanks for following, and say that if they’d like to review one of mine to let me know and I’ll send them a review copy.  I then put the link to my Amazon page so they can have a look at my books.  Quite often they’ll come back to me and say, yes, I’d like to review The Other Side, or whatever.  Then we swap emails and I send it!  If I come across a blog that looks good but does not review my genre, I keep it in mind to refer to other people.

Book reviewers are doing a marvellous thing for you by reading and reviewing your book on their blog.  They usually put the review on Amazon and Goodreads, too – they’re worth their weight in gold!  So remember that it’s not only about your book, it’s about their blog, too, which they want to become widely read.  Follow their blog, go to their Twitter page and RT their other reviews, maybe tweet about their blog, like they’ve tweeted about your book.  If a book comes out by a friend of yours that you think would be good for their site, you can refer that friend to them.

As far as approaching them in the first place goes, I would say that it’s pretty much common sense…..  I’ve usually chatted to mine on Twitter a bit anyway, so it’s more informal, but some have forms to fill in – again, give them exactly what they ask for.  If they only ask for a 20 word synopsis of the book, don’t send a 200 word paragraph.  Some of them give an email address – I’d say make it friendly but not too casual ( I mean no lols, perish the thought!!!), ask what their waiting list is like, tell them what genre the book is and how long it is, and provide the Amazon link.  Keep it short and to the point, with no superfluous information, as they probably have lots to wade through.  If they state on the blog that their review will not necessarily be a positive one, and you can’t take anything less than positive comments, ask if they will let you know if they don’t like it.  Finally, don’t hassle them – if they don’t reply, take it as read that they don’t want to review your book.  It won’t be anything personal, they’re probably just snowed under!

Terry Tyler lives in the north east of England with her husband, and has five novels on Amazon – she writes contemporary fiction about many very current issues, such as internet dating, the people one meets on social networking sites, addiction, infidelity, family breakdown, the quest for celebrity – and even a spot on The Jeremy Kyle show!  Her sixth novel should be out around September.  Terry also has a blog, on which she writes about a variety of subjects, from The Truth About Getting Old, to Why All Writers Need A Proofreader, to a nostalgic look at the comics and magazines of the 1970s – all comments welcome! Check out Terry’s website or her Amazon author page.

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Meet Bookshelf Butterfly and find out what she loves about book blogging.

IMG_0740I’m not even going to go into where I first met the lovely Faye, but it has something to do with little birds and social networking.  She blogs about a wide variety of books on her very pretty blog (which happens to coordinate with the Not of Our Sky cover beautifully!).  This is what she had to say in response to the questions I posed about blogging etiquette:

Name your top 5 peeves from author review requests

All the authors that have approached me have all been kind and relaxed about the process. Although nearly all the publishers I have dealt with are awesome there have been some negative sides:

  • Not so subtly trying to enforce a time limit for reviews after they have sent a book – I have other books to read too!
  • Trying to force a book on you that you have already politely declined
  • Bothering you about a review and then not responding to you after you tweet/email them said review

Can’t think of any more… sorry!

The same genre can encompass many different types of story – for example, fantasy ranges from Terry Pratchett to Twilight and everything in between. How hard is it to remain objective in your review if a feature of a book doesn’t float your boat? Say you get a fantasy about unicorns and unicorns are just not your bag, how does that influence your opinion?  

I find it really hard to blatantly criticise someone’s hard work so I try and find out about the book before I read it. As with every book there are good points and bad points so in case of books that don’t amaze me I try and focus on the points I liked best.

What are your feelings on the growing army of indie authors? How does the quality of their work hold up against traditionally published? Do you accept reviews from both and what would it take to change your mind on your current policy?

I think indie authors are brave. As an aspiring author myself, I think that if you have a story in you to tell, then you are entitled to put it out into the world, whether through traditional publishers or otherwise. I think traditionally published books can sometimes be more polished than some indie work I have seen but in terms of great stories; I think many indie authors can definitely hold their own against more mainstream competition; it’s just a case of publicity. So far I have done a few indie reviews and if an indie book appeals to me, I will continue to do them in the future.

Describe your reviewing schedule. How many hours do you put in a week/ day? How does this impact on other aspects of your life?

Once I’ve read a book I write up the review in a notebook, ready for editing and typing up, usually in the evenings. Reading is a huge part of my life anyway and I fit writing in between work shifts and having a social life. Some weeks I read more than others, so I can save some reviews for the weeks that I haven’t had time, but I always aim for at least two posts a week. My social life and my blogging life are miles apart so I always make separate time for both.

What started you book blogging? What makes you continue to do it?

I toyed with the idea of a blog for ages and couldn’t decide what to write about. I thought it would give me a chance to practice my writing and that it would be a good addition to my CV. I decided on books because books and reading are hugely important to me and I wanted to write about what genuinely interested me. Since I started Bookshelf Butterfly I’ve come across some wonderful, like-minded people and I get to have great bookish conversations. It is really satisfying to be thanked by an author for taking the time to read their work, or getting positive feedback from a reader who has discovered a book because of what you have written. I hope to add more features, meet more people and keep discovering more amazing stories that I might never have been able to if I hadn’t started blogging.

You can follow Bookshelf Butterfly and keep up with the latest review posts on Twitter or Facebook or go directly to her lovely site.

Victoria Loves Books… really, she does! And she’s all chatty about her new venture into the world of blogging.

Victoria is a terrifically chatty tweeter and a delight to know.  She’s a raving Potterhead too, so that makes her extremely cool in my book!  She only stared blogging very recently but reads like lightning and is currently averaging something like a book a minute (not even joking) in a variety of genres (ok, possibly I’m exaggerating).  This is what she had to say in response to my questions about blogging and reviewing:

photoHello, my name is Victoria Stone, I’m 26, married and have two children. My biggest passion in life other than my family is reading and baking 🙂
I am fairly new to blogging (started on May 1st 2013) and have found a real passion for it. I will read anything, I think everything deserves a go. Have found some real gems by breaking away from what I would normally read, crime/horror.

Name your top 5 peeves from author review requests

Being new to blogging I haven’t had many review requests from authors, but the ones I have received I haven’t really been to unhappy with. As any requests they have I’ve just been too ecstatic that I have even been asked to review their book.

The same genre can encompass many different types of story – for example, fantasy ranges from Terry Pratchett to Twilight and everything in between. How hard is it to remain objective in your review if a feature of a book doesn’t float your boat? Say you get a fantasy about unicorns and unicorns are just not your bag, how does that influence your opinion?  

I like to give anything a go. I used to instantly dismiss books if it was something I had no interest in or wasn’t “real” to life, for example Harry Potter, I refused for years because magic wasn’t real and childish. After giving in I fell completely and utterly in love with the whole story, so now I at least try anything. If I really don’t get on with something because it isn’t really “my thing” I like to think I would still give a good review. I would try to give positive feedback for the people that do enjoy the things I personally don’t, whilst still being honest that it didn’t suit my tastes.

What are your feelings on the growing army of indie authors? How does the quality of their work hold up against traditionally published? Do you accept reviews from both and what would it take to change your mind on your current policy?

I never really read self-published work until Christmas (when I got my kindle) and even now that’s very limited, as I really do love to hold a real book, (I don’t get on with my kindle).
But after reading some recent self-published books I can honestly say I have fallen in love with the world my kindle has opened up! I have found some fantastic stories that I think are just as good if not better than some traditionally published books. I think it is all down to personal opinion really. I would happily accept book reviews for either, even more so since discovering some very good books.

Describe your reviewing schedule. How many hours do you put in a week/ day? How does this impact on other aspects of your life?

Being a very new blog, I’m not posting everyday, especially juggling my two young babies. They take priority over everything else. But as soon as I finish a book I will review it while it is fresh in my head. I also get sent or find pictures about books that I like to share on there too, just for fun 🙂
I’m hoping to get a review up everyday or other day in the future though as I can get through a book rather quickly.

What started you book blogging? What makes you continue to do it?

I set up a twitter account in February and met other bloggers through it. After spending a lot of my time tweeting about books and recommending books I enjoyed, someone noticed just how fast I was reading. They then suggested I start a blog. I didn’t take it too seriously at first thinking only my husband would read it out of duty. Then someone else mentioned it so I looked into it and decided on a whim to give it a try. And the reason I still do it is because I absolutely love it, I love it when someone tells me they ordered a book through a review I did. It makes me proud and very excited that I’ve found something that I truly love doing.

Follow Victoria on Twitter or check out her beautiful, shiny website.

Reviewing Books, Avoiding Right-hooks

For regular visitors to the blog, this fella needs no introduction!  I first met Jack on Twitter at the end of 2012 and was immediately intrigued by a YA book he was writing.  Tethers has since been released to rave reviews and I’ve personally read it twice.  I’m very tempted to launch a one woman crusade to campaign for compulsory copies in schools!  So, this is what Jack had to say when I asked him about his book reviewing habits:

jackI’ve always loved reading, and one thing that every bookish-type knows all too well is that, once you’ve read an amazing book, you want to shout its name from the rooftops and force everyone you know to delve into its pages.

Of course, cornering colleagues, friends, loved ones or vague acquaintances, and then ranting loudly about how their lives are hollow and meaningless until they have read a particular book is not always the best way to go about things. Nope, I’ve found that out the hard way; for some strange reason my eighty-year-old gran just doesn’t want to read about teenagers pumping led in hoards of shambling zombies, even when I tell her that the book is, at its core, a complex study of dystopian humanity – weirdo.

But, thankfully, there is another way. Writing a review of a book you’ve enjoyed is a great way to channel your enthusiasm for a worthy novel without risking either the sack, restraining orders, or being disinherited. Writing a review is so often a process of love. You want to do the book you’ve read justice, and so you try and produce a piece of writing which is as fluent and as reflective as possible. And then through promotion on social media and other means, interested readers can find the review themselves without you risking a butt-kicking.

As an author myself, I remember I initially approached judging other people’s books with generous helpings of both apprehension and unease. So far, I’ve only written one book (and I’ll be the first to admit that it probably won’t ever become a best-selling classic), who am I to tell other writers whether their stuff is any good or not? Well the answer is that I probably have both no right and every right, but more importantly, it doesn’t matter. Writing reviews is about sharing the books you love, and inspiring other people to take a chance on something. On top of that we authors need reviews; we need book reviewers to spread the word about our books, and to help us reach an audience. It’s a kind of symbiotic relationship that seems to be becoming more and more important.

So, whilst I do still feel slightly uncomfortable with reviewing other authors’ books, I’m so glad I do because I absolutely need to talk about great stories – it’s something I’ve been doing all my life. Now, where’s my gran at …tethpurp-211x300

Author of the YA Victorian fantasy, Tethers (http://amzn.to/WRf4vI), Jack Croxall reviews books over at www.jackcroxall.co.uk as well as various other sites. He can also be found on twitter via @JackCroxall.

‘From the Shadows I Review’ Char, shows us some Indie love!

947010_4229721879863_122281819_nToday we’re back to the book blogger feature.  For the rest of this week I’ll have another round of guest posts from my lovely reviewer friends.  Today is the turn of Char Sharp.  Like most of the book reviewers I’ve met since I started publishing, I first came across Charmaine (I’m not sure if I sound like I’m scolding her when I call her Charmaine but we’ll go with it!) on Twitter.   She is very entertaining and refreshingly honest online so I warmed to her immediately.

The thing I love about Char’s reviews is that she always able to pinpoint specifics. Each review is thorough and she breaks it down into very specific aspects, which is great and shows that even if she hasn’t particularly liked a book, she’s still given it a great deal of thought.  I like the way she includes thoughts on the cover, blurb and pricing. If she doesn’t like something, she says so, but that honesty gives her reviews integrity.  Here’s what she had to say in response to my questions about reviewing:

What peeves you when authors request reviews?

So something I’ve realised while blogging is that authors expect certain things from bloggers. It’s like an unspoken blogging etiquette thing that all reviewers pick up along the way. For example some of them are negotiable like some of us (me!) will post negative reviews while others choose not to. Either way is cool in my opinion. However sometimes the reaction from authors is… rude, childish and downright inconsiderate. So what I thought I’d do, is explain a few things authors can do to make friends not enemies with the blogging community.

  • Don’t just send your book to random blogs – Do your homework. Read a blog properly. If you look over the post titles you’ll find out what type of books the blogger reads. Read a few reviews, you’ll see the blogger’s style. We all have different individual styles. Mine tend to be in depth yet focused. If you only want positive reviews, you have 2 choices: 1. Go to a blog that doesn’t post reviews with ratings under 3 stars (I personally don’t trust those blogs but whatever floats your boat.). or 2. Make sure that the blogger you’re approaching is a fan of your genre. Otherwise you’re risking a negative review.
  • Sell your book to the blogger – Tell me about your book! Don’t just say “Will you review my book?” I used to chase up authors that did that. I’d ask them to send me the blurb, now it’s a straight up refusal. I don’t want to be rude, but you’re asking for my time, the least you can do is add your synopsis to your email. I don’t want your GR link, I don’t want your Amazon page. I want to know what I’m being asked to read. So yes, we’re giving you our time, please appreciate that.
  • Deal with a negative review with grace [Part 1] – Someone didn’t like your book, it’s not the end of the world. If you can’t take the criticism, you’re not ready to be a published author. If you feel you must read the review, read it properly. Take the time to find out what the blogger didn’t like.
  • Deal with a negative review with grace [Part 2] – For the love of all that is nice in this world don’t take to your blog/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads and insult the reviewer! All that happens is the reviewer talks to another reviewer, who talks to another reviewer and your reputation is dead. We’re a community, we don’t like authors who don’t respect us. I would never insult an author in a review. Your book is what I’m reviewing not your lifestyle choices, your imagination, you as a person in general. I don’t like your book, I’m sorry. I will apologise for this in my review, I’ll also tell you why as best I can. Don’t resort to insulting me and slagging me off as a person. It’s hurtful. You don’t know anything about me, bullying is not acceptable on any level.

How can authors help you to help them?

  • Don’t be afraid to specify where you’d like your review posted – So, you’ve asked for a review, the blogger has said yes (oh happy days!) and they’ve reviewed it and showed it to you. Now by default I’ll post my reviews to GR and my blog. If you want Amazon ask me! I don’t bite! Seriously though, if you ask I’ll use my mum’s account and post the review on Amazon (I don’t have an Amazon account, I don’t want one, we have a family one.) because you’ve taken the time to ask me.
  • Take the time to promote – Essentially, wonderful indie authors, I’m showcasing my thoughts on your book, I’m giving you airtime on my blog, so how about you return the favour? It’s not obligatory but it always makes me happy when an author RTs a tweet about my review or promotes on their blog or Facebook page. It’s a sign of appreciation and it makes me want to hunt you down to hug you. I review because I love books, I review indie because I love the relationship between indie authors and reviewers. It breaks down a barrier between readers and traditionally published authors, take advantage of that!! (Although, some traditionally published authors are fantastic on Twitter. Rachel Caine, Sophie McKenzie & Michelle Zink have all RT’d me and Michelle tweeted me. I heart her!)

The same genre can encompass many different types of story – for example, fantasy ranges from Terry Pratchett to Twilight and everything in between. How hard is it to remain objective in your review if a feature of a book doesn’t float your boat? Say you get a fantasy about unicorns and unicorns are just not your bag!

I read the synopsis before I accept a book for review. However sometimes even that doesn’t save you from falling victim to a book you wouldn’t normally read. If a story isn’t what the blurb says it’s gonna be I do point it out but I try to review it for what it is not what I thought it was. For the most part I try not to let emotions get in the way but I fail sometimes. Rarely though.

What are your feelings on the growing army of indie authors?

I love them. There are some really lovely authors that I adore and talk to a lot on Twitter. I love how accessible they are and how willing they are to get involve with bloggers and that. (“and that” is obviously a technical term. I just don’t know what for.)

How does the quality of their work hold up against traditionally published? Do you accept reviews from both and what would it take to change your mind on your current policy?

The quality varies. Some indies are obviously self publishing for a reason (sorry guys!)  and it shows. There are also some that are badly edited and just (nearly) impossible to read. However, there are some stunning indie authors and I always want to praise the God of reading (who I shall call Frank for no reason whatsoever) when I discover their books. I accept both indie and trad books. I have been known to change my review policy because of authors. I had to add that if they didn’t send me book info they’d get a flat out refusal. I think my current policy is solid though.

Describe your reviewing schedule. How many hours do you put in a week/ day? How does this impact on other aspects of your life?

I have a rough schedule but I rarely manage to keep it up. I think it’s going to even out at 4-5 posts a week. I read a lot and a review can take hours to write. Especially if I handwrite it first (I’ve been known to do this. In pencil. I’m a leftie. Pen’s a pain.). I don’t think it overly impacts anything. I have agoraphobia so I have to do something inside might as well be something productive. (Would like to point out I’m getting better!

What started you book blogging?

I wanted somewhere to give my honest opinions on books. I know I could do that on Goodreads or Amazon but I wanted a place to call my own and I really wanted a blog called ‘From the Shadows I Review’ yes… I had the name before the blog… GO ME!!!

What makes you continue to do it?

I love what I do. I have an audience that likes what I do.  While I have get hits on the blog and people telling me I’m good at what I do I’ll keep doing it. (It also gives me something to focus on).

I think that’s the main points. I’m not saying you have to do these things but it’d be so awesome if you did! I love YA, I love indie! Indie YA is two of my favourite things in one! So this is my great excuse for giving you a few tips on making your author life a happy one! I can’t guarantee all bloggers do it like me but I’m a one off *insert cheesy wink*!! So I hope you like my author etiquette pointers and I hope that encourages you to stop by From the Shadows I Review sometime!! (Sorry! Had to get the self promotion in there!) Hey… maybe you’ll ask me to review your book!! Wouldn’t that be the best? Okay, getting excited and ahead of myself. I’m stopping while I’m ahead.

I love you indie authors and especially the hostess with the mostest, the delightful Sharon, for allowing me to come and be Char the Indie Author Agony Aunt on her blog!

Be sure to check out Char on her website, as she has very kindly linked for old lazy bones me above.  You can also follow her on Twitter and be entertained almost hourly!  Tomorrow we’ll be hearing from Jack Croxall, who not only writes fantastic novels himself, but reviews others on his website , for an insight into how being an author influences the way you review.

Amy Bookworm reveals what she loves about book blogging and surefire ways to hack her off!

As with many of the bloggers I’ve got to know this year, I met Amy through Twitter.  She’s still at school herself (one of the actual young adults that read young adult!).  She’s enthusiastic and passionate about literature and throws herself into any event wholeheartedly.  Not only that, but she’s a Whovian, so that makes her pretty cool in my eyes!  This is what Amy had to say in response to my questions about her reviewing habits:

Name your top 5 peeves from author review requests

Well, I’ve not had issues with review requests before but it’d annoy me if:
1) I know it sounds silly but if I was led into thinking I was reading a rough length of say 200 pages & it was much out I’d be annoyed. I like to know the length of the novel, I can research but they should know I care about length 😛
2) Their request was too wordy & had no pictures. They may not have a cover yet but if they have no images related to the request they shouldn’t write it as a block of text which makes no sense to me (maybe they could just make it short, sweet & not peeve me off- who cares about professionalism… much!?). If I have to use a dictionary to understand the email how will I understand their novel?
3) For some reason they haven’t told me their book title. Just requesting a review of ‘a book’ is silly… I’d probably be tempted to reply something like ‘I am interested, can I please review [insert book on TBR I don’t own]?’
4) They had too high expectations. If they told me something like, “X has 95% 5* reviews, I have spent X hours on this novel & I expect you to read it in [short space of time] & enjoy it!’ then I’d delete it. They didn’t say I had to 5* it but I’d infer it if I’m honest & the time you spent on it? Crikey. I don’t need to feel bad if I don’t like it because X amount of time was spent on it. Therefore I must read it in X amount of time? Ooh, and if I don’t enjoy it you’re the last person I want to tell.
5) They had no social networking at all (or didn’t let me know they have). No twitter, no goodreads, no nothing… So, I have to email them about their book? There’s nothing quick about that! I love to let authors know what I think as I’m reading basically… If I can’t do that my experience doesn’t always feel “wholesome”. Depends on other things too…
The same genre can encompass many different types of story – for example, fantasy ranges from Terry Pratchett to Twilight and everything in between. How hard is it to remain objective in your review if a feature of a book doesn’t float your boat? Say you get a fantasy about unicorns and unicorns are just not your bag, how does that influence your opinion?
I think this would definitely influence my opinion but to what extent… That I’m not sure of. I think it’s important to note I am a very selective reader. I tend to do my research & hopefully it would avoid issues like this. Believe me- I’d rather say ‘No’ to a review request! Sometimes there’s not a lot of info out there but taking chances are fine. I would personally mention in my review that it was more of taking a chance than usual. The rule of thumb is honesty. No exceptions, at least not in the book blogger type I come under 😉 Gosh… that sounded weird. Going back to the point, I will mention those features & how they affected me, what I thought of them & explain them so others can make up their own mind. The reasons I, hypothetically & using your example, didn’t like unicorns might be the reasons someone else loves them! Every opinion is influenced by something- be it the horns of the animal or something much bigger which you just want to hint at. I’ve seen this & seen reviewers being attacked for it; there’s definitely good reasons to not leave negative reviews but as I’ve said I’m honest & that means sharing a mix of negative, and positive (mostly, I hope), opinions. On genres, on features, on book covers… Whatever!
What are your feelings on the growing army of indie authors? How does the quality of their work hold up against traditionally published? Do you accept reviews from both and what would it take to change your mind on your current policy?
…This is an absolutely great topic. Why? I don’t think anyone is yet to fully understand it. I don’t mean why there’s a growing army of indie authors. That’s obvious. Firstly, we all have our own opinions on indie’s & mine is that they’re great. There are indie books which may not have been published otherwise but would’ve deserved readers… and they got them! It’s not hypothetical anymore. It’s not an author’s dream anymore. Don’t you love the feeling that this can be a reality? Authors can do whatever they like with their stories, they don’t have to sell their rights (nor their royalties like they are nothing- which they’re not *cough* publishers *cough*). Hence why indie’s exist. They want to have their book in their own hands… And hopefully have fingerprints of readers, not of the publishing “let’s make money out of this!” variety, in said book.
I don’t think my review policy will ever change because of the aforementioned. I know there’s likely to be low quality indie books and they give the community it’s bad name. But who’s to say everything traditionally published I’ve read is high quality? It’s not. Negative reviews don’t just exist for indie’s. Unfortunately they often have more effect on Indie’s; people are more like to believe thoughtless negative reviews, not of the more helpful negative type, for indie’s because a publisher didn’t buy said book. Do they read the reviews that accompany 1*, 2* or maybe even 3* ratings or do they decide not to read it because it’s indie? I will never entirely know, as I said! I’d like to think nobody assumes that because publishers didn’t take it on & put hard work into it that the author didn’t either. But is that the nastier side of the reality I described?… It’s not all a bed of roses which is why I respect indie’s and will happily review their books in addition to the fair number of traditionally published books I read.
Describe your reviewing schedule. How many hours do you put in a week/ day? How does this impact on other aspects of your life?
It’s hard to stick a numerical figure on to that. I could put a figure that says something like:

imagesCAGYD8KO

That’s proper descriptive, alright? 😛 I don’t have a reviewing schedule or a schedule for any part of my blogging, really. I never blog on a Sunday, that includes writing posts, posting my posts then & much more of my online activity. It’s my cut down day. You’d think, and so would my parents, that my cut down day would be during the week. And in a way, I have one then. But only from recently- rehearsals in the choir I’m in have been more frequent & that’s every Wednesday now, at least! So, I love that. I love blogging too but I cut down when I want to do something else I love- like my Art (which is mainly homework to be fair, so time-consuming), singing or spending time with family (that’s on Sunday, and it’s not just with my parents… it’s the wider family). That means I don’t blog as much as some but I never expected to be a 24/7 blogger. I never expected to blog as much as I do, even, though! And I didn’t expect to say ‘Huh?’ to this question until you asked it. Sure, it takes up quite a bit of time. I post 1 or 2 reviews a week; not just reviews though! Each review takes me on average 1-2 hours. Closer to 2 often :L It doesn’t sound a lot but I have to make time for other posts, other contact with authors (though reading their books? That’s one of the best!) & of course the reading! It sounds obvious, or maybe odd… To me they are the elements of blogging that I can think of from the top of my head.

What started you book blogging? What makes you continue to do it?

I say the same thing for starting it every time (sorry). I was inspired by Vlogging. I don’t mean I vlogged but I used to watch just vloggers until I stopped off at booktubers (yes, vloggers but bookish ones who basically video what I blog now). Lots had goodreads & I’d been a referral from google many a time. I always googled bookish things and it’d direct me there even for quotes! I didn’t realize much about it until I signed up, followed these vloggers, started reviewing, doing other stuff & ended up finding out about the non-video equivalent. I liked those reviews too and the blogs were a good idea so… hey, presto! I wish I could say a certain blogger did but really it was a journey which took months & eventually I blogged myself, not understanding quite the size of the community just knowing that I’d seen some pop up here & there. Now I know the truth 😉 Now I know the truth I can’t go completely. I can cut down, even if it’s not for long at all. I have to be here at least some of the time having these great experiences. The great experiences making connections with authors, bloggers & helping others to make them where I can. I’m quite a small (not just height-wise) blogger but that’s not what matters. It’s not stats alone that drive me, it’s you guys! The fabulous community which I am going to give a… WAIT FOR IT! *Big Hug* web-counters.org

Yup, it’s all about the hugs *giggles* Oh, don’t forget the cookies… We make, and eat, some great cookies in my blogging group, Blogger Lift. Yay for us! Thanks for having me here today (: I’ve really enjoyed answering these epic, ramble-provoking questions Sharon!

You can find Amy on her wonderfully vibrant and enthusiastic blog here… Or follow her on Twitter

Tomorrow is Friday *cue wild cheers* so there will be a break from the blogging feature to find out what’s in my earholes.  Who knows what musical treasure you we’ll dig up?  But worry not, there will be more book blogger musings on Saturday 🙂

Liz of Liz Loves Books shares her thoughts on being a new blogger

Guess where I met Liz?  When I first got to know this delightful tweet-addict she read avidly and reviewed pretty much everything she read on Amazon and Goodreads. This is brilliant, but what’s even better is that last month she launched her own book blog, Liz Loves Books.  Liz is incredibly vocal and passionate about the authors she loves and all things literary, so it seemed only natural that I would seek her thoughts on book blogging and reviewing.  Here’s what she had to say:

imagesSo I finally got my website up and running. With a lot of blood sweat and tears, I can now finally blog about the books I love, point people towards things I think they will enjoy and generally try and get my love of reading over to the world. With the help of Twitter and Facebook the world really is my oyster.

So how have I been finding it? Well its interesting I have to say. I’ve always had my favourite genres but I have also always been willing to read ANYTHING if someone tells me its GOOD. Now of course, I’m in a position to be able to be the person saying whether its good or not, and perhaps encourage others to try something they may not dip their toes into normally. I’ve seen other bloggers get some crap thrown their way when asked for an honest review and actually GIVING one. I’ve watched some bloggers struggle with whether to give a review or not because they have not liked a book. So its all been a learning curve for me. A HUGE peeve that is in my mind, even before I started down this road proper was those authors who seem to expect you to love their book just because. Its been around a bit – on Facebook and Twitter – really quite nasty comments aimed at a reviewer who has honestly said they think the book is, well, rubbish. Some books ARE rubbish. Some books will be loved my many and hated by a few and vice versa. Readers are funny creatures you know. They love what they love and they get annoyed if a book is badly written or just plain bad…me I’ve been known to send a book sailing out of the window in disgust at the pure drivel inside it. One particularly popular novel ended up soaked and covered in bird droppings in my garden until one of my friends finally disposed of it into the bin. So, its all in the eye of the reader.

My personal opinion. When an author or publicist is looking for a reviewer/blogger to advance read a copy of an upcoming novel they should pick carefully. Most bloggers, including myself, put information on their sites about the books they tend to enjoy. If a blogger says they only really like Crime Fiction what is the POINT of sending them a self help book or a romance novel. But it happens. I’ve had some strange requests and I’ve only just started. Because of the fact that I’ve been watching what happens I have been more prepared to turn people away – so I am ONLY reading the books I’m fairly convinced I will like and be able to give a good review to. Of course there will still be those I receive that DON’T speak to me, but hey, thats life. I’m doing MY best to ensure that everyone is happy with the result, hence why on my website there is so far only one bad review. Some of the books reviewed – The Humans for example by the incredible Matt Haig – are NOT in my immediate comfort zone but they sounded interesting so I read them anyway. But thats me. SOME bloggers really DO only want to read a certain type of novel and most of them say so quite clearly in their reviewing policy. So authors. READ their reviewing policy. And don’t get on your high horse if after a reviewer says they didnt like your book you suddenly feel hard done by. The next reviewer may love it. I may love it – I love lots of things!

So, how many books can I handle? Well I’m a fast reader. Anyone who has already been following me on Twitter and Goodreads prior to my site going live know that I read an awful lot of books in a very short time. Thats just me. So before I started promoting my site I thought long and hard about how many books I would accept, should the requests come, within any given period. I can, when life allows, read a book a day – sometimes more. But if I allow for the fact that I’m also a full time single mother with two little boys, I know that in reality that number is less. So I will only accept 5 requests at a time – because I WANT to read other stuff as well, not just ones that I am doing by request – and I am REALLY on board with the idea that if you are going to accept a reading request you should be able to give it full concentration and do your very best for the author concerned. Because we SHOULD be promoting the great reads. We SHOULD be promoting those authors who have real talent whether they be mainstream or Indie.

I have had a lot of requests, many more than I was actually expecting. And I’ve turned most of them down. So if I have agreed to read your book – be reassured. Its because I WANT to read it. Because I’m reasonably convinced I will like it enough to actually give you a great review and some decent promotion. Whether its in my immediate comfort zone as stated on my site or not. I THINK about it. Because much as it is the responsibility of the author/publicist to try and get the advance copies out to the right people it is JUST AS MUCH my responsibility to only accept what I can handle realistically and what I think I will enjoy.

Happy reading folks!

Follow Liz on Twitter for witty and insightful comments or check out her website for all the latest book reviews. Tomorrow will be the turn of Amy Bookworm to tell us what she loves and hates about book blogging.