Reviewer Interview Number Seven -DelSheree Gladden

Please tell us a little about yourself. Hi! I’m DelSheree Gladden. I live in New Mexico with my husband and two children. By day, I am a dental hygienist for a non-profit company that provides dental cleanings in public schools. When I’m not working I love to read, write, and spend time with my family doing all kinds of adventurous things!

On average how many books do you read a month?  What genres do you enjoy? Normally, I review 4 books a month. I just started a new job and I haven’t had time to read as much, but I’m hoping to get back on track over the next few months.

Where do you tend to review?  I post all my reviews on my blog, The Edible Bookshelf, as well as Amazon and Goodreads. If an author requests I post a review on any other sites, I’m always happy to do that as well.

Why do you review – for other readers, for author feedback, for yourself?  As an indie author myself, I know how hard it is to get reviews and promote your books. I love helping other authors get their books out. There are so many amazing indie books out there that readers just don’t know where to find.

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? What other factors influence your choice? I don’t read other reviews of books before accepting a book for review. I go purely off the summary they provide me with because I want the review to be my honest opinion not colored by anyone else’s thoughts.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot?  Which factors do you overlook? (if any) Characters and plot. If I can’t get into the characters, or if the plot doesn’t make sense or has holes, it won’t get a great rating from me. Editing is important as well, but if it only has a few errors I’ll overlook them. If the editing makes the book hard to read, I’ll mention it in the review as a problem. I’m tougher on traditionally published books when it comes to editing than I am on indie books because I understand it’s hard to find good editors that are affordable when you’re an indie author.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? I’m always happy to have authors comment on the review. I do my best to be fair, even if I didn’t care for the book, and they usually respect that. I’ve only had a problem once where I had to speak to the person privately and address negative behavior directed at me and my blog. The majority of the authors I’ve met have been a pleasure to work with.

Goodreads have just changed their guidelines regarding mentioning an author’s behaviour in a review and there are a lot of unhappy reviewers who feel this is limiting freedom of speech. Do you think it is appropriate to speak about this in a review or are their more appropriate places for this.  Does it make a difference to your own choice of buying a book if the author ‘behaves badly?’ I don’t think a review is the place to critique the writer personally. That needs to be dealt with in a different forum. Having said that, if I hear negative things about an author’s personal life or actions (provided they are actually true) it does affect whether or not I will buy their books.

A lot of readers comment about a book with all 4 or 5 star reviews and nothing below as being suspicious, what do you think about this? I think you have to look at the content of the reviews. If every review is gushing about how much they loved the book, but provides no real description of characters or plot, I don’t take those ratings at face value. If the reviews are well though out and tell why they liked the book, I give them much more credence. Some books really are worth 4 and 5 stars!

Do you give negative reviews? I do. If I don’t finish a book because it is poorly written of I just can’t find anything I like about it, I will contact the author and tell them I couldn’t finish the book. I don’t review these books. If I finish a book and still did not enjoy it, I will review the book as fairly as possible, pointing out both good and bad and why I did not personally connect with the book.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? I review a wide variety of genres. There are a few genres I don’t review like erotica, nonfiction, middle grade, and poetry, and I don’t vary from those. Otherwise, you can find all kinds of books on my blog!

What are your opinions on paid reviews? When it comes to paid reviews, I think it’s hard for readers to believe they are honest reviews. The same could be said about a lot of review sources, though. In the end, I think readers will spot reviews that aren’t legit and not let them cloud their judgment.

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? I expect both indie and mainstream to be well written, have good characters readers can relate to, and a strong storyline that keeps readers’ attention. I am a little more lenient on editing with indie books, but only to a certain degree. The editing can’t get in the way of the readability. I am not concerned with how a book was published, just how good of a book it is.

Feel free to add your blog/website etc.

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