Reader Interview – Victoria Zigler #Reading #interviews

I don’t often do reader interviews these days, but it’s great to be offering this. As an author readers are vitally important – they are our customers, our critics and our audience.  Many authors are avid readers, but of course, not all readers are authors.

Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Victoria Zigler (or Tori, if you prefer).

Where are you from? I’m originally from South-West Wales, UK, and was born and raised in the shadow of the Black Mountains… Well, other than a short time in my teens when I lived on the South-East coast of England, and again later in my teens when I lived in Canada for six months.  But these days I live on the South-East coast of England, UK… Yes, the same part of it where I lived in my teens.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a bookaholic.  Seriously! I’ve loved to read since I learned how, and been writing almost as long.  If I’m not either reading or writing, chances are I’m either spending time with my hubby and pets, dabbling in one of the other activities that sometimes manage to capture my attention for a while, such as watching movies, listening to music, playing roleplaying games (like Dungeons & Dragons, and that kind of thing) or doing crafts.  Either that or it’s because I’m sorting emails, putting in an appearance on social media sites, pretending to work while really playing Scrabble or Solitaire on my computer, or it’s because I still haven’t managed to get a house elf and am therefore forced to worry about things like housework and household errands.

Oh, yeah, I’m also completely blind, having lost my sight to Congenital Glaucoma.

On average how many books do you read in a month? Judging by the 317 book total for 2016, I read on average something like 26 books a month.  Of course, that varies, since some years I read more than the 317, other years I read less.  Basically, it depends on how long the books I’m reading at the time are, and what else is going on in my life that may cut in to my reading time.

Where is your favourite place to read? I’ll happily read anywhere, but most of my reading is done in my bedroom, which is where my stereo is, and where my Kindle spends most of its time.

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? My favourite genre is fantasy, because anything can happen in it, and I enjoy the experience of being carried off to magical lands.  I’ll read almost anything though, regardless of genre or age range.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a children’s book or an adult book, or if it’s a fairy tale or a historical romance.  As long as it’s not Christian fiction, chances are I’ll give it a go.  I tend to be more concerned with whether the story appeals to me, rather than what genre it falls under.  Like I said though, the exception is Christian fiction.  That’s the only genre I completely steer away from.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? Reading offers me an escape from reality when I don’t want to face it.  It also allows me to see the world in a way I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.  Not to mention, reading is one of the few areas where I’m not at a disadvantage from others due to my lack of sight; reading is one of the few activities where being blind doesn’t change the amount of information I absorb from the experience compared to a sighted person.

Do you have a favourite book or author, why do you think you like this book/author so much? To be honest, I have several favourite authors and books, and we’d be here all day if I listed them all in this interview.  Besides, my favourites depend on my mood to some extent.  Although, having said that, I fell in love with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “A Little Princess” when I first read it as a child of maybe ten or so, and have adored the book ever since.  I don’t know what it is about the book, but it’s always my go to book when someone says I absolutely have to pick a favourite.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? Most of my books are eBooks, because they’re cheaper than audiobooks, and easier to get hold of and store than Braille books.  Of course, with my lack of sight, reading a physical book is only possible if it’s in Braille, otherwise I’d be perfectly happy to read my books in any format.  I literally only stopped reading paperback and hardback books when I couldn’t see to do so any more.

How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? Mostly it’s either from following authors I already know and love, or getting recommendations from friends or family members.  Other times it’s from someone randomly buying me a book they think I’ll like, from seeing a movie and learning it’s based on a book, or from being bored and typing random keywords into the search box of online bookstores or Goodreads.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? It’s usually the title that I pay attention to first.  Sighted people may judge a book based on the cover, I do so based on a title.  If the title gets my attention, I’ll check out the book blurb.  If the blurb makes it sound like something I might enjoy reading, I’ll give it a go.  At least, I will as long as the blurb isn’t filled with typos and things; I’m always reluctant to read a book if the author can’t even make sure there are no editing issues in their blurb.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice? I pay attention to reviews of family and friends on Goodreads, because I like to know what my family and friends have been reading.  When it comes to choosing a book to read though, I only sometimes glance through reviews, especially if they’re by people I know, but only usually if the book has already captured my attention, and I’m already thinking of reading it anyway.  Bad reviews don’t generally stop me buying a book, unless the bad reviews are because of poor editing, in which case I’ll think twice about reading something, and be reluctant to do so.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off? All those things are important, and it depends on the book in question to which matters most to me when I’m reading it.  Things that turn me off though are poorly edited books, and excessive use of curse words in inappropriate situations.  When it comes to the editing, I can let some mistakes slip by, since I do appreciate that even the best editors can miss things, but when there’s a mistake every other word – or it feels like there is – it stops me enjoying the book.  When it comes to the curse words, it’s not that I’m prudish or anything, it’s just that some people seem to use curse words excessively, in situations where people wouldn’t normally swear, or just to save themselves the trouble of thinking of better replacement words.  There are also times when it feels like the curse words were only added to make up the word count.  While I can accept the use of curse words in some books… Especially during steamy scenes in books of an adult nature… Excessive and inappropriate use of them seriously irritates me, and the use of them at all in books aimed at middle grade readers or younger is entirely unacceptable to me.

If you are a reviewer why do you review? I write reviews to help other readers decide if an author’s book is worth reading, and to help out other authors looking for some attention for their books.  I admit some of my reviews are vague, and most of them are really short, but at least I do them.

If you’re wondering, I post my reviews on Goodreads, as well as in a monthly review round-up post I do on my blog, and sometimes post reviews on Smashwords too (the latter only being if I got the book via Smashwords, of course).  I’ve also done reviews on Amazon and Audible on request.

What factors are important in a review? This is a tough one.  If I enjoyed a book enough that I gave it the full five stars, I feel just a few words saying how awesome it was is enough (though I’ll expand on that if I’m dealing with a review request, or feel there’s something I want to specifically compliment).  If I gave it less, I feel it’s important to explain what stopped me giving it the full five stars.  Beyond that, I think it varies from book to book.  Although, it is often helpful to say something about the quality of the writing and world building, and the believability of the characters, I think.

Do you think it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review? No.  Reviews are about the books, not the author’s behaviour.

What are your views on paid for reviews? I don’t agree with them.  By all means give someone a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but I don’t think you should pay them to review your book.  I’ve never been paid for a review, and never expected to be.  I mean, I’ve been given free copies of books in exchange for reviews, and there are a couple of authors who regularly send me advanced review copies of their books because they know I’ll want to read their books anyway, and have learned that sending me copies in exchange for my review will get their books bumped to the top of my to-read pile.  But, as I said, I’ve never been paid for a review.  I’d also like to stress that any review I write in exchange for a free book is an honest one, based on my own personal opinion, and nothing else.

Some readers believe all 4 and 5-star reviews on a book must be fake. What are your thoughts on this? Some people just like to find a reason to criticize others, and whether or not some books have all four and five-star reviews that are genuine or fake is just another example of this.  Sure, it’s possible that some of those reviews might be fake.  But for the most part I don’t think they are, and don’t think it’s fair to assume they are.  For the most part those books are just examples of authors who did a great job in producing a book worthy of high praise.  If people can’t see that, then they’re obviously blinder than I am.  Either that, or they’re the kinds of people who only feel pleasure when saying or doing things to hurt others, in which case I feel sorry for them, because it must be a lonely existence only feeling pleasure when causing others pain.

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=Victoria+Zigler&sitesearch_type=STORE
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz
Personal Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/tori.zigler
Facebook author page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler
Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.com
E-Mail: keroberous2004@gmail.com

New Features! New Interviews! New Friends

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Over the coming weeks, I will be changing and expanding the interview and promotional opportunities available here. There will still be great features and some of them will be available at no charge but for the enhanced/expanded features then there may be a small charge. Of course, for that, you get more. More tweets, more choice of features, promoted on my new author interviews promotion page. Of course, if you simply wish to participate in one of the free features – that’s great as well.

There will be a range of the following:

Swift Six – short author or character questions

Book spotlights

Dirty Dozen – author or character interviews

Reader interviews

Editor, cover artist or narrator interviews

Top Tens

Guest posts

‘Weeks With’ a particular author

Days in the life of characters or authors

Zweihanders – double interviews with character lovers or siblings

Good cop/bad cop – heroes and villains going head to head.

Here’s the new Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Erana-Interviews-and-Features-215319805541102/

And there will soon be ‘Friends of Erana’ page listing useful services, contacts and allies of The Library of Erana.

If you’re a blogger and willing to co-host, feature or help or your an author, cover designer, audio book narrator, or of course a reader then do get in touch.

You can either use the ‘contact us’ link in the page menus or drop me an email at libraryoferana@gmail.com

 

 

Reader/Reviewer Interview Number Twenty – Joselyn Moreno

*Welcome to Joselyn Moreno.

Where are you from? Panamá

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m just an average girl who loves to read and craves lots of books. I’m bilingual and I like blogs a lot too. I’m 30 years old, and have been reading since I could, a trait from my mom since she is a elementary teacher.

On average how many books do you read in a month?
Usually depends on the length of the books if they’re short I can read 3 to 5 of them if they’re more full-length maybe 2 a month.

Where is your favorite place to read?
Anywhere I can find to read, being my bed, my car, the mall.

*What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid?
My favorites would be romance because which girl doesn’t sigh with a good one, terror/horror love to scare myself ajajaaj, dystopia since it seems so real but at the same time sci fi and interesting.

Why are books important to you, and what does reading bring to your life?
Because they can lift my spirits whenever I need, for me they’re like my drug and well they bring a lot of good things to my life, like friends and lots of reads.

Do you have a favorite book or author? Why do you think you like this book/author so much?
Jovee winters, I love her sexy retells of classic children tales.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this?
Ebooks mostly, audiobooks are good too so I can go in the traffic hearing something cool, paperback are nice only when you have space at your home for them.

How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know?
Following authors more than anything and with my blog I receive a lot of request to read.

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look? What makes you turn away?
For me the covers and the blurbs are it, that can convince me to give a book a try. For me to turn away a book it mean the blurb didn’t catch my attention or it was too heavy for my liking.

*Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice?
Yes sometimes I do, and not really but they could always make a book seem more interesting.

Do you “judge a book by its cover?”
Jaja well sometimes, I do love cute covers it’s a great catch to my eyes, however I do try to buy them for their story.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a book for you? Plot, world-building, strong characters etc.? What turns you off?
Plot and characters for me is what makes a book good or bad.
Too much roundabout can make me turn off since I get bored.

Does the behaviour of an author affect your choice to read one of their books?
Only if they do something bad to me personally if not well people are people and we can’t control them, but it doesn’t mean the books are bad.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads?
I think it’s awesome, they get to know their fans and interact with them, that is always a good thing.

If you had to pick three favourite books to take to a desert island what would they be?
Fields of Elysium, The Veil: Awakening, Red and her Wolf

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline?
Yes and no, Yes because they’re so few you can get to really like bookshops, and no because lots of business sells books so they are like miniature bookshops inside stores, I’m hopeful they never disappear.

If you are a reviewer why do you review?
Because I like to help people discover new books and authors to know people out there likes their books.

What factors are important in a review?
That the plot is good more than anything in my case.

What are your views on paid for reviews?
It will depend if you’re paying for a good review then it’s bad it should be honest, if you’re paying for the time someone took for reading your book it maybe be more like a donation to that person to keep reading and doing what they love.

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? What other factors influence your choice?
Not really, I do see what other people think and it’s a matter of points of view.
What influences my choice in a book will be the cover design if it is appealing to me and if the story is enticing.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot? Which factors do you overlook? (if any)
My criteria, plot and character making, I do overlook editing sometimes since we are humans and can make mistakes.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive?
Positive because that shows they care and are willing to learn from those reviews and grow as authors.

Do you feel it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review, is this a factor which influences your choice?
NO its not, a review should solemnly be what you think about a book, no hard feelings in it.
If you need to say something about behavior you can always talk with the author directly.

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?
That they really liked these books, it’s not unheard of, I guess.

Do you give negative reviews?
I do try not to be negative about my reviews but if I don’t like a book I try to be professional and polite about it and I never blame a book for not liking it, it’s just not my taste that’s all.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone?
I usually stick with my genres but from time to time I like to try and explore a different thing, it can surprise me.

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? NO I review them the same way, they’re books and shouldn’t be treated differently just like people.

Have you ever been a victim of an ‘author behaving badly’? How did you deal with it?
Just one time and I think it was kind of my fault too, but I think that she was too harsh and judgmental the way she looks at things, well I did apologize to her and all but after that I didn’t want to read her anymore.

Reviewer Interview Number Nine – Rebecca

Welcome to Rebecca from the Literary Connoisseur.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Well! I am an eighteen year-old American book reviewer. I read anything and everything from YA (young adult) to Biographies to Fiction. My blog will be turning a year old next month on June 28th (YAY!) and this is my dream. I am loving every single minute of blogging, I have had so many opportunities open up because of it, and I couldn’t be happier! (Unless maybe if I interviewed J.K. Rowling.)

On average how many books do you read a month?  What genres do you enjoy? I read on average a book every three days. That averages to about ten books per month, or depending on my schedule, eight to twelve books per month. I have set my reading goal to 150 books this year! I read absolutely everything and enjoy them all. I used to be skeptical about Sci-Fi books, but I have fallen in love with a few of those recently as well!

Where do you tend to review? (links etc.) I review on my blog, http://www.Theliteraryconnoisseur.com, every few days, and occasionally Amazon and Goodreads as well. (As per request from the author.) If it’s a mind-blowing book, I post EVERYWHERE about it!

Why do you review – for other readers, for author feedback, for yourself? For myself! I always wanted to discuss the books I read with my friends, and I wanted to get them to read all of the wonderful books I was reading. This was my solution, and it worked! I do it for myself, but I’ve heard that my blog has helped many readers find their perfect book.

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? What other factors influence your choice? Mostly friends, magazines, word of mouth, etc. If I hear wonderful things, I want to read it. If I hear terrible things, I want to read it also. Basically if I get wind of a book, I put it on my TBR (to be read) pile!

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot?  Which factors do you overlook? I overlook writing, unless it really bothers me and I cannot concentrate. I mainly pay attention to character progression, how much I like the female characters (I’m really critical when it comes to female characters), how easily the book grabbed me, and stereotypes. I like books that defy the norm.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? I love hearing what the authors think of my reviews. And my favorite- which is terrible – I love it when my reviews affect an author so much, they cry. I’ve gotten a lot of, “Your review was so beautiful, I’m crying right now!”s. That makes me feel really good. Authors deserve wonderful reviews.

Do you feel it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review, is this a factor which influences your choice? I typically don’t incorporate authors’ personalities, habits, personal views, etc. into book reviews. I like to stay on track and only cover the author’s story in my criticisms.

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? Well, authors love good reviews. I completely understand if they’d rather stay away from three and below stars, so I don’t find it suspicious. I’m sure eventually they’ll come across that one, or those few people who dislike their book and give it less stars. I’ll probably end up reading the book anyway!

Do you give negative reviews? I do. I don’t like to, but sometimes they help people pick up the book! There are only a few books I have disliked, and I do write reviews for them, but I always find something positive with the book, and I NEVER badmouth. That can ruin an author’s reputation, and it can crush them like that. I respect all books and authors.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence your choice? I surprisingly do not! I like to avoid others’ opinions before I read the book (which is ironic since…well, that’s my job!), but I do like to read reviews after I read the book and form my own opinion.

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks, or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I LOVE paper books! I love the flexibility, I love the smells, the weight, the feel, and I love the way they look on my bookshelf. Although ebooks sure do come in handy sometimes. They have their purpose as well!

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? I have read books out of my comfort zone before, and I ended up adoring some of them! Never judge a book by its genre. You never know what you’ll find!

What are your opinions on paid reviews? (not including a copy of the book for review purposes only). I think it’s appreciated, but not necessary. I mainly get paid for one on one publicity work, and that tends to be easier and more beneficial to both the reviewer and the author. I have yet to be paid for a review!

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? Well, the big difference is that there’s an enormous chance that the Indie author will in fact read your review. Mainstream authors will most likely not. When it comes to reviewing books, for me, it isn’t any different. But when it comes to the authors reading my reviews, yes! There’s a big difference!

Do you “judge a book by its cover?” Yes if it’s a nice cover, no if it’s a bad cover. The authors typically have no say over the cover, so if it’s a “not-so-appealing” cover, I look past it and read the synopsis. But if it’s an intriguing cover, I will most likely pick it up/buy it.

If you had to pick three favourite books to bring to a desert island what would they be? Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (my favorite of the series!) by J.K. Rowling, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Weird variety, I know!

Where is your favourite place to read? Oh, I do not know! I can honestly read anywhere. I’d have to say…probably at home, with my mom, with a nice cup of coffee, and my cat curled up in my lap.

Feel free to add your blog/website etc.

You can follow my blog at Theliteraryconnoisseur.com, you can find me on Facebook as The Literary Connoisseur, and on Twitter at @LitConnoisseur, and you can email me for review requests at Fangirl1695@gmail.com. Thank you so much for interviewing me! I had a blast!

 

Reader Interview Number Eighteen – Cas Peace

Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, a place of words and of their magic. Words are power, they are knowledge and they are freedom.  Readers play an important role in the life of books and words, for without readers books would sit unread, unloved and unknown.  What makes a good book, or for that matter a bad one?  Why do people read and how do they find their books?

Welcome to Cas Peace.

Where are you from? I’m a Brit, I live in the south, in the county of Hampshire. It’s where I was born.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Right now I’m an author and freelance editor. I’ve written the triple-trilogy fantasy series Artesans of Albia, and the first three books have been published. The fourth, The Challenge, is scheduled for publication in April 2014. I’ve also written a non-fiction book, For the Love of Daisy, which tells the story of a beautiful and mischeivous Dalmatian I used to own. I’m also a folk singer/songwriter, and have written songs to accompany my fantasy novels. They can be downloaded from my website. Before any of that I was a horse-riding instructor. And before that I was an avid book reader, which I continue to be to this day!

On average how many books do you read in a month? Due to pressures of work, I only get through about one novel a month. Pleasure reading has been relegated to the hour before I go to sleep. But I can also count editing, because although I’m working on whatever book it is, I still get a good sense of the story. So make that two books a month!

Where is your favourite place to read? For pleasure reading it’s either in bed or a quiet place in my garden. We’re quite rural and we have many seats in our garden. I love to pick one and relax with a great book.

What genres do you prefer and why? Do you have any genres you avoid? I’ve always loved fantasy and most of the books I read are in that genre. But I also enjoy crime, thrillers, adventure, romance, sci-fi, mystery, and especially historical drama. I occasionally read horror. I don’t read vampire stories much, and never erotica.

Why are books important to you and what does reading bring to your life? One of my earliest childhood memories is of curling up in a big comfy armchair in front of the fire on a cold and rainy winter day with a wonderful library book and a bag of chocolate buttons. This is still my idea of heaven. Books are so important because they are a way of communication that is unparalleled anywhere else. A reader can get so much out of a book, and often more than the author intended or realized was there. The written word can take hold of the imagination in so many diverse ways, allowing each reader to gain a unique and totally personal insight into the world contained within that cover. Art can do the same thing, but many people feel that art can be false and pretentious. I guess books can be too, but they don’t generally gather much of a following if they are!

What medium do you prefer – e-books, audiobooks or paper books? Would you care to expand on this? I still prefer paper books. I don’t know if it’s simply my age, but even though I have an e-reader and spend much of my reading time looking at a screen, I still don’t consider a digital file to be a ‘book’. It’s not just the feel and smell of a paper book, it’s the fact that you can see illustrations and maps and the book cover better. I also like to be able to keep one finger in the map page or glossary so I can flip back and forth as I read the story. This is not as easy with an e-reader. And I do find print on paper more restful on the eyes, especially as I spend most of my working day (whether editing or writing) looking at my laptop screen. So it’s definitely ‘real’ books for me. But I do value e-readers and also audio books. My late grandmother got so much enjoyment from her audio books, and I hope to release audio versions of my own books soon.

How do you usually find the books you read? For example: recommendations from friends, promotion on social networks, your local library, following authors you already know? These days, most of the books I read come to me from friends and authors I know. But I also like trawling through Amazon to find new books. Years ago I used to use the Library a lot, and although it’s much easier looking online, I do rather miss going to the Library!

When choosing a book what makes you stop and give it a second look?  What makes you turn away? The first thing I look for is the genre. The second is the cover, and the third is the back cover copy. I will always be attracted by a well-designed cover, but that’s not the only thing that makes me pick up the book. The author’s name will do that too. However, liking the author and the cover will not overcome bad cover copy. I have to feel excited or engaged by it. If I’m not, it’s unlikely that I’ll open the book and read a few lines. A badly designed or unattractive cover will always make me turn away.

Do you read reviews by others and if so do they influence the choice? Definitely, to both. Although I’m rarely completely put off by bad reviews. Pretty much all my favourite authors have some bad reviews, it’s only natural. And I often find scathing reviews quite funny. I might not find scathing reviews of my own books so funny, but fortunately I’ve not had any yet!

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews on sites such as Goodreads? As an author myself, I always think it’s a mistake to make any kind of comment on someone else’s review. All I ever do with reviews of my own books is maybe write a ‘thank you’ under a 5* review, or click the ‘was this review helpful to you’ button. I would never engage in an argument about a less than favourable review. I really don’t see the point. Arguing is not going to make the reviewer retract or change their bad review, and it only makes the author look a bit desperate. I appreciate it must be soul-destroying and upsetting to have someone slate or revile a book you’ve spent years perfecting, but there will always be people who don’t like even the most popular book.

Do you think bricks and mortar bookshops are in decline? Sadly, I think they are. We had a few independent bookstores in our area and they have all now closed. We do have the two major English bookstores – W H Smith and Waterstones – in our nearest large towns, but nothing else. I guess they find it really hard to compete with the online stores, both on price and on the space books occupy. I used to adore browsing through bookshops, but I didn’t realise, until the Internet, how limited the choice was. I’d often go looking for a sequel from a loved author and not be able to find it; now I can very easily order it over the Net, or find out from their website when it’s due out. It’s hard for brick and mortar shops to compete with that.

For reviewers. I’m  going to answer these questions too, because I also write book reviews

If you are a reviewer why do you review? I review mainly because I like to help the authors of books I’ve enjoyed. I feel I’m giving something back to someone who has worked hard to produce a book that gave me enjoyment. I also enjoy reading reviews, and if I can draw other readers to a good book, then I think I should. It’s all part of the reading experience.

What factors are important in a review? I’m not one of those reviewers who writes a synopsis of the plot, or who quotes the back cover copy before getting to the actual review. I don’t see the point of that. What I like to do is mention what I enjoyed about the book, and what I got out of it. I often mention the writing style, and whether I thought it added to my enjoyment or hindered it. Many fantasy writers have wonderfully lyrical prose, and I love that. I also believe reviewers should never give spoilers, even if they put a warning first. It’s too easy to miss the warning and have your enjoyment marred!

Do you think it is appropriate to discuss author behaviour in a review? I would never do this. I think this only happens in bad reviews, and I don’t give bad reviews. If I don’t like a book, I don’t review it. If it’s a book I’ve been asked to review, I’ll email the author and explain why I won’t review it. Bad reviews are pointless and often hurtful. Adding comments about the author’s behaviour is inappropriate.

What are your views on paid for reviews? Again, I think they’re pointless. Many people consider good reviews to be fake anyway, so why would you pay for one? I’d much rather get honest reader reviews, even 2 or 3 star ones, because honesty always comes through and I think other readers appreciate that. Having said that, Amazon’s marketing machine is geared around book reviews, so I understand why some authors would pay for them. It’s a system that encourages false reviews.

 

 

Reviewer Interview Number Eight – Lade

Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Lade. I’m from Nigeria. I’ll be 17 in a few weeks. I love to read (obviously). I write. I’m also a makeup artiste and a training photographer.

On average how many books do you read a month? 
I’ll say around 10 – 12

What genres do you enjoy?
I read almost all genres but my favourites are YA, NA, chick lit, mystery, thrillers and humour

Where do you tend to review?
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/9178403-lade
My blog http://WeBlogAboutBooks.blogspot.com

Why do you review – for other readers, for author
feedback, for yourself?

I review because I like to share my opinions so I’ll say for myself and other readers.

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? What other factors influence your choice?
I read reviews to determine what to expect from a book. If a book has too many negative reviews, I want to read it to know why. Same for positive reviews.

Other things that influence my choice are a fun/strange/weird title and a fun/funky cover.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot? Which factors do you overlook? (if any)
I think well developed, relatable characters; a good, a well developed storyline and plot are very important to me. I can overlook a few typos and editing errors if the book covers these.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive?
I think that authors shouldn’t like or comment on reviews on their books. If they are going to leave a comment, it should be relevant to the review [i.e.Questions relating to problems pointed out by the reviewer or answers to questions raised in the review]. Not just something in the lines of: “thank you for your review”.

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 like the new guidelines. What works for me may not work for you.
It’s important to some people to know if the author has a history of harassing people, or is racist or homophobic etc and to others, it’s not.
Just like it may be important for me to know if the clothes I buy are made by child labourers so I know not to support the brand but someone else may not care.

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?
There’s no way a book can have all ratings as 4/5 stars. Everyone has different tastes and not everyone will like your book even if it’s a masterpiece.
So yeah, I find it suspicious

Do you give negative reviews?
It depends on how define a negative review. Is it a review bashing the book/author? Then no I don’t.
If it means rating and reviewing a book below 3 stars, then yes I do.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone?
When it comes to books, I read most genres.
If the blurb of a book in a genre I don’t like fascinates me, I’d go for it.

What are your opinions on paid reviews? (Not including a copy of the book for review purposes only.) I think it creates an unconscious bias towards the book.
In my opinion, any author who would do this has low confidence in the quality of the book they have published.

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book?
I review all books the same way. I don’t even bother to check which is which until I’ve finished writing my review.

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. http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com/

Reviewer Interview Number Six – Helen Hollick

Welcome to… Helen Hollick

Please tell us a little about yourself. I am a UK author of Historical Fiction and Historical Adventure, published mainstream in the US and Indie here in the UK. In addition to my writing I am the UK Indie Review Editor for the Historical Novel Society

On average how many books do you read a month?  Not as many as I would like, unfortunately, as my own writing (and the marketing that must go with promoting my Indie published books) does not leave me much time for reading. I also have poor eyesight so I either rely on clear, not too small print or my trusty Kindle! I try for two or three books a month though.

What genres do you enjoy? Historical fiction or adventure, some fantasy, science fiction or the occasional romantic comedy-type.

In your position as Indie Review Editor for the Historical Novel Society what do you look for in a book you would recommend? My role as editor is receiving books that have been submitted, adding them to the database and initially assessing them for review by the splendid review team of readers that I have. Most Indie books ‘pass’ the scrutiny, but I’m afraid it’s an immediate rejection if the layout and presentation is incorrect – the HNS aims to promote good indie-published fiction and we hope to prove that Indie writers can be every bit as good as mainstream authors, but to do this we have to be strict about presentation quality (in addition to writing quality of course!) This means that anything with the text left justified (ragged edge on the right hand margin instead of straight margins each side) or double or 1.5 spaced will be rejected. As will something with a tiny print or in an unsuitable font, such as comic sans. To be accepted as equal to mainstream indie authors must ensure that their books emulate the mainstream standard!

I do also get the pick of the books to read (there’s always a perk to a voluntary job isn’t there!) I find it thrilling to read so many really good indie writers – baffling why some of them have not been picked up by mainstream!

Please tell us a little about the society. The HNS is a literary society devoted to promoting the enjoyment of historical fiction. The Society is  based in the USA and UK but welcomes members (who can be readers or writers) from all round the world. Through their print magazines, conferences, website, social media and the dynamism of their membership  the HNS helps to bring the excitement of these novels to the widest audience. The HNS website:

http://historicalnovelsociety.org/

How do you support authors and readers? By promoting their work as much as possible – when I personally come across a well written (and presented) book I am happy to promote it on my Facebook Page and Twitter Feed. Some authors I also welcome as guests on my blog.

Where do you tend to review? The HNS publishes indie reviews quarterly  on their website. http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/?type=indie

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? No, I tend to go by what my friends say about a book – although I do often read  indie books that have had good reviews by the HNS

What other factors influence your choice? I occasionally read books that have received unpleasant  one star reviews on Amazon. I honestly cannot see why, if someone hated a book, they waste time writing a “this book is dreadful” type review.  If you can’t say something good about a book, say nothing at all! Most times I find these reviewers are very wrong and I have thoroughly enjoyed the books they have dragged through the mud.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot?  Which factors do you overlook? (if any) I will overlook occasional typo errors – but not error after error. I also overlook commas and some punctuation formats – because I have discovered that the US and the UK have differing views about correct placement. Editing is extremely important – not just for grammar, punctuation and spelling, but for general technical construction – plot, characters, continuity… A good editor will pick up too much author’s voice or too many point of view changes (head hopping). Plot is important – but a well-written (and edited!) novel can be a wonderful read even if it has a poor plot.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? Not a good idea for an author to protest about a poor review, although there are circumstances when this might be needed. (I have commented on Amazon about a poor review of an early edition of one of my books. I commented that this particular edition was no longer in print and had been re-published.) If you must reply, keep calm, keep polite and keep it short. Do not get into a rolling argument!

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? That is such nonsense. A good book is a good book! Enough said.

Do you give negative reviews? No, although I do sometimes add a constructive comment (such as a book could benefit from another edit as it has several typos). If I HAVE to give a review, even though a book was not to my taste, I clearly state that I am having to review it (i.e. for the Amazon Vine project). I find something good to say, then add that it wasn’t quite my preferred type of book – which is my fault as a reader, not the author’s fault as a writer!

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? Yes to my genre, no to outside my zone – I just haven’t got time to read books I don’t want to read.

What are your opinions on paid reviews? (not including a copy of the book for review purposes only) I am not so keen. I’m not certain these are unbiased.

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? Apart from the layout and presentation of an Indie book being taken into consideration – no.

Feel free to add your blog/website etc.

Website: www.helenhollick.net

main Blog: http://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/

Leaning on the Gate – Devon Diary: http://leaningonthegate.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/HelenHollick@HelenHollick

 

Reviewer Interview Number Five – Jazmen

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jazmen. I’m a journalism graduate. I’m in my twenties. I don’t have any children but I love my cats 🙂 I live in Georgia but I’m moving back to NYC soon, and I am very excited about that!

On average how many books do you read a month?  What genres do you enjoy? I probably read at the very least 5-10 books a month. I love pretty much all genres but my favorites are Dystopian and Contemporary.

Where do you tend to review? I usually review on Goodreads.com and my blog. I occasionally review on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Why do you review – for other readers, for author feedback, for yourself? I review for other readers and mostly for myself. I like writing in any capacity.

Are you influenced by other reviews when choosing a book? What other factors influence your choice? I am sometimes influenced by other reviews. It all depends on what exactly is the general reason reviewers didn’t like the book. If I find it justified (bad writing, character build-up, plot, world building etc.) I may sometimes pass on a book.

When reviewing what are the important criteria? Editing? Plot?  Which factors do you overlook? (if any) When I’m reviewing I’m looking at the book as whole. How well was it written? How did the author do on the plot? Is it interesting? What’s missing? What was good? etc. I will occasionally overlook editing issues if it doesn’t hinder my reading. It would have to be really bad for me to point it out. I understand mistakes are made so I keep that in mind. No one is perfect.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? Authors commenting on reviews doesn’t bother me. It can only harm them not me. Readers can possibly be turned off by authors who comment negatively on a review. It’s just an opinion.

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?

Books that have only four or five star reviews are either really good or can be deemed suspicious. Some books are just “wow” and some are just not and it makes me wonder if they’re just lying to assuage the author or if they’re doing a tour or etc. I know of people who will say a book is better than it is just to spare the author. This is not something I agree with but it just makes me aware to not listen to any one opinion but I may listen to several saying the same thing. I MIGHT.

Do you give negative reviews? If I find a book “bad” for whatever reason I will review it as such. It is my opinion and I have a right to have one. Just like in publishing companies or even in school teachers/editors will chop your story or papers to shreds. You just deal and fix whatever is wrong.

Do you mainly stick to your preferred genres, or would you consider reviewing outside your comfort zone? I review any genre. If I only read one genre I’m not truly a reader. It’s like never going out of your own neighborhood.

What are your opinions on paid reviews? (Not including a copy of the book for review purposes only). If someone is reviewing a book without actually having read the book you’re doing a disservice to the author and the reader. It’s dishonest and I don’t agree with that

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? I treat every book the same I don’t care if Jane Doe wrote it or Jane Eyre. The publisher or lack thereof doesn’t change anything. Every book and every author deserves the same respect.

www.thisgirlreadsalot.blogspot.com

Reviewer Interview Number Four – Chuckles the Scot

Welcome to…Chucklesthescot

Please tell us a little about yourself. I love reading and I review and promote Indie authors. For fun I watch films and TV series, make news scrapbooks and chat on book groups.

On average how many books do you read a month?  15. I’m a fast reader and there are also time limits on my reviews sometimes so I need to keep on top of things.

What genres do you enjoy? urban fantasy, horror, dystopian, paranormal

Where do you tend to review? I review on Goodreads, Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords and have started my own book blog for reviews and author promotion.

http://chucklesbookcave.blogspot.co.uk/

I have my own bookgroup on goodreads as well: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/48169-my-big-fat-booky-challenge-athon

Why do you review? It used to be just for myself and my early reviews weren’t very good, full of swearing and sarcastic comments. Now I try to write fuller and more constructive reviews, without personal attacks or nasty comments that give the author some feedback, and give potential readers more detailed information about the book. A low star review doesn’t have to be a totally negative experience if you fully explains your reasons for giving it.

What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? It is nice to hear from an author that liked your review and it has led me to have great discussions about the book and make new author friends. It’s a good way for reviewers and authors to connect. The problem comes if the author does not like your review. I don’t think that authors should contact reviewers to complain or rant about not getting what they wanted. If you submit your book for an honest review, it is rude to attack the reviewer for having a different opinion of your work, unless that review has personal attacks.

What are your opinions on “sockpuppetry” after the scandals of well-known authors leaving bad reviews for competitors? If an author honestly did not enjoy the book, he/she has the same right to express this as any normal reader, if the review is fair. However I don’t agree with smearing a rival out of spite. You can’t have much faith in your own ability if you spend all your time trying to damage other authors. Readers buy multiple books in their favourite genres so it seems like a waste of time as well as being petty.

What are your opinions on a well-written review? What should it contain and how do you feel about personal comments listed in reviews? I like reviews that are balanced, where the positive and negative points of the reading experience are listed. It is important to also explain why you liked or didn’t like something, as this gives important author feedback. I like to see a point made about writing style, worldbuilding, storytelling, character development, plot and who the book might appeal to. This gives the reader a lot of information about the book. It can be useful to tell readers if there is gore, sexual content and swearing so they can make an informed choice. Making personal remarks about an author just because you hate the book is wrong and childish.

Do you find yourself being suspicious of a book with only 4 and 5 star reviews? No, not really. I’m not greatly influenced by reviews when I go to buy a book. I’ll buy a book if I like the sound of it regardless of the star rating.
Do the reviews of others influence your choices? What attracts you to read a book? I read my friends reviews if they recommend something to me but in the end I make my own choice based on the blurb. If the blurb doesn’t make the genre clear ie between UF and PNR, it is useful to look at reader reviews without spoilers and see what they say. Based on that, I’ll make a decision about whether or not it sounds right for me. I’m attracted to a book by genre and plot.

Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? No. I like to judge each book on its merits and not by it being mainstream or Indie. I do give leeway to a bit of dodgy editing, spelling mistakes etc in Indie books. I won’t mark anyone down for that unless it was impossible to read.