Today, our guest blogger is Rosie Amber, who is going to talk to us about how and why she does book reviews, where you can follow her blog, and how you can contact her if you’d like to submit something of your own for her or her team to review. Thank you for being here today, Rosie. Now take it away, Flower Lady! 🙂
Thank you for inviting me to The Write Stuff blog today for a chat about book reviewing. I’m Rosie Amber and I run a book reviewing blog at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/
You can also find me on Twitter @rosieamber1
Why as a reader I think reviews are important
In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.
I love reading and want to share the books I love with others, so what better way than by writing a review and posting it on various online platforms and book buying sites.
As a reviewer, I post reviews about nearly all the books I read as long as I can rate them 3* or above. Below this I won’t review, I feel a “no review” says as much as a 1 or 2*. If I’ve been asked to review the book for an author and it will be below 2*, I’ll contact the author with an appraisal of their book, with my thoughts on how it could be improved.
What makes a good review?
I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.
Running a review blog
A year ago I filled my blog with all my own reviews, but my request list was getting long and I was being asked to review genres which I didn’t enjoy. So I created a book review team. Members join on a voluntary basis and review books around their own lives. There is no minimum or maximum number of books to read as long as they read and review a book in a month. We post reviews on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Goodreads, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review which goes out on my own blog.
It is set up so that authors provide several copies of their work and we give them multiple reviews of the book all from one place.
It is complex, I’m fielding book review enquiries from authors, managing the review requests from the team, making sure they review within the one month and dealing with any of their queries, sending out notification to the author when the reviews comes in and drafting up my copy of each review for my blog. On top of that I have my own review request list which is currently around 50 books. I try to read a book in no longer than 2 days. This is a hobby, I have to work it around family life and part time employment. All the reviewing is free with no monetary values exchanged. This is important with the current Amazon clamp down on paid reviews and fake reviews breaching their rules.
Approaching us for a review
The best type of author wanting a review is one that has found my blog, spent a good time checking out the type of books we read, the style of reviews we write and actually getting involved with some of the posts via comments and sharing on social media. I hang out on Twitter a great deal.
Then when they have got a good feel for us I’m happy for them to make contact via the contact forms. There is a good set of instructions about the RIGHT way to go about it.
It’s very obvious if a new author finds my blog, “Follows” by joining and then fills in the book request form. I get all the e-mails, the one which says “You have a new follower” and when it’s followed by a book review request I KNOW the author has spent little time checking me out.
Then when they send a copy and paste review request or they call me Amber or no name at all, I get miffed. Most authors understand I’m busy reading and living my life and I will get to their book, some are a little impatient. DON’T OFFEND A REVIEWER BEFORE THEY’VE READ YOUR BOOK!
All I ask is that authors remember the team and I are human, we do this because we like reading, we won’t like every book we read but we won’t be rude or leave a 1* and no reason why. We spend several hours reading your book and thinking about a fair review all for free and in our own time so that you might benefit from others who will buy your book.
What else do we do on the blog?
I like to put fresh ideas out on the blog, so I get involved with other projects too. Every April I take part in the April A-Z Challenge, where bloggers from all over the world blog their way through the alphabet. This is a fantastic way to meet new people and make new friends/ followers. If anyone is trying to build up their blog, I recommend taking part in this free challenge. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
I also run my own free tours, I’ve just finished the third annual #RomancingSeptember tour with fellow blogger Stephanie Hurt. Earlier in the summer I also ran a Beach Reads tour and last year I ran a #MysteryNovember tour. These are hard work but a lot of fun for all that take part.
This October I’m running a Readathon, where I’m inviting anyone who follows the blog to read and review three books and we’ll post their reviews.
The #FridayFiveChallenge is a quick research post for people who blog. Each Friday people write a post about a book they found online after just a five minute search. The idea is to use a search term and then scan the book covers and choose a book from its cover/ book title. There’s time for a quick read of the book blurb and maybe a look at the number of reviews, then you must make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS? The idea behind it is to look at it from a buyer’s POV. Many people now shop online for books and the thumb-nail book cover is often the first point of sale, get it right and hook the reader, get it wrong and they’ve passed you by.
There is plenty more, from my Wednesday Wing posts with tips from a readers POV, Resources for writers and posts by Avid readers, people who aren’t book reviewers but friends who say they’ve read a great book and tell you just a couple of lines about it.
Do drop in, say hello, pull up a chair and get comfy with people who LIKE books https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/