#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Rosie Amber

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 Amber rose

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! 🙂

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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

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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.

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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.

Readathon

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/

35 thoughts on “#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Rosie Amber

    • My pleasure, Rosie! I’m so happy you agreed to be a guest on The Write Stuff. Thanks a million for such a thorough post. I like that you’ve laid out for us what you do, and why. And also, the proper way to contact you for review submission.

      Have a great Friday, and an even better weekend!

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  1. Hello Marcia, I’m one of Rosie’s reviewing team and I’d like to reiterate what a marvellous job she does – something I really admire her for is how she’s always thinking of new ideas to make the blog interesting. The Friday Five Challenge is inspired – I’ve so enjoyed doing that, though sadly I haven’t had time lately. Oh, and can I mention the Rosie Amber Book Review Team Awards? Coming soon… !!

    This is a terrific post, and, I think, really shows writers exactly what book reviewers do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Terry. It was a great way to let everyone know about Rosie, her blogging, her reviews, and her Review Team. Thanks for mentioning the Awards. I’ll be watching for that. Hope you enjoy looking around The Write Stuff, while you’re here. And thanks for taking the time to comment, too. Have a great afternoon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also one of the members of her team, and although I haven’t been there long, I couldn’t agree more with Terry. She’s always well informed, accommodating, takes on a great deal of things and requests, and makes sure you feel a part of the team. If only other people who run things did it half as well….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So wonderful to have Rosie tell us about her review process and all that she does. I honestly am amazed at all book reviewers to have the time to read so many wonderful books and give in-depth reviews, and live their lives. I can hardly keep up with my own reading, writing and blogging. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rosie, sincere thanks to you and your review team. I have much admiration and respect for all of you. I enjoy your blog, your reviews, and the books you recommend. Glad I found your inspirational site!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I know mine has grown since I started following your blog, but that just means more fun for me when I go to choose who I’m going to spend my spare time with, and even MORE fun when I finally decide to slow down a bit. 🙂 Can’t speak for anyone else, but don’t feel guilty on MY behalf. 😀

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  5. It’s great to meet you and learn about your review blog that actually has a dedicated review team. I host a writer’s blog and sometime do reviews when I have time. It takes work and dedication. I congratulate you and everyone associated with your team. I’m so glad to be on your November Mystery Book Tour.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Fabulous Friday Bloggers – Rosie Amber @MarciaMears | Rosie Amber

  7. Pingback: Fabulous Friday Bloggers – Rosie Amber @MarciaMeara | Rosie Amber

    • I know I’ve enjoyed getting to know her, Macjam, so I figured everyone else deserved to do so, as well. 🙂 I’m very happy Rosie decided to take part in Fabulous Friday Guest Bloggers, here on The Write Stuff. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll take a look around while you’re in the neighborhood! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, Marcia, I am with you in saying “More Rosies in the world, please!”
    I had my book, Shadows of the Past, reviewed by Rosie a while ago and I also took part in last year Romancing September tour. It was fabulous.
    Rosie is so enthusiastic and generous with her time.
    Wishing her and her team all the very best!
    Thanks Marcia for showcasing such a dedicated blogger and person!
    Carmen

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have no idea how you fit it all in, Rosie, but as an author and blogger, I’m very grateful that you do!
    Jessie’s 5 star review of DESPRITE MEASURES on your blog was a great boost to the visibility of a book that’s proving tough to market, and I love finding new authors to read through your team’s reviewing – now I think I may have to find time to investigate your other blogging activities as well.
    😀

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    • Thanks Deborah, Our #FridayFiveChallenge is a good exercise for authors. It makes you look at the book buying POV from an new eye. Even if you don’t blog your results have a go. Randomly think of a search term word and enter it into an online book seller like Amazon. Toggle the page so you get a screen of book covers rather than a descending list, then scroll down looking at book covers that REALLY catch your eye. Choose one on book cover alone, then go and look at it in more depth, book description, number of reviews and price, then decide if you would hypothetically BUY or PASS.

      Think about what you’ve just gone through – what did the book cover suggest to you? What did you think the book would be about before you saw the description? What genre did you think it was? Next go and have another read of the book description, did this “sell” you the book? What did you think? Too much? too little? Did it answer any questions you had from the book cover?

      Next look at some of the reviews. Did the book live up to reviewer expectations? What worked, what didn’t? To go deeper (the challenge is all about a quick “buyer” choice) this takes longer, dismiss the reviews that are from family + friends who haven’t reviewed much else, you need the reviews of those who read lots of books. What are they saying? What are they NOT saying?

      Finally look at the price, the book market is saturated and buyers DO shop on price, especially on a gamble for a new book they know nothing about. It might make you ill to almost give away your book which you spent hours on and invested money on editing and book covers etc, but its all about supply and demand unless you are up there with the BIG names who sell books just because of who they are.

      If you do take the challenge, tag myself @rosieamber1 (twitter) or email me the link to your blog post and I’ll add it to my list of challenger for that week. I also have a template for a blog post if anyone is interested, e-mail me or drop me a not via the contact on my blog.

      Liked by 2 people

      • This sounds like a really cool exercise, Rosie. Fun, but very much an eye-opening kind of thing, and well worth the time to try. I’m printing this out for my own reminder, and if I can find the time next Friday, I’ll give it a try. IF I’m able to do it, I’ll definitely visit your blog and play along. And if not, I’ll hang on to it until a Friday comes where I CAN give it a try. Super idea!!

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      • Cheers Rosie, I will see what time I can find. I do this in a less challenging way already, but staying within my preferred genres, so taking in a wider picture should be a very interesting exercise.

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  10. Rosie and team, this was a well-written and very informative post. Thank you for that! To read about the time and effort you put into this — and to do it right — as a labor of love was an eye-opener. It’s wonderful to know there are people like you out there. I wish you continued success.

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