In my upcoming release, Dating By the Book, fantasy author Maddie gets a negative review on her own upcoming release. Although an author should never do this, Maddie decides to email the reviewer, which leads to a lively correspondence. Since we usually get to read author interviews on reviewers’ blogs, I thought it might be fun to turn the tables a bit and talk to real book bloggers about their own experiences.
This second interview is with Ginger of GReads. I first became aware of Ginger via a very lovely review she left for my first book as part of a feature she calls Such a Ginger Read. As a debut author, I was really touched to have found a reader and so I emailed her to ask if she’d like an ARC of my second, and then my third novels. Lately, her following has really taken off and she’s fun to follow in Instagram. I’m thrilled she agreed to take part in this blog series.
How long have you been reviewing books? Why did you start?
I officially started my book blog in October of 2010. Almost 9 years ago! Wow! I started my book blog because I started reading a ton of YA books and wanted to talk to people about them, but didn’t have the audience to do so. Once I connected with the book blogger community, I knew I found my place.
What’s your favorite thing about reviewing books?
The most favorite thing is after I read a book I really love, share a review for it, and then discover that someone else read & loved it too because of my review. That is the greatest feeling!
How many books do you read in a year generally? How do you usually find books to read?
Last year I hit my all-time high of reading 100 books in one year. That was a goal of mine that I had always wanted to reach. Before that I averaged about 75 books read in a year. I find most of the books I read by word of mouth. These days I spend most of my time online in the bookstagram community on Instagram. I’ve discovered a ton of great books through that community.
What is your typical process for deciding which books to review? For instance, do you go by what strikes your mood or make lists to tackle like homework? Do you accept requests to review from authors directly (and if so, how)?
These days I stay with romance, or contemporary with a high element of romance in the story, when it comes to reviewing titles. I know that’s my genre and I prefer to stay with it. There are a few romance book publishers I’ve developed a strong relationship with that have been amazing to work with. They send me titles to review, and consistently they’ve either been 4 or 5 star reads for me.
Do you review every book you intend to? If not, why might you choose not to review?
I try my best to review each book I personally request. Being eight years into this process, I know I won’t like every book I read, and that’s ok. If a book is not working for me, I will politely let the publisher know (if they sent the book to me). I understand that they’ve reached out to me to promote their books and writing a less than review for it is not always best for their authors. I then pass the book on to someone else, so they have a chance to read it.
If you give numeric ratings, what is your strategy for determining values? Are you stingy with 5 stars? Will you give a book 1 star?
It is very rare I give a book a 1 star rating. In fact, I don’t think I ever have. If a book deserves a 1 star rating from me, most likely I did not finish it, and if I don’t finish a book then I refuse to review it. As for 5 stars, if I’m completely won over by a book, then by all means I’ll give it that high praise.
What’s your opinion on authors reading reviews of their own books? When writing a review, are you concerned the author may read it? Does that ever influence your review?
If an author chooses to read their own reviews, that is their choice. I don’t let it influence how I write my review. I will never tag an author for a review that I did not find their work to be thrilling. They don’t need to be forced to see that. I will, however, always tag an author for a glowing review that I give their work. Everyone deserves to see praise for something they’ve worked hard on.
What’s your philosophy about interacting with authors? Do you tag them on reviews? Follow authors? Chat with them?
I love interacting with authors! That’s the great thing about social media these days. How awesome is it to be able to talk directly to an author about the stories they’ve written?! I love that! Over the course of my 8 (almost 9 years) of being a part of this book community, I have made some pretty amazing author friends.
How do you think authors should interact with bloggers ? Do you want authors to read your reviews? RT links to them? Ignore them?
It is always appreciated when an author retweets, or shares, a review I wrote about their book, but it is never expected. This industry has evolved so much over the years. There are a lot of us that read books and share our reviews because we genuinely love it. There is little to no monetization for doing it. If an author reads a glowing review from myself and it makes them smile, then that’s just icing on the cake. I write my reviews for readers, not just for authors & publishers. Above everything else, we’re all readers.
Have you ever received a response from an author after giving a bad review? If so, can you vaguely share what happened?
What advice do you have for authors who might get a negative review from you (or any blogger)?
Your review, is your review. You are entitled to your own opinions. However, remember that the work you are reviewing belongs to a person, with feelings. It is always best to be considerate and polite in your reviews, even if it’s a negative one.
Do you ever get any positive feedback from authors?
I do! It is such a nice feeling when an author responds to something I’ve written about their work. I understand they are busy and can’t respond to every written word about their books, so it means a lot to me when they do.
Have you met or become friends with any of the authors you’ve reviewed? If so, how has that changed your relationship with reviewing in general?
I have. Through those friendships I’ve seen the other side to the book industry, from the author’s point of view, and it’s been very eye opening. It’s helped me to understand the process of how a book becomes a book. As the reviewer, often times, we are in the last stages of said book. I get to review it in its final pages. After getting to know some authors more personally, I’ve seen the struggles and the joys they’ve had to go through before a book even becomes a book. It definitely makes me appreciate the process a lot more.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened as a direct result of your decision to review a book?
The best thing that’s ever happened is definitely the very best stories I’ve ever read in my life. As someone who adores literature and the pull it has on one’s life, there’s nothing better than losing yourself in a book. Some of these stories have gotten me through some really tough times in my life. This book community has shaped me into the person I am today. I have met some of my very best friends in this community as well. We all need an escape sometimes, and books are mine.
On behalf of all authors everywhere, thank you so much for taking the time to read our books and promote them with your reviews. Please let us know where we can we find your reviews.
Dating by the Book
Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life . . .
There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.
Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect . . .