You can read some fasincating discussions
Here (Presenting Lenore)
and Here (Reviewer X/Steph)
and Here (the Story Siren)
and Here (The Tea Cozy)
Roger Sutton of the Horn Book Magazine even had a little bit to say.
A few thoughts from me:
1) In the past three years, the YA world has exploded with new books and new authors. Do you realize how many more books are on the shelves now then this time three years ago? A LOT! I honestly can't even think about it very much or it freaks me out. Anyway, and so it seems, the same can be said for book bloggers. If a teen wants to start a book blog, I say go for it. But don't do it because of the free books, don't do it because you want to be one of the "cool kids," and don't do it if you don't have the time to put time and effort into your blog. Do it because you LOVE books and want to share that love and help get good books into the hands of readers.
2) I think a lot of bloggers wonder how some of the other bloggers have become so popular. Well, guess what. No surprise here. The same reason an author's books become popular. They work hard at content! They spend time working on their craft!!
3) Authors and book bloggers alike need to remember the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When I approach bloggers about reviewing one of my books, I do it in a kind, respectful way. And I try to approach people I've gotten to know a little bit, by visiting their blogs. Then, if they don't want to, or can't because they're booked, I hope they'll be honest and tell me so. I'd much rather have you tell me the book doesn't interest you then get a book you never planned to read or review.
Turning it around, if a blogger *really* wants to read and review one of my books before it comes out, and they don't know how to get in touch with the marketing folks, I have no problem with a kind, respectful e-mail asking me for a review copy and giving me a link to their blog. I usually don't have ARCs myself, so I have to forward to my publicist. Am I selective about which requests I forward on? Yes, I am, as I think I should be.
Having said all that, I do want to make one thing perfectly clear ---
I ♥ book bloggers!
My first book, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME had a lot of excitement around its release, and a lot of that was fueled because of bloggers. They liked the cover. They liked the premise. They were excited about it! The second book, FAR FROM YOU, was a much quieter book. It didn't have the exciting hook. And now, a year after the first one's release, there were many more big and exciting books to compete with. But thankfully, there were some book bloggers who took the time to read it and wrote reviews, who helped me with contests, etc., even when it wasn't one of the "big" books people were talking about.
So thank you, book bloggers. You hard work DOES make a difference for a book. And I just wanted you to know I appreciate your time and efforts!
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a reviewer of books?
Sure! My name's Chelsea and I'm a raging bookaholic. This kind of answers both questions – two birds one stone, right? (Which is actually something I'd never use in regular context, considering I’m an animal-loving hippy vegetarian. Poor birds.) So, I took my bookaholism and decided to turn it into something good. A type of support group, if you will, where I can share my opinion on books with people who actually care to hear it, UNLIKE my family and friends. *cough*
2. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a reviewer?
I love, love, love connecting with other readers, authors, and publicists. I was my own solitary book lover until now. No one really got my love of books – and now, I know a huge group of people who are just as crazy about them as me! It’s been great. My least favorite? Hmm. Tough. I love so much of it! I guess it’d be the stress. I try not to let it get to me, but I have so many books to read! And so little time! I always feel bad when a review book has been sitting on my shelf for too long.
3. What's your process of writing a review? How do you handle it if you have more things you don't like than you like?
Hmm. I don’t really have a process. I just try and give a bit of the summary – to let readers know what the book’s about and if they’d be interested. Then I give my opinion. I try to do it in a laid-back, casual way; it’s much more fun for me to make it more of a discussion than just a review, and I hope my blog readers see it the same way! I handle the dislike/like gently. I can (almost!) always find at least one thing I like in a book – after all, agents and publishers, etc, put their money into each published because they believed in it that much. I always tell my real opinion, though.
4. Have you ever had an author write to you, upset about a review?
Not really. I’ve had authors comment or slightly defend elements in their books that I’ve written negatively about, but nothing mean. I’ve had a few pushers, though - authors who continuously ask me when I’m going to review their book. It’s understandable, especially if they personally sent me their book, but it adds more pressure! I’ve got a lot of books to read.
5. I'm curious if you finish all the books you start. Do you comment on your blog about a book you don't finish?
I usually do – like I’ve said, there’s most always something I can find enjoyable in a book. I horribly disliked THE RIFLE by Gary Paulson; it was a full book basically detailing everything about a gun, but I kept chugging along. It had some depth to it in the very end, but boy was that book a pain to read!
6. How many books would you say you read, on average, per month? Where do the majority of these books come from?
Ack. That’s hard, because I fluctuate. I usually read at least one book a week, but there’ll be other weeks when I go through one a day. But with that pesky “life” thing, and my lurvely blog, my time is usually consumed. About half of the week is also sucked into the mindless, vapid stories of chattering chicas and idols of the country (AKA – television.) I wish I could live without sleep! (note from Lisa: Hey, me too!)
7. What's one interesting thing about you that not many people know?
I like to act, and I practice in front of a mirror when no one’s looking. Dorky much? I’m way too shy to pursue it, though!
8. If you were going to order a dozen cupcakes, what flavor would you get and who would you share them with?
I was reading WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson a bit ago (amazing book, btw), and in one section they were selling pomegranate cupcakes – they actually had pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top! I’ve never tried anything as rich or crazy as that, but I’ve been craving ‘em ever since! Can you crave something you’ve never tasted? Anyway, I guess it’d only be right to share them with Laurie. I wouldn’t mind. (note from Lisa: I agree - amazing!)
9. What book(s) are you especially looking forward to in the coming months?
The first one that pops into mind is Being Nikki by Meg Cabot. I loved Airhead by her, which is the first in it’s series – such a great idea, and delivered so well. But 2009 is a great year, so this answer is endless. (note from Lisa: Hear that Debs? A great year - I couldn't agree more!)
10. If someone wants to send you a book to review, how can he/she contact you?
I have all my contact info on my blog! Just head to my blog and check out the sidebar. Aside from email, I frequent Myspace and Facebook. Totally addicted!
Thanks Chelsea - your blog is great! And so are you!!
In the coming weeks and months, I'll be doing interviews with some of the fabulous book bloggers out there.
First up, my pal Vanessa. You may remember Vanessa who helped me with a vlog to celebrate the release of FAR FROM YOU.
1. First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a reviewer of YA books?
My name is Vanessa. I live in south Florida. I'm almost sixteen. I'm your average girl (except for my addiction to books), I hang out with friends, listen to music, and aspire to do great in school. I started reviewing for myself. For about nine months the blog was unknown. Then I started another blog (http://whatvanessareads.wordpress.com ) and started making contacts with other (awesome) book reviewers which led me to exposure and the courage to contact authors like you!
Note from Lisa: I'm so glad you did!
2. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a reviewer? My favorite parts include getting my opinion out there, making friends that have the same interest in reading, and meeting super cool authors like you, for example. The free review copies don't hurt. I dislike sitting down and typing up a review, making it flow and sound like a story, especially if I have a lot to say. I think that's why I do VLOGs (http://youtube.com/vanessathebutterfly) or podcasts.
Note from Lisa: I'm super cool? Wow, thanks!
3. What's your process of writing a review? How do you handle it if you have more things you don't like than you like? I normally sit down on my bed and write bullet points of what I liked and didn't like on paper. After I finish writing everything, I look over the amount of good things and bad things and decide on a grade or rating. When there's more things I don't like I do write about them. However, if around 70% of the review is negative I normally don't review the book. (If you really think about it, I won't finish a book that's that bad, so I barely do these bashing reviews.)
4. Have you ever had an author write to you, upset about a review? Thankfully I haven't. I think this is so because overall in my reviews I don't say I just despised the book.... I explain my reasoning. To me every book has at least one miniscule flaw... I have yet to read a perfect book.
Note from Lisa: No perfect book? Okay everyone, hurry and try write that. Vanessa is waiting!
5. I'm curious if you finish all the books you start. Do you comment on your blog about a book that you don't finish? Not most of the time. I don't really like telling people they shouldn't read a book just because I disliked it... who knows? Maybe they'll love it. I normally tweet (http://twitter.com/vanessacaterina) about not liking a book as I'm reading it.
Note from Lisa: I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one left in the world who doesn't tweet.
6. How many books would you say you read, on average, per month? Where do the majority of those books come from? Per month it's usually around 5 (in the summer it's more, obviously!). Sadly lately I haven't read that much. Most of my books come from contests, review copies, and about every six months my mom takes me to the local book store to buy about 15 books (yeah, I know, she's awesome like that), and sometimes I do pitch in my own money. That's enough for me to survive, haha.
7. What's one interesting thing about you that not many people know? I've been wanting to start a collab channel on Youtube like fiveawesomegirls or vlogbrothers to get to know other book lovers better for a really long time! This all however, came into place when Sarah from Sarah's Random Musings contacted me about starting one. We started today (March 9th)! We talk about our lives, books, and other random things. We'd love it if you checked us out and subscribed at http://youtube.com/user/Sevenbookbabes . There's many book bloggers taking part in this. :)
Note from Lisa: How exciting!
8. If you were going to order a dozen cupcakes, what flavor would you get and who would you share them with? Vanilla. Yes, just plain old vanilla. I'm classic like that... haha. I would share them with my mom, dad, stepmom, 12-year-old brother Robert, 22-month-old brother Junior, my friends who always put up with me: Danny, Hayley, Pablo, Connor, Ryan, Paul, and Fatima. <3
9. What books are you especially looking forward to in the coming months? Willow by Julia Hoban, Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, You've Got Blackmail by Rachel Wright, One Lonely Degree by C.K Kelley Martin, Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott... among others.
10. If someone wants to send you a book to review, how can he/she contact you? I'd love to review your book! You can contact me through e-mail at whatvanessareads (at) gmail.com. I normally reply within a day or less.
I enjoyed thinking up answers for this interview since the questions weren't easy and typical. Thanks so much Lisa!
- Current Mood: thankful