Before I get to the interview I would like to update those of you who read my post about my Amazon Kindle Countdown sale currently in progress. I wrote on Monday that since the sale is occurring on the US site I couldn’t see the sale price since I live in the UK and I was unsure if the sale price had actually gone into effect. It has! And this morning Marionette was ranked 13th for best lesbian romance and 21st for best lesbian fiction. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me spread the word about the sale. It ends on March 8th.
Now that the housekeeping stuff is done, let’s get to the good stuff. Today I’m continuing with my interview series with book reviewers. Indie authors know that reviews are vital for a novel’s success. Jonel Boyko is joining us to tell us a little about herself and how she approaches book reviews. She’s an active reviewer and has over 600 reviews on Goodreads. Also her blog Pure Jonel is a wonderful resource. Please hop on over and check it out. And now here’s my guest:
Q~Please tell us a little about yourself
I live in a mid-sized town about an hour and a half outside of Toronto. When I’m not relaxing on the couch reading (with the help of my two dogs and my cat) I can generally be found at the barn spending time with my horse.
Q~When did you start your blog Pure Jonel?
I started my blog in December of 2012.
Q~What prompted you to become a book reviewer?
Honestly? It was my sister. I was telling her about a book that ‘she just had to read’ (apparently the fourth must read that week) and she suggested that I put it in writing.
Q~You have an eloquent page on your blog about your thoughts on reviewing. Can you tell us the highlights? (Please click on the link above to read the whole piece.)
I think that the key aspect to writing a review is the whys. As a reader you either like or dislike something, but telling people why that adds substance to your review. Simply summarizing a book isn’t a review, it’s a synopsis and the author provides that when posting their book for sale. Also, keep in mind that if you’re simply writing reviews to get free books you’re not doing anyone any favors. Authors sending you copies of their work is an added bonus not a right.
Q~How many requests do you receive on average per week? How many books do you read per week?
I receive anywhere from half a dozen to 20+ review requests a week, but won’t necessarily accept them all. I’m not doing myself or the author any favors accepting a book that doesn’t spark my interest. I tend to average about a book a day while reading, but this depends on the type and length of book I pick up at the time and of course, life does play a big factor as well.
Q~What are you looking for when an author requests a review?
A blurb about the book is key. I can’t tell if it interests me if you don’t tell me what it’s about. Also, a ballpark timeline for a review. I have a section on my blog that states my current expected turn around for reviews, so take a peek and see if that works for you.
Q~What mistakes do authors commonly make that irk you when they are submitting a request? Any pet peeves?
One time an author emailed me for a review and spelled my name wrong in the email. That still bugs me to this day and is the kind of thing that will really turn me off. My theory is that if an email is that poorly written and with such disregard then I’m leery to see the editing in the novel itself. I don’t think I made it far enough into that email to even see what the author’s work was about.
I’ve also had a rash of authors lately who have emailed me a copy of their work with an email that boils down to ‘review this’. Considering that I’ve never had any contact with these authors before, the assumption that I will drop everything to read their work makes me giggle. Please be polite when requesting a review from anyone. Assuming that I will review your book is worlds away from asking me to. Personally, if I’m at a point where I have a large list of books to review I’m more likely to review those coming with a polite email request than ones with a demand.
In general, however, I find that if authors are going to make a mistake with their review request it will be 1 of 2 things. The first is lack of information. Without a blurb and review deadline I don’t really know what you’re asking for. The other is an unrealistic review deadline. Keeping in mind that reviewers aren’t paid and probably have jobs, families, etc as well as other books on their list the number of new authors asking for a review in a week astounds me.
Q~Do you have a favorite genre? One that you hate?
I fully admit that I’m a sucker for cowboys and Alpha male types. Give me a book with one of them and I’m golden. That said, I do like to read pretty much anything fictional, unless it’s slasher-esque. I don’t do gory, bloody, Saw type work.
Q~What advice would you give to authors seeking reviews?
Ask, don’t assume. But ask, ask, ask. And take a look into the reviewers past reviews before requesting to find reviewers who read the genre you write. You’ll get more favorable reviews that way.
Thanks Jonel for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts. I would like to thank you for your dedication to books and your support of authors.
Where to find Jonel: