Today I’m joined by Aimee Ann from redheadedbooklover.com and as part of my Inside the Publishing Industry Series, we talk about the process of reviewing novels.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Thank you for having me! I am a wife, a mother and a passionate reader and reviewer who is obsessed with all things books! I was born in England; however, I now live in America. When I lived in England, I met my husband who is American and ever since then I have followed him wherever he goes! My husband is in the Marines and sometimes we do have to move, so we have lived all over America and a few other places in the world. It can be hard adjusting to moving so much however along the way we have met so many incredible people, and my children have traveled so much which makes me a happy mom.
How did you get into book reviewing?
I have always loved reading and used to write reviews for all the books I read, and so one day I thought, why don’t I create a website and put them all on there! That is how the basis for my website started, and then I soon realised I could use it do some good and now I am so happy that it has got to the point where I can donate to military charities through it; which is something I am really passionate about.
What do you do when you’re not reviewing books?
In all honesty, I am always reading and reviewing while going about my normal day. I live a very busy life with four children, two of whom are twins, so I have to always make sure I am incorporating reading and reviewing into my every day. However when I am not specifically reading and reviewing I spend all of my time with my children, husband (when he is not deployed or working) and friends when I can, and this is what brings the most joy to my day. I am keen for my children to be out of the house as much as possible, so we love to go hiking depending on the weather, go on little day adventures and do as much as possible; especially when my husband is home as we miss him when he is gone so we make the most of it!
Do you review both traditional and independently published novels?
Yes! I think it is very important to read and review both traditional and independently published novels. Many independently published books are not given a chance because they are independently published, and that is such a shame to me. Some of the most incredible books are written by self-published authors, and in my opinion, I find them to be the most passionate. Self-published authors do not have it easy, they usually have to do everything themselves including financing every aspect of publishing which is extremely costly and then they have to market the book in question which is even harder! It is such a shame that they have it so tough but self-published novels hold a more prominent place in my heart as the authors are truly passionate and dedicated; which are qualities I love.
What’s your minimum standard for a book before you’ll review it?
Before I read a book or am hired to do so, I always read a preview and make sure that I, as well as my readers, will love the book. I will not accept a book review if I do not feel that I can award the book at least four or five stars and will not review it unless I believe I will love it. Many people ask me “well how do you know?” but I have read for so long now that I think I have a good eye and so it is very rare that I get it wrong. However, there have been cases where I read a book I have been hired to do so and feel that I can’t finish it. It rarely happens, but when it does, I do refund the author as I do not believe in posting negative reviews.
Why don’t you write negative reviews?
On my website I do not write negative reviews, I believe that a negative review, no matter how kindly worded it may be, can damage an author’s reputation, success, and future sales. I personally believe that it is not fair if a reader writes a review and tells a reader not to read the book, this is unfair in my opinion because a reader could read this and not read the book, however, they could have loved the book. Just because one reader does not like the book does not mean all readers won’t so that is why I believe in only posting positive reviews.
Have you ever got to a point in a book and thought you just cannot finish it?
Absolutely! It rarely happens however when it does I do not feel bad about it. Growing up I read a few books I was not enjoying but I was always determined to finish them no matter what, and one day I spoke to my father, and he said that there is nothing wrong with not being able to finish a book and that sometimes it does not work and that is ok. Every author has different writing styles, and if you do not mesh with that particular book/writing style, then that is perfectly ok.
Can you tell me why you charge for your review services?
When I first started my website I did so to share my love of books and recommend amazing books for fellow readers. What I did not know was that my website would grow very quickly and so would my costs. When I started my website I was naïve and thought that it would not cost much but when my visitors began to increase, I had to hire some incredible people to manage the technical/designing aspects (as I am useless at this!), as well as pay for hosting that, can handle my large amount of traffic.
That is why I eventually had to charge a fee for a review so that Red Headed Book Lover can exist. If I did not charge I would not have a website and I would not be able to provide an excellent service to authors and would not be able to share books with readers. It took me a long time to make the decision and although some authors dislike paid reviews, a service (which gets results), is being provided and it is only fair that the reviewer is paid for their hard work so that they can continue doing what they love and provide an excellent website for readers and authors.
What’s your connection to the military charities? It must have been difficult to choose.
My husband is a Marine and so I love to donate to military charities. My family has been touched by the military, and my husband family has been for decades. Before marrying my husband I did not know the full extent of military life however now that I do, I understand how tough it can be sometimes, and sadly many military families struggle financially as well as emotionally. That is why I choose the four charities listed on my website as they all provide incredible work in different ways. Some of them help financially, but others provide counselling and services to those that have served/are serving who have PTSD. PTSD affects all those that serve, some more than others but it is a real problem, and PTSD kills many people each day, and that is something I really wish would stop, so that is why I love to support charities with a strong focus on PTSD help.
I notice one of your charities supports the British Royal Marines. Can you tell me why you chose that charity?
I was born in England and growing up I always knew about The Royal Marines Charity as my family had been donating to them throughout my whole life. They provide incredible work and although I now live in America, I still wanted to give back to an incredible UK charity, and that is why I decided to donate to them also through my website and services.
Thank you Aimee for talking with me today. I wish you well with the continued success of redheadedbooklover.com. If you check out Aimee’s site you’ll find a rather nice review she wrote for In The End!
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