This is a series where I “turn the tables”, focus on the people who read our books (God bless them, one and all) and ask the reviewers what does it for them, and why. Writers – you do not want to miss this …
Sharon, when did you first get into blog-reviewing?
I had been reviewing on the quiet for a while on Amazon but was too shy to share my reviews! I then joined The Book Club on Facebook and started sharing reviews on Goodreads. I had set up my own blog in 2014 but didn’t dream of putting anything on it never mind sharing it with the outside world! As I began to connect with more authors and followed other bloggers I eventually plucked up the courage in early 2015 to put it out there for public viewing! This was quickly followed by my Facebook blog page and linking my blog to Twitter! Compared to others though, I’m still a baby blogger and learning more every day!
What’s the best thing about blog-reviewing?
Ohhh dahling the fame and fortune obviously! Hehe! (Just kidding!) The best thing(s) for me about blog reviewing are: the absolute buzz I get from sharing a review and hearing that someone else is going to read the book because they enjoyed my review; the hyperventilating, fangirling moments when an author contacts me to thank me for my review and shares it on social media; being able to give something back to authors for the hours (and I mean HOURS) of enjoyment they give me by writing their books and the fact that it has opened up a whole world of people just like me – I have made so many new friends through doing this, both online and in person and the support of other folk who have the same passion for books and reading is outstanding! It’s a whole new world….oh is that a song!
Give a shout out to a blog-reviewer who deserves a bigger readership …
Argghhh how can I possibly just pick one! That’s so unfair Michael – there are so many brilliant book bloggers out there – but if you are going to pin me down then I’ll go for my #Twinnie aka CrimeBookJunkie– she is awesome! She has really supported me in my blogging and we are so alike in so many ways #EEEEEEEEKKKK We have been described as #ThelmaAndLouiseOnAcid
EBook or print? What are your views on the pricing of each?
It makes my blood boil when I hear people complain about the price of books – whether EBooks or Print – seriously authors put their heart and souls and months of work into their books and that should be rewarded appropriately! How would they feel if they were rewarded pennies for months of hard work; folk happily pay over £5 for a cup of crap coffee and stale cake yet will balk at paying over 99p for an eBook or over £3 for a print copy! Grrr!
How important is the cover? Give a shout out to the cover that has done it for you recently.
Yes the cover is important – it is often the first thing that a reader and may be the hook that pulls them in! I love a cover that hints at what is inside, one which makes me think and one that gives me a hint of what lies beneath. In saying that though, I have read books whose covers I have really disliked and loved the book so as the old saying goes it’s important not to judge every book by its cover! One that done it for me recently (well obviously apart from all of yours Michael and that goes without saying!!) I loved the cover of Open Wounds by Douglas Skelton – for me it just screamed the underworld of Glasgow streets and portrayed the menace that lay in wait for me when I opened the book.
What draws you to an author that was previously unknown to you? (The blurb, the cover, the first page, word of mouth, or something else?)
I don’t think there is any one thing that draws me, it’s definitely a mix of things – reviews from like-minded bloggers and reviewers is important, you get to know the folk that have the same taste as you and take heed of their recommendations; I like to check out the authors profile (no I’m not a stalker, honestly!!!!) on social media and their websites – if I am drawn to them and what they have to say then that acts as a hook for me; the blurb of a book along with the cover also attracts my eye – but there needs to be substance behind it all for me to draw me in!
The first page has drawn you in … what keeps you there till The End?
The pace, the characters and the place; if the author can connect with me on a personal level through the characters and place then I’m hooked – if I can hear the characters, feel myself in the midst of the plot and care about what is going to happen then you have me right there! I love being able to visualise the plot, the characters and the location and this is even better when it’s somewhere real, somewhere I know….which I guess is why crime fiction set in Glasgow holds such a massive appeal to me – I was born in the East End of Glasgow and know most of the areas of the city so I can easily see the book play out in my mind as I read – do that with characters I care about and want to invest my time in then you have got me there until the very end!
Do you finish every book you start?
Mostly yes, as I tend to choose books I get a sense I am going to enjoy; I hate giving up on a book but if I get a 3rd of the way through and it is doing nothing for me and it begins to feel like a chore to read it then I give up – but that fills me with the fear because I always have a massive guilt complex for doing this – I hate the book to feel as though I’m abandoning it – hehe am I beginning to sound a little too obsessed ;-))
Any trends in publishing that put you off/ you are happy to see continue?
I LOVE the continued growth of Scottish crime fiction – we have so much material and talent up here I am so behind this continuing to grow and grow! I HATED all the “50 Shades” books that are taking up precious space on the shelves of bookshops – take them away and fill the shelves with Scottish Crime fiction instead please! Hopefully the fad is passing – although to be fair anything that encourages others to read is a good thing and our choice of genre is always personal to the individual so I’m not judging!
Any plans to totally turn the tables and write a book of your own?
Oh that is my dream but doubt I’d ever be able to do so – my next best thing would be to have my own independent bookshop – I even have the name for it, know what it looks like inside…just need my lottery win!
You can connect with Sharon and read about her work here …
Chapterinmylife blog: https://chapterinmylife.wordpress.com/
Thanks for the shout-out #Twinnie! Great post and fab idea Michael (aka my bestie!)
Nae borra #Twinnie! Am feeling well chuffed – cheers Michael xx