Reblog from RNA
Friday, January 20, 2017
BOOK BLOGGER & REVIEWER: ROSIE AMBER
Welcome to our latest blog series, Book Bloggers & Reviewers. Author, Ellie Holmes will be chatting each month to the wonderful industry bloggers who love to read books and do so much to promote our work. Welcome also to Rosie Amber the first in the series. Over to you Ellie.
I am delighted to welcome Rosie Amber to the RNA Blog. Nearly five years ago, Rosie decided touse her love of reading to help promote authors and their books through her blog. She is now in the top 1% of Goodreads reviewers and has been a runner up in Sacha Blacks’ Bloggers Bash awards for the last two years. Rosie says one of the best things about her blog is that it has allowed her to meet some lovely people.
Inspired by “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Rosie decided to undertake her own challenge of doing one good deed a day for a year. She enjoyed the challenge so much she decided to carry on and wrote about it on her blog. You can check it out by following the link at the bottom of this article.
Welcome Rosie. What made you start to review/blog?
I began blogging nearly five years ago, both my children had reached their teens and it was a way of legitimately entering the huge social media scene to keep up with them and more importantly an eye out without stalking them. I’ve always loved reading so writing reviews for the books I read was an easy step.
How has your blog developed over time?
At first my reviews were only one or two sentences. Clearly this wasn’t enough, I studied other book bloggers and soon took a pencil and paper with me when I read and made notes as the book progressed. I was rather shocked when I was first approached to review a book from a “real“person.
My first review copies were read on my computer screen, I didn’t even own a kindle. Next came the kindle, I found out how to upload mobi files. I made a point of learning my craft from the bottom up, researching and teaching myself. I had a friend show me the basics of Facebook and Twitter, I’d have a lesson from her and then she’d send me off to experiment. My first blog was on Tumbler but the platform didn’t work for me and I made the switch to WordPress.
To develop the blog I offered a book review and then an author promotional piece on the next day. I ran my own themed book tours – “Romancing September” was popular, I co-hosted with a blogger in the States giving a double opportunity for promotion each day of the tour. I also took part in the April A-Z challenge, it opened my blog to lots of bloggers from different walks of life.
Soon I had too many books to review of genres I wasn’t always keen on, I created a book reviewing challenge to reach out to get more people writing reviews and I made lots of new friends. On the back of that I created a book review team. We can now offer the possibility of multiple reviews of an author’s book all from one place.
What are your review guidelines?
I read books across a range of genres, both fiction and non-fiction.
I enjoy romance, paranormal, humour, murder mystery, mild thrillers, spiritual, a bit of fantasy, reading about other cultures and places all over the world and YA/NA books.
I don’t read blatant erotica, political or strong religious themed books, nor do I enjoy a book with a lot of violence. I’m afraid poetry isn’t my thing and I can only take a little sci-fi, please no short stories.
I prefer to accept books in paperback, I love their feel, but I’m also happy to work with Mobi files which I download to my Kindle.
Before I accept a book a few lines about it should be sent along with your details, plus a link to where I can find the book. The final decision to review the book, is mine. Upon acceptance I will provide a mailing/e-mail address.
Book review team guidelines:
The book review team gives you access to a wide range of reviews. I have reviewers from around the world who read and review books, posting reviews on several platforms.
Authors should decide how many copies of their book they could donate for a review. Accepted formats are e-formats; Mobi , e-pub, vouchers for Smashwords or Amazon, Gifted books from Amazon. I then post the book details on my team book list. They will request a book and I will then get you to send them the book direct in their chosen format.
Reviewers have been asked to post a review on a minimum of 2 sites such as their blog, Amazon or Goodreads, etc. Plus they are asked to send me a copy of the review which I will post on this blog.
If a reviewer has taken the time to read and review a book I shall post a copy of the review on my blog. We write as we see a book in our own personal reading experience. If you put a book out in the public domain, expecting only positive 5* reviews from all readers it is unrealistic, the top authors all get a range of star ratings.
Full details here
What do you expect from a writer when they appear on your blog?
The best type of author is one who supports my blog, I do this as a hobby and don’t earn anything from it, an author has the potential to earn money, so repaying mine and my team’s time in kindness is important, social media shares are my “bread and butter”. So this means following the blog posts and sharing them on their own social media, not necessarily every day but as a regular supporter would be lovely.
How important is social media to you and your blogging team?
Social media is huge for us. If we are posting a review of a book we’ll never post under a 3*. An author can get a lot of publicity if they act on the day, posts go out on my blog, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. As a group the review team are very supportive and most share these on their own social media. One of our favourite hangouts is Twitter and if authors pick up and share all the tweets they’ll get about their book then the message really gets out there. On Tuesdays we use #TuesdayBookBlog for book related blog post tweets and we get it trending nearly every week. Anyone can use it, here are our guidelines.
What are your interests when not blogging?
I live in Hampshire and I’m a farm secretary, I run bookwork and accounts for three farmers. I’m also keen to keep fit and try to walk most days for at least an hour, often longer.
Do you ever read a book purely for enjoyment and not with an intention to review?
I try, but most times, I’ll end up reviewing it too. One of my favourite authors is Louise L Hay, she writes non-fiction self-help books. I’m very interested in alternative health, past lives and the spirit world.
We often ask agents and publishers what they consider to be the next ‘big thing’ – what do you hope to see in 2017?
A million dollar question! I work with a lot of indies and self-published authors, rather than a next “big thing” guess I’d like to see Amazon iron out the removal of precious real reviews for good small time authors.
Thank you so much for inviting me today.
Ellie Holmes writes commercial women’s fiction with her heart in the town and her soul in thecountry. Ellie’s debut release was The Flower Seller. A member of the RNA and the Alliance of Independent Authors, Ellie’s latest book The Tregelian Hoard, set in Cornwall, is the first novella in her Jonquil Jones Mystery Series.
Thank you, Rosie and Ellie, for such an interesting blog.
If you would like to write for the RNA blog please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org