Sunday, May 1, 2011

Authors "Take On" reviews May 1st Kate Douglas


Note: The event will end on the 8th not the 7th.

This event is open to reviewers and readers. 

 I didn't have enough room to list all the giveaways for the Author "Take On" Reviews event on each authors post, so you have to Click here for all the details and list of giveaways   You'll have to leave a comment on the Author "Take On" reviews post to get a chance to win. Sorry, I felt this was the best way to handle the giveaways.  Make sure to leave your email with you comment or question, if you want a chance to win. 


First up author Kate Douglas! 



Is there something specific you look for in a review? If so what?
When I read reviews for other authors’ books, I look for a tight, well-written synopsis that tells me what the story is about and gives me a feel for the author’s voice. I pay more attention to that than to the opinion part of a review, because reviews can be so subjective, and the reviewer’s opinion might not represent my reaction to the same story.
A good example would be some of the reader reviews that showed up for my first Wolf Tales book on Amazon. It was so “over the top” sexy, that I think it shocked a lot of readers who got more than they expected, so they wrote a lot of one star reviews where readers complained about all the graphic sex. Rather than hurt sales, Wolf Tales sold out and went into reprints the month it released. Obviously, a lot of readers wanted that explicit sex.


 If you send your books to a book review blog, is there something specific you look for when you’re looking at their blog?

Easy to read, for one thing. I can’t read a black background with white writing—it hurts my eyes, and I’d never send a book to one set up in a manner that’s difficult to read. I like a site that’s not too busy, that’s easy to negotiate. I spend twelve or more hours a day on my computer writing—I don’t have time to have to search for something on a website or blog.
The ability to write a good review is important. You wouldn’t believe how many reviews I get that are so poorly written I can’t even pull a quote from them. I would never use a poorly written review to promote my books, and there’s nothing more infuriating than a grammatically incorrect review that trashes my book. My reaction is generally along the lines of, “This reviewer can’t even write a proper sentence and she’s saying my books suck? I don’t think so...”


 What type of review do you like best: short or long?
 I prefer a shorter review with a tight synopsis of the story.

What do you think about spoilers in reviews?
Intentional spoilers in reviews are inexcusable. I have asked more than one reviewer to remove spoilers, and generally reviewers have been terrific about it. I don’t think it’s done maliciously—it’s just that what seems like an important spoiler to the author may not be as important to the reviewer. However, I was really pleased at  how few reviews gave away the death of a character in Wolf Tales 10. I had let my readers know I was killing off a packmate and gave them the option of finding out who it was in advance of the book’s release or not. A lot of readers wanted to know so they wouldn’t get a nasty surprise, but others were just the opposite. Only one review that I can think of had a spoiler before the book released, and the reviewer removed the character’s name at my request.

Now let’s talk about rating systems. On a scale of 1-5 stars, what would be your opinion of the ratings? Starting with the lowest at one first.
1. Wall-banger. Not worth the trip to the store to buy the book.
2. Issues that interfere with the story—read it only if you’ve got a lot of free time.
3. Okay but not great. An acceptable read that could have been better.
4. A good book. Well-written and definitely one you’ll enjoy.
5. Gets a place on the keeper shelf. Good enough to keep you thinking about the story, the characters and probably wanting to reread it immediately—and wondering when the author’s next book is coming.

What do you think about sexual ratings?  Some reviewers use them.
I like them—especially with books like my Wolf Tales, which are so sexy that some readers really do find them offensive. I like the fact the back of each book has a warning: This is a really hot book. (Sexually explicit) When someone reads one and complains about the sex, I can merely remind them that they were warned! Romantic Times book reviews has a good sexual rating system: Scorcher, Hot, Mild, etc.
It’s important to define your ratings, since every reader sees the sex in books differently.  

What do reviewers do that irks you the most?
·         Reviewing books without reading them, something that’s obvious in their lack of understanding of the story. Happens more often than you realize.
·         Not proof-reading their reviews—especially frustrating if it’s a good review, because as an author, you want to promote the book with positive reviews, but personally there’s no way I’d send anyone to a site with a great review of my book that’s full of mistakes.
·         Spoilers
·         Selling ARCs (advance reader copies) on eBay or uploading electronic files to pirate sites—and yes, it does happen.

What do you think about awards given to books by a review blogger?
If the blog site owner chooses the awards, it’s great, but if they require readers to vote, then they’re just popularity contests where authors are expected to go out and beg for votes. I won’t vote for a book I haven’t read and I won’t ask for votes from people who haven’t read my books, so I tend to ignore award contests held at review sites. To be honest, my schedule is so busy I just don’t have time worry about things like that. But yes, if it’s something done entirely by the blogger or their reviewers, then it’s very cool.

As readers/reviewers we love book giveaways. How do you feel about them?
I love to give away books. I get a lot of author copies from my publisher for just that purpose, and I buy more on my own to give as prizes. The more of my books that are in the hands of Internet savvy readers, the more chance that they’ll be mentioned on-line or recommended on GoodReads or other sites. I want readers to have my books in their hands—I’m confident enough in my ability to tell a good story, that I figure those readers will keep coming back for more.
I give away books on my newsletter each month and whenever I blog—you should see my postage bill, especially since I will send anywhere in the world. I also give away stuffed animals—I had plush wolves for Wolf Tales and now I’ve got adorable little dogs that look like Bumper, my pit bull/poodle cross from the DemonSlayers series.

What would be your best piece of advice for a book blogger/reviewer?
Avoid snark. Even if it’s a really bad book, think of the author’s feelings when you’re writing the review. There are some reviewers out there who seem to take such great glee in tearing a book to shreds that it moves beyond the book and becomes a personal attack against the author. That’s not professional. It’s perfectly acceptable to not like a book—we all have different tastes and requirements in what we want to read—but a review can be negative without being nasty.
And I can’t emphasize this enough:  proof read. Look for errors in your own writing before you take it upon yourself to critique someone else’s work.

Is there anything else you like to add?
Actually, there is. I’ve gotten some terribly negative reviews over the years, and I really do treasure the ones where the reviewer carefully pointed out the weaknesses in a particular book—things I’d totally missed in the writing process. I don’t think there’s an author out there who doesn’t take a well-written yet negative review and dissect it in order to see where they can improve on the next book, so if you don’t like a book, don’t hesitate to give a good, honest review and say you don’t like it. But, be prepared to back up your claim with solid reasons.
Some of my beta readers are reviewers (they no longer review my books) who pointed out things I could have done better. I value their input so much that I now have them reading for me BEFORE the book goes to my editor! A good, critical reader is hard to find!



Kate Douglas
twitter: @wolftales

Kate is giving away Copy of StarFire or one of the newer or later Wolf Tales or Sexy Beast books. Leave comment or question with your email please.

Todays swag giveaway from me to one lucky random commenter is Monica Burns bookmark and autographed plate.


I normally don't ask, but if you enjoyed this interview and think other bloggers would enjoy enjoy this event please hit the twitter button, so we can share this with others. Thanks Laurie

34 comments:

  1. A great, insightful interview! This is really informational for those of us just beginning to review books. Thanks!

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  2. I can honestly say that I was one of those early readers who got more than I bargained for when starting the Wolf Tales series, but once I did start reading the stories themselves hooked me and before I knew it had read books 1-6 as they came out.... Now looking back you allowed me to explore the erotic romance genre mixed with my favorite paranormal characters wolf shifters and for that I thank you Ms. Douglas!

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  3. Wonderful points, Kate. Like you, I don't mind a negative review that is honest, but when it becomes a personal attack on the author, I have a tendency not to bother with another review from that person.

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  4. good morning--I've checked with Laurie as I do want to give away a book with this blog, so hopefully we can get that changed. Thanks, Mandy. I thought it was a great idea to do a blog on what authors think of reviews--it was a good chance to give my side of the process!

    That's good to hear, Jackie, and you're not the first to say that. I know of a lot of authors who were first a bit put off by the graphic sex until they realized how much a part of the story line it is. I'm really pleased to have seen so many readers who have followed my Chanku through the entire series--21 books if you count all the Sexy Beast novellas, that are very much a part of the series.

    Hi Anitra! I really believe that--some negative reviews have pointed out weaknesses that I've tried hard to correct in future stories. Sometimes, from the author's point of view, something that a reader feels is important isn't properly addressed. I need feedback to know that sort of thing.

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  5. Kate,

    Thank you Kate for your honesty.

    I really like the rating system you described. For me, it gives more meaning to the book and the system itself.

    I'm beginning to take notes on how to improve my reviews. I like giving a short synopsis also, but just enough to hook a reader. I like to include a line or three that jump out and grab me. Never a spoiler unless it's absolutely, positively necessary. And then it's only to explain usually why I didn't like a book.

    Laurie,

    Off to a great start!

    Cynthia

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  6. I also loved the rating system you described, but I also like your comment on the awards. I have never felt it far to vote for an authors book on a site.Like you said it is a popularity contest that way.

    One thing I have learned is to cool off before I write a review on a book I didn't like or even hated. I can always think about it a few days and pull out some good points in the book before writing my review.

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  7. Laurie- what a fantastic series! I think it is nice to hear what authors like in reviews. I think it helps give some guidance to those who look for ways to improve their content.

    Kate- thanks for giving you POV and thoughts. They are good things to know and I loved that wall-banger rating. I am not that clever with 1's they are pretty much skip it LOL

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  8. Great post :) I am SO bad at proof reading, trust me I suck. I have tried lately, but I am sure mistakes slip through (and I can always blame that on Eng not being my first lang ;)

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  9. Kate, thank you for your great post. I found it quite interesting and informative. As a reader, I have read many reviews written in varying styles with lots of rating systems. It was refreshing to learn your thoughts on the reviewing process and I look forward to reading my next review in a different light. I also find it just horrible that someone would even consider writing a review on a book they have not read.

    rjofus AT gmail DOT com

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  10. Thanks, Artemis! I think the synopsis helps the author as much if not more than the actual review, since most serious readers understand that reading can be a fairly subjective thing.

    Laurie,awards that are popularity contests are really meaningless, IMHO. I know I never ask for votes because it just feels wrong.

    Felicia, I hate reading a wall-banger, because I always have to finish a book, even when it's bad. Then I'm angry for wasting my time!

    Blodevedd,I'm awful at proofing, too. In fact, there's a mistake in my post that makes me nuts! In the comment about contests, I left out a word in this sentence: "To be honest, my schedule is so busy I just don’t have time worry about things like that."

    ChrisS,it's pretty obvious sometimes that the reviewer hasn't got a clue what the book is about, especially if they take the entire review from the backcover blurb!

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  11. Thank you for the author's POV on reviews - very informative and insightful.

    I read reviews to find out what happens in the story and the characters - it's hard for me to enjoy fully a book in which I don't like the characters. Still, since my last DNF book was "Madame Bovary" in high school, I'm fairly easy-going literature-wise.

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  12. This was a great idea for a blog post/article. Reviews are subjective, but if a reviewer states a clear reason for their opinion, reveiws can be helpful. I also don't vote for books I haven't read. That doesn't seem fair to me. Awards should always be about an author's work...not who the author knows.

    Thanks for the giveaway! (Giveaways are always cool!!!) =D

    ReneeRearden(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. I have just started writing reviews of the books I read. Writing a good, solid review is really hard to do. I have not yet attempted to do a story synopsis because my first few tries just weren't any good. I know I will get better as time goes on so I will keep on working on it. Thank you for the interview. It's great to find out what authors are looking for in a review. I love you rating system. A wall-banger! Great name for it, actually. Thanks for the giveaway.
    jepebATverizonDOTnet

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  14. Shirley R. (s.roelens@hotmail.com)May 1, 2011, 5:35:00 PM

    Thank you Kate for many enjoyable hours of reading. I love the Wolf Tales series and am sad that it is ending. But, am looking forward to all the new series you no doubt will come up with.

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  15. I enjoyed the interview and I really liked the advice for negative reviews. It is only fair if someone is going to do a negative review to back it up with reasons why they feel that way.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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  16. Great interview, Kate. It's nice to hear about reviews from the author's perspective. Love the rating system, too. And I definitely agree with having the rating on the book, especially when someone chews up a book for being "too sex-filled" or "offensive." That's why they put things on the covers, isn't it? Keep up all your awesome writing!

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  17. Hey Kate,

    I loved this interview. I try and do a lot of the things you mentioned.

    as a reviewer of some of your books, I hope that my reviews are ok. I try hard to make sure they are well written and make sense.

    I agree, I can't stand someone that reviews a book that they have never even read or if they put the wrong names or facts in the books.

    I love your books and can't wait till the new series releases.

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  18. Great post. I really liked seeing an authors view on reviews. Thanks for sharing!!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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  19. I agree with many things said here. Thanks for the sound advice. Never read any of your books, but would love to.

    JIM

    urbanfantasybookclub@gmail.com

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  20. this is an awesome idea to help the blogging community! I am a recent addition to the blogging world and trying to find my way. So thanks!

    Funny thing about how you pick up your betas. I beta for 5 authors (love doing this) and 3 of them sought me out because of my review of their work. Best compliment ever

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  21. As a reader I have found several good series I had not heard of before by seeing a well written review. It is fascinating to get an author's eye view of reviews as they can have a bigger influence on book buying with me than just reading the back cover blurb. I have not read a Wolf Tales book before but I definately will now !
    irgl7(at)bonzo15(dot)plus(dot)com

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  22. My apologies--I just wrote a long reply and blogger ate the entire thing. I'm sorry, but I don't have time right now to reply again...sometimes blogger makes me nuts! Thank you all for your comments, and I did want to tell Irene that if you decide to read the Wolf Tales series, I always suggest you start with the first book and read them in order, as they're written like a soap opera for grownups.
    Wolf Tales
    Sexy Beast—Chanku Rising
    Wolf Tales II
    Wild Nights—Camille’s Dawn
    Wolf Tales III
    Sexy Beast II—Chanku Fallen
    Wolf Tales IV
    Sexy Beast III—Chanku Journey
    Wolf Tales V
    Sexy Beast IV—Chanku Destiny
    Wolf Tales VI
    Sexy Beast V—Chanku Wild
    Wolf Tales VII
    Sexy Beast VI--Chanku Honor
    Wolf Tales VIII
    Sexy Beast VII--Chanku Challenge
    Wolf Tales 9
    Sexy Beast VIII--Chanku Spirit
    Wolf Tales 10
    Wolf Tales 11
    Wolf Tales 12 (July 2011)

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  23. Hello Kate! I'm a fan of your Wolf Tales series. It really is nice to see how authors view reviews and review styles. I'm going to take your comments on heat levels/ratings to heart. I don't often comment on the heat level of a book, though I do note somewhere in the review (usually in the "Type" or "Recommendation" sections) that the book is for those with steamier tastes.

    And I like your comments about snark. I've had my weak moments in the past - snark creeping into my reviews - but it seems it happens more often in reviews of books I loved or really enjoyed, especially if the author's writing shares that type of humor.

    I currently have "Starfire" sitting at home waiting to be read - I hope to get to it soon!
    Happy Reading! (Or Writing)
    Amanda
    ohmorningglow AT aol DOT com

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  24. Thanks, Amanda. I just don't care for snark that's aimed at someone personally. Then it's just hurtful, and I would never want to hurt or embarrass anyone.

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  25. Awesome interview Kate and Laurie, great Q's & A's, and really informative.
    I agree on the proof-reading, though I myself do miss things here and there even after going over it several times. =)

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  26. Laurie I absolutely LOVE this idea. Like a previous person mentioned I will be taking notes. Thank you Kate for taking time to do this. Very helpful information is being dished out here.

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  27. Unfortunately I've never read any of Ms Douglas's work though I have heard of it. It was under the title "The Naughty Corner" in a book club newsletter that I receive. I must say that the "naughty" label piqued my interest!

    Great interview!

    rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com

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  28. Thanks, Crystal.Must admit that I really enjoyed Laurie's questions.

    thejeepdiva (I LOVE that!) So glad to think I might have helped. Thanks!

    Ah, meggerfly...mine definitely belong in The Naughty Corner! I've been really lucky that Rhapsody and Doubleday have selected all twelve of my Wolf Tales novels for the book clubs.

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  29. Wow this was an interesting post, thanks Kate for this. Gives a new light on reviewers and how they sometimes get it right and other times not.

    I usually don't look at reviews when buying a book, sometimes its the cover or the title of the book and as I usually go for my favourite authors and if they should recommend a new author that I've not read, then I go to the author's home page and get a sense of what readers are saying.

    Really have to thank you once again for your wonderful books, and I'm sorry to hear the Wolf series is coming to an end *sigh* but I do look forward to more storytelling from you *lol*

    Hugs,
    Rita

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  30. Very interesting post. It is nice to see an authors thoughts on reviews. I for one like to see reviews before starting a series...however I rarely completely agree with them. But that if everyone agreed all the time the world would be a very boring place.

    mmafsmith(at)gmail(dot).com

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  31. Great post. I never really though about sexual ratings that much. To me if its adult and there's romance I expect atleast a little and I'm usually okay with whatever but I get how that can offend people. I also don't like when a review just talks about how shocked they were with all the sex though, because you can usually tell if there's going to be some (for example Backstage Pass by Olvia Cunning, which is great by the way, has some reviews, atleast on Amazon where basically the reviewer just said that there was sex, it was appaling, yadda yadda, but really, the book is erotica and the cover has a chick in her underwear and a half naked guy on it, what do you expect?). Your books sound great and thanks for the giveaway.

    jessicamariesutton(at)msn(dot)com

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  32. Kate, via our conversation on FB, I am now in search of your Wolf Tales. Not sure if B&N has them all. Hubby will cringe, but he will probably end up helping me find them all.

    Stay safe!

    Stacy Wilson
    dragn_lady@yahoo.com

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  33. Thanks for the intro to a new author :-)

    Ktalley28@ gmail.com

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  34. A late response to some of you, but thank you all for stopping by. And Stacy, I think I already told you that I get LOTS of thank you notes from husbands because their wives are reading my books! LOL...always makes my day to get email like that.

    Keisha, I have to say I LOVE your name. My main heroine in the Wolf Tales series is named Keisha, and I always love writing her parts in the stories.

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