#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Gina of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

GinaRYes! It’s Thursday! And I’m so pleased and proud to bring you another #ThrowItForward Thursday. #WriterWednesday is for honoring fellow authors; #ThrowItForward Thursday shines the spotlight on those who help us authors in innumerable ways: book bloggers, editors, cover designers, etc. Because without y’all, we authors would be toast!

Today, we have Gina from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. I just love the fact that her blog combines two of my favorite things: books and food. Okay, so the books are the food on her delightful blog, but, well, you get the picture. Gina very kindly reviewed A Man of Characterbut believe you me, she’s got a lot more going on than that. So grab your favorite beverage, settle back, and get to know Gina a little bit more!

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What was the impetus behind starting Insatiable Readers? How long have you been a book blogger?

SFIR took root when I first started working at our local chain bookstore.  I had always had a love of reading and scoring that job, even if it was a 2nd to my full-time position, was a dream.  A fellow coworker and I were discussing a title and the conversation led into her current blog.  I was clueless…had heard the term but had no earthly idea what it was.  She kindly explained the basics and offered to help me set one up.  I agreed, but being impatient (our schedules were conflicting), I struck out on my own to discover the WORLD OF BLOGGING via BlogSpot and the rest is history!

What is your favorite genre to review? Any genres that really aren’t your cup of tea?

background made from opened booksFavorite genre is Fiction in general; more specifically Young Adult, Children’s, Contemporary, and Literary.  I can do some Sci-Fi on a limited basis and Romance as long as it stays the Contemporary line of things (not so much Johnny! Marsha!).  I’ve been known to dabble in Biographies, Memoirs, Pets, Christian Fiction…I’m sorry, it would have been MUCH easier if I answered the LATTER question first.

The two genres I do not dabble in are Sports and Erotica.  No jokes on that either….I can see them brewing in your mind.  😉 

[ML: *innocent face*]

Do you have a preference regarding accepting requests from traditionally published vs indie published authors? Do you notice a quality difference in the materials you receive from each (generally speaking)?

Personally, I don’t have a preference.  I know some readers are hardcore one or the other, but I’m equal opportunity in that area.  If a book sounds good, and captures my interest, I’m more than happy to take a trip through the pages.  Quality wise…honestly I’ve seen errors and opportunities in books I’ve received from both sources.  It can happen more frequently in smaller publishers (or to self-published authors) that don’t necessarily have the manpower or are splitting resources, but generally by the final product, it all turns out for the best. 

How many review requests do you receive a month, and how many are you able to accommodate?

Ooh…the million dollar question.  I really don’t know exactly on the numbers, though I try to tackle them as I see them.  As far as how many I can accommodate, it’s dependent upon the type of post (review, spotlight, teaser, giveaway, excerpt, etc)…and my scheduling.  I’ve been known to stretch myself a little thin from time to time.  *-*  What can I say?  So many GREAT books, so little time!  I’m trying to do better, but I won’t miss a deadline.  That I can promise.

What’s one thing you wish authors knew about approaching book bloggers? 

We’re people, not robots.  Tell us about yourself and the book.  If we’re not interested, please don’t take offense.  We do this on our own time because we love reading and the magic that books bring into our (collectively speaking) lives, not because we’re obligated to take on every one that comes our way.  Also, many bloggers have Review Policies on their sites.  Take a moment to read them before sending the pitch; it may save yourself some time (ergo my preference to NOT read Erotica…and receiving a request to review one *-*).  Oh and if you’re going to use a “form pitch” at least personalize the opening; getting a “Dear <insert name here>” (which I’ve actually received before)…or one that’s addressed to the wrong person (ditto on the comment) can be a little irksome. (Wait you asked for one thing…oops!)

What’s your biggest pet peeve in a story? Dialogue issues? Saggy plot? Unrealistic characters? Typos?

Biggest?  Typos and grammar issues.  It interrupts my train of thought when I’m reading if I have to go back and try to figure out what the author was trying to say over and over again.  Most other things I can work with…I realize that every work is the author’s “baby” so I try to give each one their time to shine.

Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years?

Me?  Well, I’d LOVE to be in Publishing…specifically the Editorial aspect of it all.  The idea of helping to bring new titles to the forefront and assisting in them reaching their full potential really makes my heart flutter.  The chances…I wouldn’t say nonexistent but they are slim simply geographically speaking.  As for my blog, I’d love to see it continue marching forward like a story you just can’t get enough of, with the readership expanding to spark some conversations in the blogosphere.  *daydreams*

[ML: The internet makes all sorts of things possible, you know! My editor lives in England, my cover designer/formatter in Australia. Don’t let geography limit you!]

What are one or two relatively undiscovered books you think people should pick up and read?

alicewonderOh man…one or two?  Eek!  I could probably fill a book with them to be honest.  Umm, let’s see…two, two, gotta pick two.  Alright, I’ll pick…but it doesn’t mean that the others in my head right now are any less on the totem pole of reading.

ONE:  Lot’s Mountain by N.R. Allen

TWO:  Alice Takes Back Wonderland by David D. Hammons

…both are YA fantasy picks that really left their mark in my mind, but I mean there are SO MANY MORE!

How much time do you devote to your reviews and blog each week?

I try to have a new post every day which may mean scheduling in advance (when possible…not always), but each review generally takes about two hours from start to finish.  So I guess that means at least 14 hours, not including reading?

Is there any type of story you have yet to read but would love to see?

You know, I’m not certain.  Every time I think I’ve read most types of stories, something new crops up and surprises me, like this Picture Book I read earlier today, Dewey Bob by Judy Schachner.  I thought it was going to be this story about a cute little raccoon who collects things but in actuality, it was SO MUCH MORE!  (Can’t tell you what, that would spoil the surprise for YOU!)  I leave the writing and creating to the authors…I’ll take ownership of the enjoyment factor.  ^-^

What’s the book blogging community like? Do you interact regularly with fellow bloggers, reads, and/or authors?

The book blogging community for the most part is the most welcoming I’ve seen in reality or virtually.  There’s always going to be a few that push people’s buttons the wrong way, but the majority are kindhearted, happy to answer a question, offer their words of wisdom for a problem you’ve encountered, or simply share a good conversation about what you’re reading now or perhaps should be reading. 

Interaction-wise, it’s more of a hit and miss.  There are a few bloggers that I regularly chat with (Tracey at Pen and Paper, Jess of Nayuleska’s Reading Corner, to name a few), other bloggers and authors I catch in passing.  Some over the years have fallen out of touch whether it be us missing each other time wise, losing interest in blogging, or perhaps their star of fame shot so high so fast that staying in touch wasn’t the easiest of things.  It’s all good though…the memories stay with you even no matter what.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I can be long-winded at times…like in this interview.  ^-^  As I’ve said before, I LOVE READING and sharing my experience through the pages is something that really touches my heart.  The more connections I make with authors, publishers, publicists, and readers, the merrier…and if something I’ve written speaks to you, feel free to leave a comment!  Each one is another ray of sunshine in my day.

Also….THANK YOU for the opportunity to visit and say my piece!  Though it may have been larger than anticipated, it was wonderful to share a bit of myself with you and your readers.  ^-^ – Gina

Want to connect further with Gina? Find her here! 

gmrSatisfaction for Insatiable Readershttp://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/GRgenius
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/GRgenius
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/insatiablereaders

Thank you so much for sharing your time and self with us today, Gina – I loved reading all about you and your experiences as a book blogger, and just have to say thank you again for all you do for authors.
You clearly invest your whole self into sharing your love of books with others, and it shows!

#ThrowItForward Thursday: Meet Donna McBroom-Theriot

DonnaMcBTWow, it’s Thursday – which means it’s #ThrowItForward Thursday. I love it! I love shining the spotlight on people who spend so much of their time putting authors center stage. It’s so fun to get to know book bloggers and contest runners and cover designers and … okay, you get the picture!

Today, I welcome Donna McBroom-Theriot. Donna graciously agreed to review A Man of Character over the summer, and delighted me with her very positive response to my book. But Donna doesn’t just review books – visit her site, My Life, One Story at a Time, to discover all the irons she’s got in the fire: book reviews, product reviews, recipes, organizational tips. You could spend hours discovering everything Ms. McBroom-Theriot has to offer, and not get bored.

Luckily for me, and for y’all, Donna took time away to answer a number of questions – so grab your hot chocolate and spend a few minutes peeking into the life of a book blogger. And please, leave some comment love below, if you would!

What made you decide to start a book blog?  My book blogging actually came about quite by accident. I was just started writing stories on my blog and was stumped for a topic. I had just completed a book and thought, why not review the book? There were a couple of book reviewers following my blog at the time and they messaged me, encouraging me to try my hand at book reviewing. They also sent a few sites and my book reviewing career was born.

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How long have you been blogging about books? 

I have been a book review blogger since 2009. 

How many review requests do you receive per month?

I receive approximately 200 requests a month for book reviews. 

[ML: I feel especially privileged that Ms. McBroom-Theriot chose my book, considering how many author seek her out monthly!]

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How many books do you review a month?

For a while in the beginning, I was obsessed with reading as many books as I could fit into my schedule. I have since realized I could not possibly keep up that ridiculous pace and slowed things down a bit. I regularly schedule three reviews a week. This allows time for other writing I enjoy doing – recipes, my “Lucy” adventures, book blasts, etc. 

How do you deal with reviewing a book that wasn’t quite your cup of tea?

I am fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose which books I review. It wasn’t always this way and I did read a few that I struggled to review. I never wanted to hurt someone’s feelings or turn down their requests for reviews. I quickly realized that this was not fair to the writer, to me, or to my followers who expect a truthful review. There have been a few books that I have not liked along the way and I am honest about them. As long as I am able to read most of the book, I do try to find something positive to say while still expressing my dislike or disappointment in the book. As I said earlier, I am now in a position to pick and choose my books and I rarely come across a book that I do not like. When I absolutely do not care for a book, I email the author or publicist and let them know that I do not like the book and will not be reviewing the book. I also refuse to spotlight a book unless I have read at least a chapter of the book and it is within the genres that I enjoy.

clotheslinebooksWhat’s your favorite thing about being a reviewer?

Oh my! Free books of course! But, also importantly, I have met some really nice authors along the way and we have become “internet” friends.  I would say that is the best part about being a book reviewer.

What’s your least favorite thing?

My least favorite thing about being a book reviewer is turning someone down for a review. I write and I have friends who are writers, so I know the time and angst that goes into a book. This is why I have submission guidelines on my blog. I think the second thing I dislike is saying yes to a book and then have it turn out to be really bad.  I do not like having to go back and let the author know the book wasn’t for me. 

What do you wish authors and/or readers knew about book reviewing?

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I think some authors forget that book review bloggers are not paid to review their books. We have lives and sometimes life gets in the way of our deadlines and reviews are sometimes late. This does not pertain to all authors, only a fraction. I think readers and authors need to realize the time involved to post reviews. Books sometimes take a couple of days to read. Then, unless the information such as the blurb, book cover and author social links, etc. are included, the reviewer can spend up to an hour or more looking for these items. The actual writing of the review can also take up to an hour, especially if you post quotes from the book. Then, there is the posting of the review on social media and book sites such as Amazon, GoodReads, and others. The entire process may take up to two hours or more. That is a huge amount of free time and publicity that the author is receiving. I would tell authors to be grateful for each and every review they receive

What’s one piece of advice you’d give authors seeking out reviews?

The phrase Top Tips on a reminder pinned to a notice boardI would tell authors that they have taken an inordinate amount of time writing the book, take a little more time and write a proper presentation to the prospective reviewer. Visit their blog to make sure they review your genre. If they do not, then just as you wouldn’t send your book to a publisher who does not review your genre, do not send it to the reviewer. Also, read some of the reviewer’s reviews or stories and mention them in your email to show that you’ve actually spent time on their blog and not just grabbed their name and emailed them. The last and probably the most important thing I would tell authors, (because I’ve deleted more emails than I can count because of this) is write a decent email request to the reviewer telling them who you are and what your book is about. DO NOT just say “you can find my book here – link”. I delete these requests. My time is just as valuable as yours. One last thing – if you are doing a mass mailing, make sure the font of the “insert blog name here” is the same as the body of the letter. That tells me I was part of a mass mailing and you don’t know who I am. I delete those as well. 

Do you connect and commune with fellow book reviewers, or prefer going it solo?

I did connect with a number of book reviewers in the beginning. Later on, my reviewing took on a more solo approach simply because publishers and publicists began contacting me and I got busy with other avenues of reviewing. It would be nice to have a group where I could spend time conversing with other book review bloggers. 

old-books-11281939505MsrnWhere do you see yourself / your reviewing life in 5 years?

As I mentioned before, I’ve slowed down and only review three books a week at the present time. I can see myself still reviewing books in five years. It is something I really enjoy doing. I’ve been a reader my entire life and unless my eyesight decides to play hooky, I will be a reader until I close my eyes. So, in five years, I still expect to be reviewing books, although I may be limiting my genres. 

Thank you, Donna! Great answers – and I think authors like myself will find your tips for approaching book bloggers to be wonderfully helpful. I wish you the best, and look forward to our future encounters.