Sunday, November 1, 2009

Val Pearson from You Gotta Read Reviews

Welcome Val Pearson, book reviewer from You Gotta Read Reviews,

Tell me how you started reviewing books?
I've been reading books forever.  I started reading reviews to books and totally disagreed with some of the reviews I had been reading so I googled review sites.  My first stop was Simply Romance Reviews (which is now out of circulation).  I noticed a sign on the side that said I could sign up as a reviewer.  I noticed that the books were provided to you free of charge and my first thought was "What?  How come I have never heard of this before?"  So I contacted Julie, and asked if I could possibly be a reviewer even though I had never written a review before.  The answer was yes and a reviewer was born!

I see a lot of review sites are looking for reviewers. What are the qualifications to become a reviewer? What are the benefits?
The qualifications are simple.  You have to have a love for books and respect for an authors work.  We have an outline of the types of information we need to include in a review and all the sites I am on, it's mandatory not to bash an authors work.  Regardless of if you like the book or not, there IS something good in the book, FIND IT!  Reviewing is totally opinion based and your opinion is surely not going to be everyone's opinion.  It's all subjective but every review I have ever written, I stand behind 100%.  The benefits are many.  You get to read the latest and greatest books.  You find yourself speaking with your favorite authors and watch their work grow the longer you are a reviewer.  Of course, the books are free and who can beat that huh?

Are reviews edited?
 On some sites, usually the bigger review sites, yes the reviews are edited.  On small ones, no they are not.  I depends on which review site you are visiting.  On the smaller sites (which are usually the quickest turnaround) there simply is not the manpower to be able to have every review edited.  Reviewers are all volunteers and most of the staff are volunteers.  We do our jobs for our love and passion for books.  We don't get paid and sometimes that is something that a lot of authors forget.

How long does it take to get reviewed?It varies from site to site.The bigger sites take longer to post reviews and for good reason. Their reviews are edited and sent back to the reviewer if there are any elements missing from their review.  The smaller sites spell check of course but not much editing takes place. Like I said before, the manpower is simply not there to be as detailed as they would like.

I love the way You Gotta Read rates books. Instead of stars you use:
  • You Gotta Read - Our highest rating - very few books will earn this award
  • You Need To Read - Excellent books that don't quite meet Gotta Read
  • You Want To Read - Good books to read, these are the average reads, still a good book
  • You Could Read - Books that you might want to think about before purchasing
  • Leave It On The Shelf - Books that just didn't measure up - hopefully you'll never see this one given
Do you and other reviewers read a lot of books that never get reviewed because the rating isn't high enough?
All the books we read do get reviewed. The question is, will it get posted. Generally, if the rating is a low one, it will not be posted but the author will be notified and sent the review for their own use. We all feel that reviews are subjective. What I may think is a wonderful book, may not be such a great book for another reviewer. It's not fair for damage to be done to an author's reputation just because of one poor review.

What's your general feeling about the quality of the books sent for review? Going up, down or about the same since you began reviewing?
On the most part, I think the quality of books is pretty much staying constant. You do get the books that you wonder how an editor let a book through with so many grammatical errors but then you also have your books that are exceptional. I do see more books that have been poorly edited that I have ever seen before.  I am not sure if it is the influx of ebooks hitting the market or a lack of available time to edit the book but this problem really bothers some reviewers I know. I can get past this most of the time and I will usually let the author know that there were several mistakes in the book and hopefully they can catch the book before it goes to mass market distribution.

Any tips on getting reviewed (or getting a good review) besides writing a great book?
My suggestion to authors is try to be patient but when enough time has gone by, by all means, check on the book to make sure it has been reviewed or just check on the status of the book.  The blurb is especially important to reviewers checking out your book for review.  It's our one chance to take a glimpse of your book and in five seconds or less, we know if it looks like a book we want to read.  Another point I really can't make enough is when your review is posted, PLEASE leave a comment about your opinion of the review or just a simple thank you to the reviewer goes a long way.  The authors who pick apart our reviews seem to be remembered in a negative light far beyond that one review.  If a reviewer feels a appreciated by an author, believe me, the reviewer will want to review more of that particular author's books.  A little kindness goes a long way.

Are you also a writer/author?
I am not yet an author.  I do like to write but when I look back, I always find fault in my writing.  I want it to be perfect but somewhere between my brain and the paper, I lose what I want written down.  I will one day day be a writer but for now, I enjoy reading and getting ideas on future books.

What your most recent favorite book?
I couldn't possibly pick only one book.  I have become familiar with so many wonderful authors and their work.  My absolute favorite genre is romantic suspense. I've just read Awakening Allaire and Avenging Allaire by Margie Church as well as Rebecca Vickery's Surviving With Love and Looking Through The Mist.  Destiny Blaine is also an author that is an automatic read for me.  There are so many more I couldn't possibly list them all.

Do you ever just read for fun?
Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by reviewing so many books, I do stop and read for fun.  I just feel more freedom when I read for fun.

OK, my time is about up but I would love to invite anyone who loves to read to reach out to one of the review sites and sign up to become a reviewer.  There are so many sites that need your help reviewing books.  Regardless of your experience with reviewing books, whether it be extensive or someone who has never reviewed books before, we need you!  You can be trained to write a review.  You will find that you benefit so much from letting others hear your opinion and the authors really do appreciate the time you take to review their work.  I would like to invite you to stop by our site, You Gotta Read, If you would like to be a reviewer, on the right sidebar are details of where to contact us.  Give it a shot, we would love to have you!

Thanks Amber for interviewing me.  I love your work and look forward to reading more of it!

Thanks Val, for taking time from reading to stop by.

Last year Val reviewed two of 
my short fiction romances
And Roberta recently reviewed  
Christmas on Wherever Island  
my short holiday novella and gave it a 
You Gotta Read.


  1. Great interview Val....thanks for keeping YGR in the spotlight!

    huggers -


  2. Very interesting,Val. Do you read e-books?

  3. I'm in awe of reviewers. They're so hardworking, really help authors' careers, and like Val says not compensated for their trouble beyond receiving free books.

    Writing a review is tough. I rarely give an actual review of the books I read on GoodReads, usually just a rating and if I didn't like it, I even leave that blank. (a coward at heart, I guess!)

    Do you at least get to choose which genres you read for review?

  4. Hey Tami! Girl, I love you! :)

    His Sandy! A majority of our books are ebooks. Thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Emily! Yes, we get a list of the available books and we pick the ones we would like to review. I have found so many new authors to me that I now continue to follow on a regular basis. You need to check us out, we would love to have you!

    Hugs all!


  5. To me reviewing is harder then writing. You are dealing with another human and that persons feelings. When you write all your humans are under your control!

    Val you have a kind heart and I love that you consider the writers feelings in your review process. Yet you are able to give objective advise on how to improve the story.
    WOW! That is wondeful.

  6. Hi, Val! Just wanted to stop by and enlighten myself. :) Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. And thanks to Amber for keeping the informative posts coming!!!

  7. Hey Mary and Skyhe, Thanks so much for stopping by! It's so great to see you here.

    Oh and guys, authors can be reviewers too ;)

  8. Hey Val! You are doing terrific work and I appreciate every word!! Love your insight into reviewing.

  9. Val is absolutely incredible. I don't see how she accomplishes so much, and she's one of THE best reviewers I've known!

    Luv ya, gal friend!

  10. Thank you Cindy and Miss Mae! It means so much to me!


  11. Thank you Val for explaining the review process. A good review is stamp of approval that every author cherishes.

  12. Hi Val

    Sorry to be late dropping by.

    I was interested to learn more about you and the whole process of reviewing.

    I've read some of your reviews for other authors and you always strike me as someone who strives to see the good in a book and is always constructive and sympathetic, even if you can't always give the highest praise.

    You're one of those reviewers who realise that we authors, while willing to learn and be guided, are sensitive souls and harsh words can hurt. Your reviews always seem so fair and well thought out.

  13. Thanks for stopping my Mona and Lyn! All the authors that have commented are like internet celebrities! So how does it feel?

  14. Thanks Val and all the visitors for making this a great week!

  15. Thank YOU Amber for interviewing me! I look forward to reading more of your work.