BBAW – Interview with Sassy Brit from AlternativeRead.com

As part of Book Bloggers Appreciation Week, I’ve been partnered with Sassy Brit of alternativeread.com.  We drew up a list of questions for one another.  It was fun!  Here is Sassy, answering some of my questions:

The header of your blog says “joining authors and readers together”.  Can you share something about your blog’s purpose?

Well, I like to think that I helping both authors and readers. For authors I offer extra promotion, by publishing their reviews, book excerpts and other writing news, and at the same time I’m giving my readers new ideas for reading material – joining them together, on the blog and in my chat group.

Since I’ve started reviewing books on my blog, I find that it affects my reading.  I catch myself formulating an opinion for my review, where previously I might just have submerged myself in the narrative.  Has reviewing books affected your reading experience?

I can’t read without making notes! Well, I can, but I have to force myself to do it. I don’t think it really spoils the experience, but it does change it, in that I analyse them much more than I did before. I have to say that is part of the fun for me; taking it all in, not just the story, but how it was written, what I feel I liked, disliked and how it affected me emotionally when I read it.


Some people only review books they enjoy.  Others use the opportunity to expose what they dislike.  What motivates you to write reviews?
I love reading, and sharing my findings through writing. I like to think that my views can help with an author’s sales. Of course, opinions are subjective and I truly believe, that there are always going to be reasons a reader will buy a book, whatever a reviewer says. For example, if a reader likes an established author, or just the sound of the blurb, or the look of the cover, they’ll buy it anyway, no matter what!
Same goes for negative reviews, although, I hope mine are always fair, honest, and written in a professional manner (never scathing) and if a reader wants it, they’ll trust their own judgment. I’ve even bought a book myself, after reading a negative review and liked it! I suppose the saying “you can’t please everyone all of the time” is true.
As far as I can tell, you don’t put a “rating” on a book in your reviews.  Is this important to you?

I’m not that keen on them. Although ratings will give you an general indicator to whether the book was liked or not, there are several different levels on various major book sites, and they don’t always mean the same. In the past I’ve asked the authors in my chat group, what they thought about us rating their books. The general consensus was that they wouldn’t like it.

So, I have come up with other ideas for those authors that have written books of excellence — An award called the “Sassy Seal of Approval” and I am in the process of making some others for my reviewers to hand out themselves. I also believe that it’s not always that simple to rate a book — some are clearly exceptional, and others have good as well as bad points. The review should reveal all, and I don’t mean spoilers when I say that. 🙂

How do you feel about “spoilers” in a review?  Do you try to avoid giving away plot surprises, or do you like discussing any aspect of a plot in the review?

I don’t think it’s fair to show spoilers for a couple of reasons. By writing reviews we assist in promoting authors books, and a spoiler can take out the mystery and intrigue, which would normally encourage a reader to buy it in the first place. So, I don’t write them personally, and do warn reviewers against it, but I am very grateful for those reviewers that give us advance notice if there is going to be a spoiler coming up. That way I can choose whether I read it, or not. To me it’s like waiting for the football highlights to come on to see if my favourite team have won, and after waiting all day and avoiding any kind of football news, someone walks in and blurts it out! LOL

Your blog covers a huge range of genre’s.  Do you feel equally comfortable reviewing any genre, or are there some you have a hard time giving a fair review?

I do try to read most genres, as I’m pretty open-minded and like my reading to be varied and fresh — new authors, genres and sub-genres are always popping up. In general, if I’m struggling with a book I’m not enjoying, I can usually (but not always) find something good to say, as well as what I disliked about it, while being fair and honest on both accounts.

If you could go back in time to when you started your blog,  what advice would you give yourself?

Oh, to get into the habit of preparing my posts in advance! That’s a huge help as it really ensures you keep on top of the blog, when there are so many posts to publish.

Thanks Sassy!  I enjoyed this.  I highly recommend that other visit her amazing blog at alternativeread.com.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sassy Brit
    Sep 15, 2009 @ 13:13:15

    Thanks very much for having me. It’s been fun! And best of all I’ve met a new blogging fiend! 🙂

    Take care,

    Sassy
    🙂

  2. mashadutoit
    Sep 15, 2009 @ 13:31:01

    Agreed! 🙂

  3. TexasRed
    Sep 15, 2009 @ 22:36:12

    Hi! I came over from Sassy’s blog & am happy to meet you.

    I have a friend from South Africa who now lives in the US and blogs at The Gypsy Mama (http://thegypsymama.com/) Hope you can check her out 🙂

  4. Heather J.
    Sep 16, 2009 @ 04:19:14

    great job! I too wish I had learned earlier the value of scheduling posts in advance – it is a life saver!

  5. mashadutoit
    Sep 16, 2009 @ 17:53:43

    @TexasRed – thanks for the link! Will check that out 🙂

    @HeatherJ – I agree. Its one of those tips you always read about, but its a good one.

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