Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Do's and Don'ts - Getting Your Book Reviewed




Congratulations, you've written your book! It's been edited, proofread and now it's finally ready to be sent out for review. But how do you go about getting it reviewed? I'm no expert and I don't claim to be, I am not an author (yet!), I have never worked in PR, or at a publishing house. That being said, I have been on the other side of the process - as a reviewer. So here's my hints and tips for getting your book reviewed.






Finding The Right Reviewer For You
DO approach Booktubers and Book Bloggers. Finding someone who can give your book some buzz is a great thing, but how do you go about it? Book Bloggers and Booktubers are very similar, the only real difference is how they produce their content, whether it's a blog or videos on YouTube and some people do both, like myself. 

DO make sure you do your research. There's hundreds, thousands of Book Bloggers and Booktubers out there and it's important to find the right one for you. Make sure to familiarise yourself with their content, don't just pick one with the highest views. View count is great and of course it's important but it goes without saying that often those with the most numbers also have the least of amount of time, and likely the longest wait list. 

Watch their videos, read their reviews, check they are on the same wavelength as you so that you come to know what to expect. If you don't do this, how do you know they are right reviewer for you? After all, there's no point sending an email promoting your book on WW2, if the person you are emailing is a reader of fantasy and contemporary. - Yes, that's happened to me. 

DO read their review policy prior to making contact. Here's mine as an example


Making Contact

DON'T send unprofessional emails. This may seem like an obvious tip as it goes without saying that you should be polite and professional, but there's a few common mistakes I have seen several times when being asked to review a book.  

DON'T tell your reviewer they will love your book, even if you have followed the advice above and found someone who suits your book perfectly, telling them they will love your book creates pressure, and can make the person you are emailing feel uncomfortable. A simple 'I watched your channel, and I see you like Urban Fantasy books, so I am emailing you to see if you would consider reading my novel 'insert title here'...' etc, would suffice and it's WAY less pressurising. 

DO briefly introduce yourself and your work. Length is key here, too little and your reviewer won't be pulled in, and too long and they will likely click off. Include the blurb, links to Goodreads and Amazon, and a couple of sentences about yourself and you're good to go.

DON'T guilt trip. It's an easy mistake to make, because people do this without realising. For example, emailing a review saying 'I know you probably get books for review from publishers all the time, and you probably won't even read this but it would mean the world if you could give this book a chance..' is majorly, majorly overdoing it. For a start, it's already awkward before I've even considered reading the book. Secondly, it makes assumptions about me as a reader, and as a reviewer. And thirdly, it just isn't professional. 

DON'T ask a reviewer to buy your work. I've had this a few times, and it's just not how it's done. I buy books all the time, way too many books - but buying them is my choice, and it's up to me if I review them. If I am asked to review a book, it's just standard procedure for that book to be offered for free in exchange for a review. 

DON'T send your book out before it's ready. I don't like to generalise, but this is one specifically targeted at the self published authors out there. Traditionally published authors aren't in this position, because the publisher controls when the book is released and makes sure it's ready. But when you are self published, YOU are in control. You should always send your book out for review when it's ready to be released, and not a minute before. Your reviewer is not your beta reader, your critique partner or your proof reader. 

DO be upfront about your timeframe. When you first make contact, let your reviewer know the when you would ideally like the book reviewed by. It's important to do this in your first email, don't send off a great email and then tell them once they have replied saying 'Yes, I would love to read this book!' that you need it read in two weeks. Be upfront right from the start, because then the reviewer will know if they can fit this book into their schedules. The more time you have to give, the better. 

DON'T give your book to a reviewer without prior agreement. You may feel like you are doing a kind gesture, in giving that book as a gift but if you are expecting it to be reviewed, shown in a Booktube 'haul video' or promoted in any way - it is not a gift. If you attend networking events, book conventions, author events, then that's a great way to meet potential reviewers. But offer a business card, not a book. They'll make contact if they would like to read your work. 

Respecting the Review

DO respect your reviewers opinions. In an ideal world, everyone would love your book, but unfortunately it is not realistic to expect glowing five star reviews every time. Your reviewer has the right to publish their review on their blog or YouTube channel, and whether this is a positive or negative review is down to their reading experience. Remember that while you may feel that you and your book are one and the same, you're not. A negative review does not reflect you personally. Your book may end up in 'book tags', and such like on YouTube and blogs, even after the review has taken place.

DO embrace a positive review. Retweet, shout them out on twitter or Facebook.  

DON'T try to correct them on their review. This is a big no no. Remember, reading is subjective and we all take different things from a reading experience. You might be dying to point out that the character development works because of what happened in chapter two, or desperate to point out why the world building makes perfect sense - don't. It's hard, and it might feel harsh but criticising a review is one of the worst things you can do, and it makes it unlikely that anyone will offer to review your work in the future.

DON'T rant on social media. We all have bad days, and we all sometimes want a little moan via Twitter or Facebook. Your own personal Facebook is just that, personal - so if you want to moan, that's the place to do it. Not your author page, your twitter or your blog. 
Whether you address this person directly, or make passive aggressive comments that may or may not be about this particular reviewer, it's never, ever a good thing.

It may seem unfair that you are expected to ignore negative reviews and embrace the positive, but unfortunately that's a whole other topic, and one I will address another time.

I hope this helps some of you, and please remember that this is just my opinion, I don't claim to be an expert. If you have any other tips, please leave them below in the comments, and check out the video on Youtube.

Thank you!
Sarah Jane 




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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Tea and Talk - Introduction, Taylor Swift and Audiobooks






So here we are, my first Tea and Talk! The idea behind Tea and Talk is that each week, I have a cuppa and give you guys a roundup of what's been happening in my life. I'll let you know what I've been up to, what I'm reading, where I've been - and I'll also be sharing my favourite links on the internet of things I have been loving. Got that? Cool. Let's get going!




So this week I dived back into the world of audiobooks, I've always enjoyed them but since joining the Booktube community I haven't been listening to them as much as I used to, and I find there's something very relaxing about listening to an audiobook. I was in the mood for something girly and I decided to pick up 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' by Jenny Han. I'm really enjoying it, it's sweet and girly, and it's given me a few laughs as well. I'm not done yet, but when I am there will of course be a review. 

I also managed to do some editing this week, and worked on a chapter of my novel. It wasn't much, but I feel good that I managed to get some done. It wouldn't have happened without a nudge (a big one!) from my friend and fellow writer Peter, so I owe him for that. I feel frustrated that it's taking me this long to edit, but I'll get there. And seeing so many of you comment on videos where I mention it helps with the motivation, because when you guys say YOU are excited for it, that makes me work harder.



This week the very sweet Riley Marie mentioned me in a Shoutout video, which was amazing. She's so lovely and smiley, I really love her videos. Plus, she gave me a whole load of new Booktubers to subscribe to because she recommended so many I have yet to watch. Also my lovely friend Kristin (Kap89x) has started a new series of videos on her channel called 'ReKap'. Have you ever read a book in a series, fell in love, but by the time the following book came out, you'd forgotten everything? I've been there, and I'm sure you have too. Kristin will recap books in her new series of videos, and I really could have done with this when I read Onyx, the second book in the Lux series recently. 




And last but not least, my wonderful friend Sam from Thoughts On Tomes did the Mean Girls Book Tag, a tag I created last week and it was WONDERFUL. I thoroughly recommend all three of these ladies, so please check them out if you haven't already.

I also started reading an ARC I was sent by Random House this week, The Invasion of The Tearling by Erika Johansen. It was wrapped up so beautifully I almost didn't want to remove the ribbon. I'm only on the early pages at the moment, but I'm loving it already. 


Last but of course no means least, this weekend I saw the incredible Taylor Swift at London Hyde Park. I saw her last year at the Red tour and she was just amazing, and the 1989 tour was just as good, maybe even better. Taylor has this unique way of making a huge 65,000 person concert feel like the most intimate event, and despite the fact her routines are perfectly polished, she still makes you feel like you're just hanging out with her and managed to make you feel special. 




She said 'broken is not damaged' and 'you are not other peoples perceptions of you' and she brought tears to my eyes. After a very stressful personal week, it's what I needed to hear and she was just phenomenal on stage.  She sung a beautiful mash up of Enchanted and Wildest Dreams with the piano, and a heavy rock rendition of WANEGBT. And Bad Blood, just wow. Wow.  

From next week, each Tea and Talk will be up on my blog at 9am on Monday morning, as it means I can include my Sundays! 

So that's it from me this week, what have you been up to? 




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Friday, 26 June 2015

Lux Beginnings by Jennifer L Armentrout



Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Page Count: 760 (Beginnings contains both Obsidian & Onyx)
My Rating: 4 Stars




Obsidian
Goodreads Summary
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don’t kill him first, that is.



I am a huge fan of Jennifer L Armentrouts writing, and the first two books in her Dark Elements series was one of my most favourite reads of 2014, so I had high hopes for this book. Katy Swartz is a protagonist we can all relate to, for a start she's a book nerd with her own blog, and she vlogs too. Then she meets Daemon Black, who is the arrogant sarcastic (and incredibly hot!) boy next door. These two have the potential to be the ultimate bookish dream team, and I absolutely loved the friction between the two of them. The only downside is that thanks to the blurb, we know Daemon is an alien before we even start chapter one, which wouldn't be an issue if Katy found out early on. Subsequently, the first half of the book lagged slightly because we as readers already know what Katy has yet to find out. So the marketing of this book let down the plot slightly. 

The plot of this book is very interesting and faced paced, and JLA has a wonderfully addictive writing style that makes her books so easy to read, and so difficult to put down. If you're not a fan of Sci Fi fiction, don't worry - this book is a straight up paranormal romance. Katy and Daemon are the kind of couple I love, because they can't stand each other and secretly want each other all at the same time.  

This book also threw off some serious Twilight vibes, and while that's not a bad thing I think I'd have enjoyed this book more if I'd discovered it in my Twilight hangover phase. I'd recommend this book for those who love YA and paranormal romance, and I gave this book 4/5 stars. 

Onyx

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

In order to discuss Onyx, I have to talk about Obsidian, so avert your eyes if you haven't read the first book, and come back later. At the end of Obsidian, Daemon heals Katy and this book deals with the fallout from that. Plot wise it surprised me, it didn't go down the route I expected it to and I found I enjoyed this book considerably more because of that. Something worse than the Arum has come to town, the DOD. 

In Obsidian we discovered that alien and human relationships are not permitted, so naturally I expected this book to be dealing with that in typical paranormal romance fashion. So when the book didn't take that turn I was pleasantly surprised.  This book is even more addictive than the first, and I really enjoyed seeing Katy develop more as a character. She turns a corner in this book and starts to defend herself. The only negative aspect of Katy's character in Onyx is that her romantic feelings for Daemon frustrated me so much.

Katy believes that the link between her and Daemon thanks to his alien mojo is responsible for her feelings. I can deal with angst. I can deal with love turned to hate, and friction between love interests because it's like my my bookish dream, but Katy's denial drove me crazy. But the last third of the book was very, very addictive and I'm pretty sure I devoured it without putting it down. 

One thing I missed in Onyx was Dee, Daemons sister and Katy's best friend. The female friendship in Obsidian was one of the strong points for me, so I found myself missing her in this book. That being said, I understand why she wasn't present for most of the book, and I feel like I'm going to see a lot more of her in Lux, Consequences. I am very, very excited to read the next installment and I feel like this book series is just going to keep getting better and better. 

4/5 Stars

Sarah-Jane

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Top 5 Quotes about Reading


As Will Herondale once said, 'we live and breathe words.' Here's five of my favourite quotes about reading from some amazing books. Want part two? Comment down below with your favourites!

1. Darkfever, Karen Marie Moning. 
I'm a huge lover of this book, I'm obsessed. It's my most favourite urban fantasy series, by a long shot. And MacKayla Lane is awesome. 





2. Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas.
Celaena Sardothien might be an assassin, but she still understands the importance of good reading material. 




3. Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi.
One of my favourite reads of 2014, this dystopian romance is written so beautifully it makes my heart ache. Juliette's mind is both a beautiful, and terrifying place to be.

4. Clockwork Prince, Cassandra Clare
Part Angel, demon fighters who also love books. If you've not read this series, you are seriously missing out. It's both kick ass, and beautiful. Oh, and Will Herondale. If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about.


5. A Dance with Dragons, George R.R.Martin. A
Right now, I am one of 'those' people, and by those, I mean I am someone who has the first Game of Thrones book, but hasn't yet read it. I will, I really will. But this quote was too special to leave out.


What are some of your favourite bookish quotes about reading? Comment down below, and they could end up in part two! 

Sarah-Jane



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Friday, 19 June 2015

Mean Girls Book Tag



I love books. I am obsessed with Mean Girls. This was a book tag waiting to happen. Whether you are a Book Blogger, or Booktuber I encourage you to do this tag. Let's make it happen, let's make it catch on like Fetch. Oh, wait. 







Mean Girls Book Tag


  1. "It’s pronounced like Cady” - Which fictional character’s names did you get completely wrong?
  2. “She doesn’t even go here!” - Which character would you like to place in a fictional world from another book or series?
  3. “On Wednesdays we wear pink!” - Repetition. Repetition. Which book gave you dejavu of another book whilst reading it?
  4. "You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores." - Which book gave you the complete opposite of girl power feels? 
  5. “You go Glen Coco!” - Name a character you felt like you wanted to cheer on whilst reading.
  6. “Get in loser, we’re going shopping!” How long do you typically spend at a book shop?
  7. “It’s not my fault you’re like in love with me or something!” - Which character would have to get out a restraining order on you, if they were real?
  8. “I can’t help it that I’m popular.” - Which overhyped book were you cautious about reading?
  9. “She’s a life ruiner. She ruins peoples lives.” - We all love Regina George. Name a villian you just love to hate.
  10. “I’m not like a regular Mom, I’m a cool Mom.” - Your favourite fictional parents. 
  11. “That is so Fetch!” - Which book or series would you love to catch on?
  12. “How do I even begin to explain Regina George?” - Describe your ideal character to read about.
  13. “I just have a lot of feelings.” - What do you do when a book gives you a bad case of ‘the feels’?
  14. “Nice wig Janice, what’s it made of?” "Your Mom’s chest hair!” - Which characters one liners would you love to claim for your own?
  15. “Boo, you whore.” - Name a time a characters decision has made you roll your eyes

I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave your links below in the comments if you do this tag on Booktube or your blog! See you later, love ya!


Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent - Book Review



Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.


I first discovered Rachel Vincent's books in 2013 and haven't looked back since. She is hands down one of my most favourite authors because she writes such incredible stories, and her female characters are always capable of kicking butt - you won't find any 'Mary Sue' characters in her books I can promise you that.

I've been excited for The Stars Never Rise since it had the working title 'Anathema', so to say I was delighted to receive an advanced readers copy courtesy of Mira UK is an understatement. This book blends dystopia with paranormal, and the result is something new, exciting and fresh - pretty impressive considering the novel is essentially a hybrid of two the most popular genres out there right now. 

The pacing of this story is very brisk, the world building and history of New Temperance didn't hold us back in any way, and I found myself devouring the book very quickly. (Perhaps devouring isn't the best word considering the topic of soul consuming demons- or maybe it is?) 
Check out my video review by clicking the thumbnail!

The characters in this book are well thought out, exciting to be around - and it was so refreshing to see a YA paranormal/dystopian book that has a strong sense of both family and friendship in addition to the romance. The romance was a slow burn, and didn't overshadow the plot in any way - my favourite kind of read. There was a lot of twists in this book and I didn't spot a single one them, each twist left me wanting more and I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish Nina's story.

I had a lot of sympathy for Nina, she had been dealt a harsh hand in life but she never complained or whined, she just got on with what she had to do to keep her sister safe, and that was a quality I really admired in her. 
Religious extremism, a bleak future, demons, souls, the boy with the deep green eyes - you may think you have read this before, but I can assure you this book is anything but ordinary. It's deliciously dark, exciting, and everything I have come to expect from Rachel Vincent. 

Am I excited for the sequel The Flame Never Dies? Hell yes.
5/5 stars



*This book was kindly given to me as an advanced reader copy, but the views are entirely my own.