Another day and another top reviewer is revealed! Meet Dena from Batch of Books. Dena shares with us what inspired her to start blogging about books.
What made you decide to start reviewing books?
I read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. As funny as that sounds, Twilight reignited my long-forgotten love for reading. After I finished that series, I decided it was high time I read Harry Potter. So I did. After that, it was a race to read anything and everything that caught my interest.
It didn't take long before I felt the need to talk about all the books I read. I also wanted to meet other bookworms and children's book enthusiasts. After spending a couple months guest posting on a friend's book blog, I started reviewing children's and young adult books on my own site.
What is the best thing about being a top reviewer?
I love that my opinion carries weight. There's no better feeling than publishing a review for an amazing book and getting notes from my blog readers that they bought it or requested it from their library.
What is your worst experience in dealing with an author or publisher?
My worst experience was my first experience, ironically. I was guest posting on my friend's site and we got a request to review a young adult novel from an independently published author. The book was terrible, and I said so (quite bluntly) in my review. A few days after the review posted, the author made a vicious comment on the blog, insulting me, my intelligence, and my gender.
That experience taught me how to write better negative reviews without being so harsh. I haven't had any problems with authors lashing out since then.
What is the most memorable book review or author interview you have ever done?
I would have to say the time I interviewed Gail Carriger. She wrote the Finishing School series, which I adored. Since she's a popular author, I was surprised and honored that she said yes to an interview. She was a lot of fun and I loved her responses!
What books are you currently reading now, and what is your favorite genre?
I'm reading Now I Rise by Kiersten White, My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, and Lemons by Melissa Savage. I'm also reading These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a bedtime read with my kids.
I love almost every genre as long as a book is well written and fun to read. Fantasy and adventure are some of my favorites, but I also enjoy mystery, historical fiction, humor, general fiction, and nonfiction.
How much time do you spend on reviewing a book, on average?
Since my blog is for children's and young adult books, it largely depends on the age group. Picture books take about two hours, middle grade books take roughly seven hours, and young adult books can take anywhere from six to thirteen hours. This is taking into account the time I spend reading, reviewing, photographing, posting, and promoting my review.
How do you deal with book requests?
There's a form on my site for authors to submit their book. I check it every day and respond to the books I'm interested in. Several publishers have me on their contact list and send me pitches nearly every day. I also receive unsolicited books and ARCs in the mail on a regular basis.
While I love receiving so many requests, it's humanly impossible for me to read every book that comes my way. I can only respond to requests I'm interested in. If I responded to everyone that contacted me, I wouldn't have time for anything else!
Do you see yourself writing your own book? If yes, what would it be about?
Yes! I've actually written several books, but I've never tried to publish them. I've written two YA novels, several picture books, and numerous middle-grade novels. I've also written a how-to booklet to help authors get better reviews and more attention from bloggers.
If you had to choose one book that reviewed to be turned into a movie, which one would it be? Why?
Only one? There are so many good books to choose from! I would love to see Fablehaven by Brandon Mull or Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce as a movie. There are others, of course, but those two are fantastic.
What is your ultimate favorite book of all time?
Again, I don't know if I can pick just one, but I'll say the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read that series several times as a kid and it had a huge impact on me. Since I grew up in the country, I felt like I could relate to Laura. Now, as I read the series to my own kids, I find myself just as in love with the books as ever.
Have you ever received gifts to thank you for your review?
Sometimes an author or publisher will include some extras along with the book. I've received buttons, bookmarks, posters, activities, totes, classroom supplements, and handwritten thank you notes. My favorite "thank you" was when author and illustrator Melissa Guion sent me some small illustrations along with a copy of her book, Baby Penguins Everywhere.
How do authors react when you give their books a negative review?
It's a delicate balance to keep a review honest while not crushing an author's dreams. I have to be honest or my blog readers won't trust me. However, I know how it feels to have your work criticized, and I don't want to be the reason an author decides to throw in the towel.
I think most authors understand that no book appeals to everyone, so they're generally gracious about a negative review. The most common response I get is, "Thank you for your feedback and honesty".
Finally, tell us a little bit about yourself. How do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I grew up near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. I attended college in Idaho, where I met my husband. We live in North Carolina and have three beautiful daughters.
I started by blog five years ago, and I never expected it to become what it is now. In another five years, I hope to have a couple of my own books published, and I hope to take my blog to the next level.
Grab Our Badge!
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.bookrevieweryellowpages.com/blog" rel="nofollow" title="BRYP"><img src="http://www.bookrevieweryellowpages.com/uploads/1/7/9/2/179206/bryp-badge_orig.png" alt="BRYP" style="border: none; height: auto; width: 200px;" /></a></div>