Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Interview with a Reviewer: Fran Lewis

This week, I am glad to interview Fran Lewis, radio host, book reviewer and author of many books, including Because We Care, Memories Are Precious, and many other titles. Visit Barnes and Noble to learn more about Fran's books.

Since book reviews are an essential part of book promotion, Fran is here to answer some questions about what authors should know about how to get reviews for their books.

What type of books do you review?I review fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, children’s books, YA books, self-help, biographies, murder/thrillers, legal thrillers, romance novels that are not graphic, science fiction and humor.

Ten books is a lot of books to read in a short about of time. Do you read the whole book, or just sections? I read every word in every book. I never read sections because I might miss an important of the plot development. I have learned to speed read. If the author includes too much scenery that is not needed for me to complete the review I might skip it. But, otherwise I read every page and every word. I take notes while reading a book to make sure I have the important plot and character information I want to include in my review.

How’s the best way to get your book reviewed?An author can email be at with a short summary of their book, genre and title. If the author understands that my reviews are detailed and what I write stands then I will review the book. My reviews will never give away the ending, include any spoilers and I never pan a book. If I feel a book does not warrant five stars I will provide the author with a detailed summary of the book and not give my opinion.
What’s the best thing to put in a query for a book review that will make you want to read a book?A summary of the book, a press release, information about the author and what genre the book is in. The type of review you are looking for and if you want something shorter I will provide an endorsement. An understanding that what I write stands and that I will post it. I always, as a courtesy, send the review to the author after reviewing the book. But, I will post my review.
Is it a good idea to include reviews from other reviewers in a query letter to a reviewer?That is up to the author. I prefer to read the book and create a review based on my own opinion and what I think about the book.
I’ve heard about phony reviewers. What are phony book reviewers and how can an author spot them?A phony reviewer will not summarize the book but say I like it but give very few reasons based on the plot as to why. A phony reviewer will not have a regular website, a following of authors that they review for and sites where you can read their reviews. When requesting a review the author should ask where the reviews are posted to get an idea of the reviewer’s style and what type of review they write.
What about paying for reviews? Is it a good idea for authors to pay for a review of their book?I never ask and never will ask any author to pay for a review that I do. It do not think anyone should have to pay for my opinion. Reviews are subjective and each reviewer has his/her own style. I have never gotten paid for my reviews and I review books because I enjoy helping authors get their work out there, spotlighted. It has helped me grow as a writer to learn from the outstanding work of other authors.

Do you have any other suggestions for new authors looking for book reviews?Ask someone who has given you a review that you feel is fair and just to suggest other people they might know to review their books. I review for Book Pleasures and any author can fill out the submission form and get a review from an outstanding reviewer on that site. I often recommend other reviewers that have reviewed by books to review books for some of my authors.
Thank you very much for your time, Fran!

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