This week my guest is an avid book lover and book reviewer who is well respected by both publishers and authors, please come on down and meet the lovely Amanda Rutter from Floor to Ceiling Books.
"Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by your website and be your guest, Pauline! As you suggested, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about why I read, what genres I cover, why I now review the books I read and why I finally chose to take the plunge into reading and reviewing self-published fiction.
I read to escape. I’m sure many other people would say exactly the same! When I open the pages of a novel, I am allowed into another world. I meet new characters that I come to love or hate. I visit strange countries. In my day job I am an accountant, and, at times, I find it serious, dull and formulaic (not all the time, I hasten to add!) Consequently, reading is of great value to me. There is nothing better at the end of a long day than cosying up on the couch with my two cats and opening a book. It’s magical!
As to why I started reviewing... Well, when you read as much as I, every now and again (and more often as I get older and the grey matter starts failing a little!) you start reading a book and end up finding it more than a little familiar. Eventually you realise that you’ve read this book before. So part of my intention was to catalogue all the books I read, highlighting the details, so that I would have a permanent record of everything I’ve tried. This is why I am one of those reviewers who will review everything they read, whether a positive or negative experience. When I do have negative experiences, I try to be constructive and give reasons for why I didn’t enjoy the book, rather than just saying it was awful and leaving it at that... Another reason for starting to review publically was to share my love of reading and books. There is nothing better than having a love fest with someone else for a book you both adored! Or, in fact, having a discussion with someone who didn’t hold the same views as you and exploring why that might be.
Book reviewing has become a massive part of my life. My blog is something I spend at least two or three hours a day on, whether answering emails, connecting with others on Twitter and their blogs, reading other reviews – and, of course, reading books. I can’t imagine a time now where I won’t be lovingly cultivating Floor to Ceiling Books, and trying to make it a place where people feel welcomed to discuss all things bookish.
That is one of the reasons why I decided to start accepting self-published work. The other major reason for this is thanks to Angry Robot Books. In a stunning opportunity for me, I was invited to be one of the “slushpile” readers for their Open Door Month, where they invited non-agented authors of speculative fiction to send in manuscripts. (By the way, I do hate the term slushpile, having now been involved with one – I use it because it’s the recognised word for what I tackled). While reading through almost 500 partial manuscripts, I realised that there are a LOT of exceptionally talented authors out there. And they simply won’t all get published through traditional means, thanks to sales budgets and yearly slots and all the other things that restrict publishers to only accepting a limited number of manuscripts each year. For me, this is why self-publishing is now just exploding. Thanks to the Kindle and Amazon, it is easier than ever to get your novel out there. Do I think *everyone* should be publishing? Definitely not – some self-published works are still questionable at best! However, it is an outlet for those people with talent who are willing to put in the work, use beta readers and exploit the fact that most people now have some form of eReader.
Floor to Ceiling Books. After having such a fun time with Sometimes it Happens... I realise that I made the right decision – I might well stumble over more great novels *grin*
Well! I think I’ve chattered on long enough about reading and reviewing – I hope you can tell it is something I’m deeply passionate about. I look forward to seeing a few of you over on my site – you’re always welcome. And thanks once again to Pauline for this opportunity.
For more about Amanda and her book reviewing, please stop by at Floor to Ceiling Books