Book Blogger Spotlight: All That’s Written

If you don’t already know her, meet Lucy Pireel. She is the force behind the book blog, All That’s Written. Lucy is also an author and started her blog to give some unknown authors a place to showcase themselves and their work. She says when she reads a book she likes, or comes across an author who has great ideas, she wants to help spread the word.

Lucy sees the blog as serving a dual purpose: “As an author myself I would hope that my paying it forward helps me when I release a book into the world, because readers know where to find my blog by now.” But there is another, secret reason behind her blog. Lucy says, “But to be honest I wanted to get to know these authors. (Hey, I’m only human, with a most human flaw, I’m curious about what makes people tick: i.e. nosy bugger.) And why not share what I found out about them with the world on a blog?”

Lucy, tell us about All That’s Written.
My blog (this one, before this blog I had a Blogger blog which was a sort of test run) is a year old now and has a nice set of followers, and a reasonable amount of views per day. Although that varies by book and author, or random other writing related post.

I blog about all sorts of books, the only thing I ask of authors is to leave their religion at the door. But I must admit I did review and featured a very religious lady author for the simple reason that her books, even though they were based in her religion, they did not read as a preach but grabbed me and held me until I finished them both. Paula Rose Michaelson is the only very religious author I’ve come across that managed that. Kudos, to her!

My blog is very much a one-woman show. I’m a control freak, I like to have full reign over all that I take on. There are days when I wish I had a co-blogger, but up till now I haven’t found someone to blog with me. It does is a lot sometimes, because I post every day and when I’m writing it takes a big chunk of time out of my writing day, but hey ho, I love my blog and will not abandon it.

So, if you think you have it in you to be my co-blogger, write me a guest post why I should consider you. 🙂

How do you select and/or prioritize the books you read?
Hm, I read the sample for all the requests I get and based on that I decide to accept or decline. When I just read and reviewed a book that left me unsatisfied, and I had to write a review that if I posted it on Amazon, or Goodreads I would have to give it a two- or even one star rating the next book will be one of which I know I’ll love, because I either know the author’s previous work or it is a book recommended to me by a good friend with the same taste in reading material.

How deep is your TBR pile?
There was a time when I just accepted all books that were thrown at me, resulting in a TBR pile of over 600 books. Nowadays I select, because I hate to let authors wait too long for a review, I know how frustrating that is.

Tell us about the rating/scoring system you use.
Yes, let’s talk about ratings and reviews and how authors go about handling a review that isn’t quite what they hoped for, or think their book deserves. Or maybe not, maybe the authors reading this interview and requesting a review from me should read the blog post I wrote on how I think they should handle ‘bad’ reviews. I could fill pages on this subject, but the fact of the matter is, if you ask me for a review, I will read your book, twice even, and then give my opinion. That is the nature of our temporary relationship, but if I do not get from the book what I hoped for, or worse if the book has certain faults in it, I have the right to say so. Now I am a suckeer and when I get a book that is riddled with SPaG, or bad sentence structure, plot holes, lousy foreshadowing, or what ever else could be wrong that takes me out off reader mode and into proof reading I will let the author know before posting the review, and you know what? All of them ask me then to please not post my review, even if I have worked for a day to write it and read their book twice. In essence they’ve made me waste my time. Time I could have used to review another book, by an author who will let me express my opinion, no matter the fact if it isn’t exactly what they wanted to hear.

But I’ll get off my soapbox and back on topic. My rating system. In my reviews I don’t mention a rating, I do have it because when posting your reviews to GR and Ammy you need to attach an amount of stars.

5-stars, a book so good you just jump up and grab the first stranger on the street to force them to read the book and dare them to find anything of fault within the pages. A book I will keep and pass on to my children’s children.

4-stars, a pretty darn good book, but just not that special.

3-stars, a good read, but I probably won’t read it again, or it might have a minor issue.

2-stars, a decent read but could do with improvement on one, or several craft issues. (SPaG, POV, Tense shifts, character development, or anything else that diminishes my reading pleasure)

1-star? Well, lets just say this book wasn’t worth my time and money. However it might appeal to others.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a book you thought you wouldn’t like?
Yes! That example I gave about the religious author and her books. I never thought I would like a book that is based on a religious point of view, but this author made that disappear underneath a great story with strong characters and I just loved it! So much I bought the series even if I already had the free review copies.

Have you ever been disappointed in a book you thought you’d love?
Most certainly. Don’t laugh, but I thought I would love to read Fifty Shades of Puke when it just came out. I like a racy read every now and then, but that was just a string of repeats and poorly written sex scenes. And any author that dares to refer to any kind of ‘inner goddess’ is off my reading list for good.

What are the most common mistakes that you see authors making?
Repeating things as if us readers have no memory and need to be reminded of things, anything ranging from where the characters are to what they think, or have said.

Tell us about any pet peeves you have as a reader.
Pet peeves, do you have time? Can I get my soapbox again? 🙂

Okay, I’ll keep it short and sweet. Series. Ugh! Let me explain, I loved the Wheel of Time, but was it really necessary to tell the story in twelve bloody books and to space them out over such a long period of time?

And far to many authors now think that when they just end a half book with ‘to be continued’ we will automatically wait and buy the second, third, and I don’t care how many volumes more there will come. I won’t! I’ll go even further, I will not touch any other book by that author again. If I buy a book, I want a complete book, beginning, arc, ending. Period (or full stop, depending on where you are.) So please authors, even if you write a series, make the books readable as stand alone. It can be done, really!

Would you say you more often find yourself loving a book it seems everyone hates, or hating a book everyone else is raving about?
Yes! The Road by McCormac is one of those. For the life of me, I have no idea why that book ever won Nobel prize, what a load of bollocks!

What can authors do to ensure a good relationship with book bloggers?
Don’t nag us to death about how good their book is and keep asking how far in are we. And if you get a review that isn’t quite what you expected, take it in stride and move along. Remember it is just one opinion. Oh, and please remember our name, even if you don’t see it at the top of our blogs, you can find it and use it when you send us that mail requesting a review.

If you read a book you think is just terrible, how do you handle that?
I will write a review reflecting all that is good in the book, but also mention that even if I didn’t like it, it might appeal to other readers. Unless there is so much wrong in the book, then I will contact the author and offer them my notes on what I found should be improved. I have only ever had two authors thank me for that and they took their book of the market, had it edited by a pro and it shone like it should have done the first time they published.

What was your worst experience with an author?
I had one author who thanked me for reading the book and me offering my notes on what I found to be improved upon. They then turned around to tell whom ever wanted to hear how jealous I was. I mean, what the shoot! I try to help and this is what I get! Anyway, her words fell on barren ground, because most people know I might be a lot, but jealous of authors I’m not.

Lucy, thanks for a great interview. We appreciate all you do in the indie community to promote your fellow authors. Now, everybody needs to hop over and check out Lucy’s cool book blog, All That’s Written, and give her a follow.

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8 thoughts on “Book Blogger Spotlight: All That’s Written”

  1. What a nice post. Your blog sounds interesting and it’s great to hear a book blogger talk about selectivity. It’s so natural in the beginning to want to read everything, but after a while, it’s just not possible. While we authors would love book bloggers to pick our book, I’d prefer a reviewer who doesn’t feel stressed, or compelled to read a book s/he’s just not that into because they promised they would.

    By the way, you look so serene in your yoga pose! I keep saying I’m going to take up yoga every time I see someone doing yoga. It’s stress relieving just watching someone who looks so relaxed and at peace.

  2. Nice to get to know you better, Lucy. And I won’t ask you to review my books. It’s a series. lol. It’s funny what attracts readers. I prefer series as i like to stay with a world and some of its characters. I hate to say goodbye. Different strokes. 🙂

  3. Thank you Lucy for sharing your views. Thank you also for helping some unknown authors to have their work showcased.

    I think it is an honor to have one of my books read. It is a gift to have them leave a review, whether positive or negative.
    I currently have the luxury of commenting in a positive manner on every review I receive. I’ve even had some that help me to become a better writer. I do take their input as a gift, and have incorporated their criticisms/opportunities.

    I truly hope I can ‘pay it forward’ the way I want to in the future.
    An interview like yours is one of the true benefits of the IU site.
    Thanks IU.

  4. Oops. Late to the party–again 🙁 Lucy, your blog is a fabulous find–a reviewer who is thoughtful and intelligent and really loves authors. Good luck with it and good luck with the 600 books (holy cow) 🙂

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