How do you decide on your book ratings?
Here is how I decide what to rate a book I have read…
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars mean I loved the book so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about it long after I had finished. I try to be selective with 5-star ratings.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 stars mean I loved it and would highly recommend it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars mean I highly recommend it and there was maybe a thing or two that gave me pause but all in all I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 3.5 stars mean it was a solid read with a few things that didn’t work for me as a reader.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars mean it was just okay…probably not one I would rush to recommend.
⭐️⭐️💫 2.5 means it was just not for me.
⭐️⭐️ 2 stars mean that the book was not for me and I would NOT recommend it. These are tough ratings for me to give because I really try to be thoughtful about the positive aspects when reviewing a book but sometimes a book just isn’t the right fit. Whenever I write a more “negative” review, I do try to share both the highs and the lows and I also recognize that our own perspectives and even mood can change our reactions to books.
⭐️ I have never rated a book with just 1 star. As a reader, I do think there is something you can get out of everything you read and so I avoid this rating just because I don’t think it allows for a lot of conversation.
Where do you get all of your books?
I am a big fan of my Kindle Paperwhite and I do most of my reading on there. I get advanced reader copies of ebooks from Netgalley or Edelweiss, ebooks from the Libby app through my local library membership, and I also like to find Kindle deals on Amazon.
When I do read hard copy books I tend to check them out at my local library, borrow them from a friend or get them sent from book publishers and authors. I do buy books but I tend to buy them once I have read them and loved them, otherwise it could get quite cost prohibitive!
What are ARCs?
ARCs stand for advanced reader copies. They are copies of a book that are printed and/or released as an e-book before the book goes on sale. They are sent to reviewers, librarians, bookstores, and similar outlets to help generate early buzz and reviews as well as helping librarians and booksellers in deciding whether to purchase a particular book to have in their collection.
What is a TBR list?
TBR list stands for “to be read” and many people that discuss books a lot refer to this list as the books they are hoping to read. I use Goodreads as a way to organize the books I have read and the books I am planning on reading next. You can find my Goodreads account HERE.
How do you read so much?
I have found that the biggest way to add extra reading time is by bringing my book with me during the day. I do a lot of waiting in 10-15 minutes increments and having my book with me allows me to read instead of just filling the time by scrolling through my phone (which I sometimes still do!) I also read every night before bed and usually for a few hours on the weekends during the day so it really adds up.
I also listen to audiobooks when I am working on the computer, doing things around our house (like cleaning or folding laundry), or walking our dog…and this really adds up! To read more about fitting more reading into your daily life..you can read my blog post HERE.
Where do you get Your Audiobooks?
I get my audiobooks through LibroFM, Audible, and also on the Libby app. Our local library also has a great collection of audiobooks but I no longer have a car that has a CD player…but I did previously listen to a lot of audiobooks that way.
This year I also became part of the Audiobook Listening Copy (ALC) Program at LibroFM. I love that LibroFM helps support small bookstores and being able to review upcoming audiobooks is right in my wheelhouse! If you are a book reviewer and are interested in this program, you can apply HERE.
How do I Start Reviewing Books?
The #bookstagram community is very active on Instagram and that is where I first started writing about books a couple of years ago. In 2018 I started my public IG feed @genthebookworm as well as this blog so I could have a more organized and specific place to share my reviews. You can review books on many different social media outlets but I have found that Instagram is the most interactive and really feels like a community.
As far as how to get books to review, for a few years, I just reviewed books that I either purchased or borrowed from the library or the Libby app. As my readership has grown, book publishers and authors now send me books to review which is such a great honor.
In 2018 I also became a member of NetGalley and Edelweiss and that is how I get many of my advanced reader copies of ebooks. Anyone can join and you just request books and you are approved individually by the specific publisher of the book.
The more exposure you can provide the more likely you will be approved. I will say that I was approved for many books just by posting on my @genthebookworm account on Instagram so you definitely don’t have to have a blog to get started. The more you do the higher your reviewing percentage is so that helps too when they are looking to approve you as a reviewer.
It is such an amazing way to read books before they are published and I love providing feedback that not only is helpful to the publisher and author but also helps other readers when they are deciding what to read next.
Do you get paid to talk about books?
That is a great question. I have never been paid to review or talk about a book but if that ever happens (a girl can wish!) I would certainly let you know! I do get books for free in exchange for reviewing them which is something that I feel so grateful for. I always note when this is the case at the bottom of my book reviews if you are curious.
Do you share negative reviews?
I am happy to share when a book isn’t a great fit for me and I strive to share detailed and honest feedback when I am reviewing something, whether I have been gifted the book or have purchased it myself. I have worked hard over the years to build a blog readership that trusts my recommendations and this is very important to me.
When a book or product isn’t for me, I will share that, including aspects of what worked and did not work for me as a reader. Book reviews are so subjective and while I always respect differences of opinion, I do like to be respectful of the people who worked so hard to write and publish them.
LibroFM Bookstore Link!
A couple of months ago LibroFM started Bookstore Link. This allows you to share books online and give your readers the opportunity to purchase the book from their choice of independent bookstores!
(image via the LibroFM Blog)
Whenever possible, I will be including the LibroFM bookstore link alongside any other referral links like Amazon or Book of The Month and then you can make the decision about how you purchase them!
Most often, when I am sharing about books with publication dates that are pretty far out, I will have to add the bookstore link closer to the publication date, so if you see the link missing, that is probably why!
More About Affiliate Links & Making Money Through This Blog…
I do use affiliate links through Amazon as a way to help support this blog. While I don’t plan on this ever being my “job”, this website does cost money to run. I like to think eventually affiliate links could help offset some of these costs (like my WordPress site for instance). So if you see the following…
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
It means that some of the links in that blog post may contain an affiliate link (from Amazon example). If you are thinking I am making the big bucks over here I will be honest, I make about 10 dollars a month at this point. While I appreciate the extra income to help support the costs of this blog, I will certainly be keeping my day job!
I shared more about this on a recent Q&A post HERE, but for instance, if someone purchases a book through one of my affiliate links, like a Kindle book, I make about .25-50 cents for that purchase depending on the cost of the book. I receive a percentage (similar to a commission) for sending someone to the website to make the purchase. This comes out of the cost of the item and does not cost the person using the link anything extra.
Supporting This Blog & Transparency…
So if you do ever want to buy a book through one of my blog links I would so appreciate it but that is totally your choice!
I do understand that you can make money blogging with sponsorships and while I don’t have plans to do any of that right now if I ever did I would be very transparent with you. Along with being a blog writer, I am also a big blog reader and the worst thing is feeling like someone isn’t being genuine or honest with you.
I am always happy to answer any questions you have about this and thank you for reading here. <3
Where can I learn more about your photography work?
While I love sharing on genthebookworm.com, I work professionally as a photographer and spend most of my time doing behind the scenes work at Kristy Dooley Photography. I spend my workdays culling and editing in Lightroom and Photoshop and I love the creative aspect of this part of photography and working as a team to highlight Kristy’s amazing work.
I also teach photography classes with my friend and co-worker Kristy and it is my very favorite part of my work. There is nothing like sharing something you are passionate about with an amazing group of people.
To learn about our Introduction to DSLR Photography course Your Life, Your Camera, click HERE
What is Your Favorite Coffee?
We are old school and brew a (big) pot of coffee every morning. There is nothing I love more than a quiet house (waking up early has its benefits) and starting my day with a mug of coffee or two.
We love the medium roast from Vermont Coffee Company, and especially love that we can get it at our local Costco! I am a half and half girl, plain old milk doesn’t cut it…and I don’t sweeten my coffee…unless I am having a maple latte! If you haven’t had one before, you need to! But only ones with real maple syrup…I live in Vermont after all.
Do you have other questions? Please leave me a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org