Rosie’s Book Review Team is six years old, and to celebrate it we’ve organised a bit of a blogging event. Rosie will be sharing the list of the 14 books best-loved by the team, in two posts (you must read them both, and you’ll find part 1 here and part 2 here), and the rest of the team members will be blogging about their experience over the years.
Those of you who have been following my blog for some time know that I’m a member of this fantastic group of people, and I’m sure you’ll have read many of the reviews I’ve written for the team. And if you use Twitter, you might have come across the team’s tag #RBRT.
Rosie Amber is a British blogger who has been reviewing books for quite a while, and as her popularity grew, and she started getting more and more requests for reviews, she had a brilliant idea. Rather than trying to review all the books she fancied that came her way and having to reject many more, she thought she would coordinate a team of reviewers, from different places, with different backgrounds and interests, and that would allow her to help authors and small publishers to find their perfect readers and would offer readers and reviewers and opportunity to discover new books and authors. (If you want to read her own words about it, here is a guest post she wrote recently on how to avoid blogging burnout). She mediates between the two, ensuring that the books are suitable and comply with certain standards of quality and keeping track of the books each reviewer has agreed to review and reminding them to do it in a timely manner. (That does not mean that reviewers have to review all the books they request. They can opt-out as long as they can offer a reason for it, and Rosie will explain the reasons to the authors. They aren’t always happy, but most understand the rules). She also distributes the review copies, shares the review with the authors, keeps reviewers updated on all the new books that arrive, and publishes all the individual reviews on her blog. If you love reading, I can’t recommend her blog enough.
I joined the team five years ago. I had been reviewing books since shortly after I started publishing my own (in 2012), and I was particularly interested in discovering new independent authors. I reviewed books for an online magazine for a short while, but the books on offer were not always to my liking, and the reviews had to follow a strict format that didn’t particularly suit me. The same happened with another group of reviewers I tried, where the books by some authors seemed to be given priority over others, and we also had to follow a specific format that I didn’t particularly like. Although there were incentives, they didn’t compensate for the lack of freedom.
I came across Rosie’s team through some of the authors and reviewers I followed, and I liked the standard of the reviews I read, the people involved, and the fact that I was only expected to read and review the book, but could follow my own criteria and style when writing the actual review. I get approached by many authors requesting reviews directly, but I like the fact that Rosie checks the requests, so I’m less likely to come across badly edited books, or be faced with authors who expect a good review no matter what. Some people don’t think authors should review books as well, but Rosie has never had a problem with that. On the other hand, the fact that she’s exclusively a reviewer works very well, in my opinion, as there are no grey areas or confusion possible. (And those of us who are authors in the group agreed that we would not submit our books to the group).
Rosie reviews books, of course, but not exclusively those submitted to the group, and we all have our own likes and dislikes. I love the fact that our reviews are shared twice and not only once on our own blog; I’ve met fabulous bloggers and reviewers thanks to Rosie’s blog and the team; and I’ve discovered great books and authors, not only those I’ve chosen from her wonderful list of books but also those reviewed and recommended by some of the other members. Over the years I’ve come to learn which reviewers’ tastes are closer to mine, and there are some whose recommendation would make me pick up books even in genres I wouldn’t normally try. And I can tell you for a fact: when several of us cheer for a book, you can bet anything that it’s a great read!
Rosie and the rest of the team are always thinking of new initiatives to promote books, authors, and reading, and she organises an annual award given to the best books in the different categories, nominated and voted by the members of the team. Recently they’ve come up with an initiative, the #TuesdayBookBlog tag on Twitter, which we use on Tuesdays, and has been adopted by many other reviewers and writers (you’re also invited to join as well, as long as the post you’re sharing is related to books, but it has some quality content and it’s not only promotional).
I enjoy the ever-changing list of books available, the sense of belonging to a wonderful team and working together to encourage others to discover great books, the companionship and regular updates by other members, the sense of joint purpose, the joy at seeing how many authors keep coming back with their new books, and I also regularly refer authors whose books I’m sure other members of the team will enjoy, even if they aren’t for me. Knowing that Rosie and her team are there and have my back is a great feeling and makes me feel happy, especially in times of crisis, when nothing seems certain or secure. It’s been six years, but I hope we’ll celebrate many more anniversaries, and we’ll keep sharing many more reviews. (Oh, and of course, we also post the reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and the favourite sites of each reviewer).
And, now, if you’ve liked how the team sounds, make sure to check Rosie’s blog (I know she’s very modest, so I won’t go into all the awards she’s been nominated for or anything like that). We’re always happy to discover new authors (this is the page with all the details), and we always welcome reviewers (you can find out more here), so, what are you waiting for?
We look forward to hearing from you and you’ll be warmly welcomed!
Thanks to Rosie and all the members of her team for those five wonderful years, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click and visit, always keep smiling and keep safe!