Today I’m going to post an interview with Scott Poe, the man behind the Indie Book Blog, a site dedicated to reading and reviewing Indie authors. The blog officially opened in January of 2011, and has grown quickly, becoming a rather familiar name among the Indie author community. He also started the Indie Book Club on Goodreads, which is rapidly becoming a “hangout” for Indie authors and the great people who read them. If you’ve never checked them out, you really should take a moment and give them a look.
Now, on to the interview…
What made you start this blog?
I have always been an avid reader, and when my wife got me a Kindle for Christmas in 2010, I discovered the world of Indie publishing. I started a thread on the Amazon forums originally just saying I was looking to review self-published works, and it was a pretty big hit. After a month or so I decided to make a blog to compliment the forum topic and eventually the forum part faded away. Now I have a Goodreads Book Club to help bring some attention to the blog and get some more exposure to featured authors.
About how many Indie books have you read and reviewed, and do you post your reviews anywhere other than on your blog?
I’m not sure how many books exactly I have reviewed. It is somewhere in the area of 150 reviews with probably around 160 books read. I’m a bit slow on getting reviews posted at times as I have a 16 month old daughter, and she does not like me to use the computer when I’m home. My reviews are posted on Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes bookstore, Shelfari, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and if applicable Smashwords.
Do you only do reviews , or do you offer other stuff like giveaways, interviews, etc…?
I’m a big fan of extra content with the authors whose books I review. I wish I was a better interviewer, but I do try. Lately I have been focusing on guest posts and giveaways. This past December I hosted a giveaway that had almost 400 prizes in both print and ebook form.
What are your favorite genres?
I have always and will always be a fantasy geek.
Do you limit your reviews to only those genres?
I am open to any genre except erotica, and honestly, a romance book doesn’t stand a good chance with me. I look at all available samples and will often look at author websites/blogs before deciding to review the book. I’m fairly open minded about what I read, and a lot of the time even if the book isn’t for me I’ll feature the author as a guest or do a giveaway to grant some extra exposure.
From a reader standpoint, what are some of the most common problems you see cropping up in Indie novels?
The stereotypes aren’t all wrong unfortunately. I have seen some books with really bad formatting, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
On the other side of that coin, what are some of the best things about Indie novels or authors?
When you find a good book written by an Indie author, you have found a good book and most likely it’s half the price of traditionally published novels. Another wonderful thing is, because Indie authors write about what they want, there are a lot of unique ideas out there.
Do you have any favorites that stand out for you that you would like to share with anyone reading this? If so, what genres are they (so readers can pick up something in their preferred genre)?
I have a huge list of authors that I recommend to everyone I know with a Kindle.
- Steampunk: anything by Lindsay Buroker is great.
- Fantasy: Jeffrey Poole, G David Walker, Robert Day, Dean Murray
- Horror: Michael Langlois JH Sked
- Other standouts that I can’t really define genre wise: B. Justin Shier, JH Sked
Any advice for Indie authors from a reviewer standpoint?
There are two things that can make a big difference. First, get a good editor. It really is worth it, as your first few reviews pointing out terrible editing can really halt you in your tracks. Second, pay attention to the requirements when you are submitting your book to sites for review. If you submit an epic fantasy to a blog that only reviews romance, it does you no good. Also make sure to include all the info the reviewer will need, I can’t count the number of people who have submitted review requests to me without including an e-mail address for me to get in touch with them, or even their book title. Reviewers are pretty busy and don’t always have time to do a lot of research trying to figure out how to contact someone or find their book title.
How is your backlog? Is there any room for other Indie authors to get on your review list? If so, how would they go about submitting a review request?
I do have a heck of a back log going, but I’ll always take new requests. I have a couple of other people who have just started reviewing for my blog, so hopefully that will help speed up the process a bit. To submit a request check out the proper tab on my blog or use this address to go straight there: http://indiebookblogger.blogspot.com/p/review-sign-up.html
Other than your blog, are there other places online where people can find you?
I’m on Facebook, but honestly I use that to watch MMA more than anything else. There is also the Indie Book Club on Goodreads. I’m also on Google+ kind of. Social networking really is not my thing so I’m not great at keeping up on any of it.
Finally, what would you say to people who refuse to read or review Indie (self-published) books?
Your loss. People have their beliefs and prejudices, but there is really nothing to lose in looking at an Indie book. The greatest thing about the ebook revolution for the reader is the “Download Sample” button. That is generally more than enough info to find out if the book is edited properly. Plus Indie authors are in general wonderful people who will answer questions put to them, and I personally find it amazing to actually get to interact with the creators of all the worlds I read about.
Thank you very much for your time.
Thanks for having me Dave. Hopefully not too many of your readers fell asleep at their computers.