Saturday, July 17, 2010

Welcome Valerie Mann & Kate Richards of Got Romance Reviews

Kate Richards ~

FREE BOOKS – Well, it caught my attention too. As a reader whose habit was exceeding her budget, and since my picture was still on library Wanted posters in three counties from my teen years when books would disappear into the maelstrom that was my bedroom and I couldn’t afford to pay for them, the words ‘free books’ sent me into a tizzy. Reader review sites! Pick a book, read it, share my opinions (who doesn’t love to do that anyway) and get more free books. What a concept. I signed up at a large, well-respected site, entered their probation period, and followed their review format to the letter. I looked over the lists and made my selections, trying to be very careful not to enter the ISBN numbers incorrectly on my review and to meet the minimum number of words required. I wanted to be the best reviewer I could be. The oddest thing happened. Not only did I get all the free reads I could ever want, thrilling my husband at the dip in my monthly book budget, but I started writing again myself. Magic words, free books. For me they were the words that led to the following of a dream and the unlocking of a place in my mind that I didn’t even remember was there. Got Romance Reviews is a part of my dream. A year ago, I was a reader-reviewer. I’m still that, but I’m also an author and review site co-owner, with what I think is one of the best groups of reviewers out there. Many of them are authors also, and as busy as we are with our own writing, being reviewers give us a chance to do one of the things we love best…read!

Valerie Mann ~

I started reviewing on a whim too, to help a friend who was starting a new review site. A month later, she became ill and the entire website was dumped in my lap. At first, I was terrified. I’m an author but that doesn’t mean I had a clue how the publishing industry really worked! I had to hack into the email account, contact publishers and reviewers, put together a spreadsheets (ah, lovely spreadsheets, you’re my BFF) and pretend I knew what I was doing and convince others of that at the same time! Within a few days, I realized I loved what I was doing! How can it not be fun to give away free books in exchange for an opinion? And I made some great friends, including my partner, Kate, who I love even more than spreadsheets!

When the owner of the review site couldn’t come back, Kate and I decided to start a new review site, Got Romance Reviews, which we launched December 2009. We have fun, we’ve met some fantastic authors and dedicated reviewers and I like to think we’re respected in the review community. Sure, we’re minnows in the big review pond, but we like our little corner of the pond! We review all genre of romance, from sweet to erotica and encourage authors to email us about having their works reviewed at

Thanks for the opportunity to pick our reviewing brains!
You can find Got Romance on the 'net at their blog and on their Facebook page. You can also read my blog post of June 7 where I interviewed Valerie Mann about the review process.


Kate Richards said...

Hi Everyone! I'm Kate of Got Romance and we'll be around off and on all day if anyone has any questions or would like to chat. Thanks for having us Prairie Chicks!

Dominique Eastwick said...

Just stopping in to support my peeps. Great blog VAl and Kate :)

Jana Richards said...

Hi Kate,
Great to have you here! I have a couple of questions for you. If I was tempted, as you were, by the lure of free books, how would I go about becoming a reviewer for Got Romance? Is there a probationary period for reviewers? Is there a minimum or maximum number of reviews expected that I do in a month/year?


Vince said...

Hi Kate:

I just came from your site and it’s wonderful!

What I look for most in a review site is a way to learn about books I wouldn’t otherwise ever know about. I actually care more about discovering new books and authors, than how well a given book is reviewed. I’m not deterred by a bad review if the topic is interesting.

Do you make an effort to give small publishers and first time authors more exposure? It is easy to get a Harlequin review any time I want it. But it is hard to get reviews on smaller publisher’s works.

Do you ‘merchandise’ your reviews? That is, do you have a given number of slots for the different types of books you review each week? For example, 2 paranormals, 1 erotic, 3 contemporary, 1 YA, 2 historicals, etc. Or do you just post the reviews that happen to be submitted? I sure like the selection of reviews you have on your site today!


Autumn Jordon said...

Hi, Ladies. I found it intereting that you had to go through a probation period. Jana asked great questions? I have a few more. How do you pick a book to review out of the thouands that must be on a list? And do you only get titles or are blurps provided to you?

Thanks for being here. This is interesting. I think I'll tweet?


Jana Richards said...

Thanks Autumn and Vince for your great questions. Vince has inspired me to ask another one: What kind of information do you try to give the reader with your review? Is it to give exposure to smaller publishers and less well known authors, or do you see your purpose as primarily to tell readers if their money is well spent in purchasing the book?


Kate Richards said...

Hi again! Let me try to answer a few of your questions. Val and I are definitely pleased to be able to give space to many of the newer publishers and their authors. Many of our reviewers are also authors in their own right, and very busy, so we haven't set a requirement for a certain number of reviews. We place all of the titles on a spreadsheet for the reviewers to look at and they let us know what they would like to read. I also have discovered many new authors whose work I've really enjoyed. To become a reviewer, just email us at We will guide you through the process and help select your first book. Our format is there as well, and we're very happy to help a beginner learn how to express what they feel about the book. We accept books from both publishers and the authors themselves, as long as their publishers are okay with that. The reviews we publish are in the order our reviewers submit them. I must say it's a lot of fun, and now that we put the reviews up on Amazon, we're getting even more nice feedback.

Kate Richards said...

That's such an interesting question, Jana. Our reviewers try to show a reader what in a book caught their eye, what makes it special. Even when they realize that it's not their favorite kind of book,they try to give a balanced review so that a fan of, say, that period of history, will realize that this story showcases their favorite time well. With the advent of the many E-readers, a whole new audience is available and can download a book in a moment. I believe review sites are helpful to these readers. I myself am an impatient reader and the fact that I can grab a book now instead of having to go out shopping or wait for the mailman is big on the coolness factor. I love bookstores...but instant gratification has a lot going for it!

Liz Flaherty said...

What a great post. Learning new stuff and reading good writing all at once--I enjoyed it!

Kate Richards said...

Thanks, Liz,
It's a lot of fun at Got Romance Reviews. In fact, we need more reviewers, if anyone is interested. We're gettng so many requests in, it's hard to keep up. And we hate to disappoint the publishers and authors.

Olivia Starke said...

Hello ladies, I'm stalking you lol I'm doing a guest blog here in late August, hope you'll drop by!


Anita Mae Draper said...

Welcome, Kate.

I used to be strictly a reviewer but now have switched to being an influencer. It means I get to chose which books to review and not to review if I don't think I can promote the author.

Now, I'm off to the Rider game. Have a great day everyone.


Mary Ricksen said...

Minnows are the food for many fish. You are that for authors. I have to tell you how much I respect what you do. Your reviews, and I have read a bunch, are the way reviews are supposed to be. Instructive, informative and kindly critical. Kindly being the operative word. That to me is what makes a good review site. And yours rocks ladies! Good luck and keep going. I hope to have a book for guys to review soon!!!

StephB said...

Kate and Valerie - great post! I had a bunch of questions but I see they've asked and answered. Good luck in your endeavors. Reviews are so important to books and it's a great that you guys do.

I review as well and I know sometimes it's not easy. Amazon and Barnes and Nobles reviews mean a lot to a product since they are major distrubtors.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on what it's like running and operatiing a review site and how much hard work you put into it.


Leigh D'Ansey said...

What an interesting post. Thanks so much.

Kate Richards said...

I am having the best time here today! Val will be by later but she's out moving furniture and has no internet access until she gets back. Anita...I agree that it's good to be able to decide which author's to promote, after all, as a reader with a good book that's what I do. I keep telling everyone how great it is, and as a reviewer that's how I know the ones I like best. After the review is done I tell everyone I ever met about it.

Sylvie said...

Interesting post with great Q & A. Very informative..thanks!

Valerie Mann said...

Yep, I was moving furniture - mom is moving from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment...oh, boy, that was fun. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, everyone is blogging and having fun without me! I'm glad Kate held down the fort and she answered everything well, as usual. The only thing I'd like to reiterate - WE NEED MORE REVIEWERS! We have literally hundreds of e-books that need reading and reviewing. That's the wonderful thing about e-publishing - it has opened doors for so many great authors who would otherwise be languishing in rejection land! But now they need their books read! Thanks and don't be shy ~ we're here when you want to jump on the review bandwagon!

Kate Richards said...

I'd like to thanks everyone who visited with us today and the Prairie Chicks for having us. I hope we answered everyone's questions and that you'll check us out when you get a chance! I'm still around btw...and Val may be if she hasn't collapsed from piano moving. So, any other comments or questions, just say the word!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Kate and Valerie,
How interesting the way you came by Got Romance Reviews. Reviewers do a wonderful job, and don't always get the accolades they so richly deserve.



Liz Fichera said...

How nice to be able to do what you love! I'll definitely stop by your blog and site. Interesting post!

Kate Richards said...

Thanks again to everyone who said such nice things! Remember, we are accepting new reviewers right now, so anyone who would like to give it a try, just email us at Or...just to say hi!