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Today, I am posting the first in a series of interviews with kidlit bloggers on how they determine which books to review and which authors to interview.  This post is dedicated to all debut authors in 2009!    

First up is Tarie from Into the Wardrobe. Welcome Tarie!

1. What is your name, your blog's name and its URL?
My name is Tarie and my blog Into the Wardrobe can be found at http://peteredmundlucy7.blogspot.com

2. What is your blog's focus and how long have you been blogging?
I've been blogging at Into the Wardrobe since 2005. At the beginning I was mostly blogging about the children's and YA fantasy books I was reading, then my posts became more and more personal. Around October 2007 I decided to start focusing on children's and YA literature.

3. Do you review books as well as interview authors?
Yes, and I love doing both. :o)

4. What is your policy on reviews: do you only review books you feel positively about? Or do you post negative reviews on your site?
It takes a lot of time, but I review every book I receive from authors/publishers. (It helps that I don't receive as many ARCs as other bloggers! LOL.) I try to be as candid as possible about a book's weaknesses.

When it comes to books I buy myself, I will usually only post a review on my blog if I thought the book was good / if I liked it.

5. What makes you decide to interview a particular author?
I interview authors whose work I enjoy and admire.

6. Do you interview/review published authors only, or self-published authors too?
I'm open to interviewing self-published authors and reviewing their work. I never have, but I'm open to it!

7. How do you generally find out about the books you review and the authors you interview? (Do authors or publishers approach you, do you hear about them elsewhere on the internet, do you read reviews first in the trade magazines? Please try to give percentages if you can.)
I rarely read reviews in trade magazines. I mostly read reviews from the kidlitosphere. If a book is getting a lot of buzz and/or getting good reviews in the kidlitosphere, I will buy it and read it out of burning curiosity. And yes, sometimes authors/publishers email me about reviews and interviews.

I would say that about 50% of the books I review I buy myself, and 50% are sent to me by authors/publishers. All of the ARCs I receive are offered to me through emails asking if I am interested in reviewing a book / interviewing an author. I always reply that yes, I am interested, because I am always open to new books and authors. An ARC has never been directly sent to me / unsolicited. Since I live in the Philippines, some of the ARCs have been sent to me in PDF format.

Fifty percent of my interviews came about because I replied to authors' emails expressing interest in being interviewed. Fifty percent of my interviews came about because I was so interested in an author and his/her work that I requested an interview. :o)

8. Do publishers send you ARCs, do you buy the books yourself, do authors send you their books directly, . . . how do you actually get the books you review? (Please try to give percentages if you can.)
I hope it's okay that I combined my answer to this with my answer to question 7. :o)

9. Do you mind if authors contact you directly to ask for a review or interviews?
I LOVE it when authors ask for a review or interview. I always say yes to an opportunity to get to know an author and his/her work. However, I do not appreciate it when an author HOUNDS me about a review or interview.

10. What's the proper etiquette for an author to ask for a review on your blog? An interview? Can they ask for one without the other (i.e. will you interview them if you don't review their book?)
All an author/publisher has to do is send me a friendly and personalized message through email, Facebook, or even Twitter inquiring about my interest in doing an interview or reviewing a book! I really welcome all opportunities to read and review/discuss children's and YA books. I have interviewed a couple of authors before reading their work, but it is always best to read their work first so that the interview will be more in-depth.

11. What if an author published by a small, medium (or large) publisher doesn't have an extra ARC to send to you? Are they out of luck?
I can always read the book in PDF format. And I can always introduce my blog readers to the author and his/her work through an interview!

12. What's the wrong way for an author to go about asking to be interviewed or reviewed?
I don't like it when it is obvious that an author/publisher has not taken the time to read a bit of my blog. You don't know I am an international blogger? It says Quezon City, Philippines on my blog and on my profile page!

I also don't like it when authors/publishers underestimate the market in Asia. Almost all children's and YA books in English are released in Asia. The ones that aren't released here are always available through Amazon and/or special orders through bookstores.

I really don't like it when an author emails every week reminding me to read his/her work and post a review. I just don't like that kind of pressure. Especially since I already pressure myself to read and review every book sent to me – I don't like the added time pressure from the author!

13. Is more necessarily better when it comes to internet reviews for a new author? Should a new author strive to get reviewed and interviewed on as many blogs as possible?
Oh, yes. A new author should definitely strive to get as much Internet buzz as possible. The more booksellers, educators, and readers you reach, the better.

14. Do you participate in organized blog tours for authors? Are these tours something the authors pay for or simply set up on their own?
I have only participated in a couple of blog tours. The authors set them up themselves and did not pay for them. I would love to participate in more! They are really fun. :D

15. Do you have any advice to give new authors on how best to get the word out about their books?
Strive to get reviewed and interviewed on as many blogs as possible. :o) It's okay if some of the reviews are mixed or even negative. Internet buzz will more often than not get readers curious enough about a book to read it.

However, do not try to pressure or guilt-trip bloggers into reviewing your book / interviewing you. A blogger spreading the word about you and your work is a courtesy, not an obligation.

Thanks, Tarie!

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( 18 comments — Leave a comment! )
Dec. 6th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this interview, Fran, it has a bunch of great advice! I cannot wait until my ARCs come out, and I need to start thinking about what to do with them :-) Looking forward to Part Two.
Dec. 6th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
Angie - when do you get your ARCs? Exciting stuff!
Dec. 7th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Not until Fall 2009...it seems like so far away! But yes, exciting *and* overwhelming :-)
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
The time will pass before you know it -- at least that's the way it was for me! Congrats again!!
Dec. 6th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Great interview, Fran and Tarie!
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Dec. 6th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this great interview, Fran. Very helpful!
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks, sharigreen - I am glad to hear it was helpful. I found Tarie's answers helpful too!
Dec. 7th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for hosting me, Fran! It was truly my pleasure answering your questions. :D

Hi to Angie, Jenn, and Shari!

Into the Wardrobe
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
It was absolutely my pleasure, Tarie. Thank YOU!
Dec. 7th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
What fun! Thanks, Fran and Tarie. :)
Dec. 7th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for stopping by!
Dec. 7th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
Nice interview. It was interesting to see a different perspective.
--Julie Wright
Dec. 7th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Julie!
Dec. 8th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Great interview, and fantastic blog series idea.
Dec. 14th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
I was interested in Tarie's comment about writers pressuring a blogger to review or put a review out. I've noticed this quite aggressive technique myself and can only wonder what they are thinking. Bad manners and aggression are so much more likely to turn anyone away! Same thing happens to editors and agents.
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( 18 comments — Leave a comment! )

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