Interview with @ReviewinWho! @bigblueboxpcast @comicstitan @bigfinish @DoctorWho_BBCA @bbcdoctorwho @Emily_Rosina @DWMtweets #DoctorWho #doctorwhoislife #Tuesdaybookblog

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Next up is the marvelous Luke East, from Reviewing Who. Today he’s here to discuss reviewing various items from Doctor Who, podcasts, Big Finish Productions, etc.

Welcome!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

9497e7_78c9903e325f41669fd303dca13e149e~mv2I’m originally from the UK, but am currently residing in New Zealand, where I’ve lived for the last decade.

Question 2) When did you become a fan of Doctor Who?

I’m not sure I can remember a time in my life without Doctor Who, but it would’ve been around 2005 when I saw my first bit of Doctor Who. I distinctly remember the scene where the Ninth Doctor and Rose are looking down on the Earth and the Sun from space, which can only be one of two scenes, either the one in ‘The End of the World’, or the one in ‘The Long Game’ on Satellite 5, before being sent up to bed.

I recently picked up some of the Tenth Doctor and Martha hardcover books, seeing their spines lined up on the shelf takes me right back to a memory of being in Tesco in 2006 where I picked out my first Doctor Who book, a Tenth Doctor and Rose hardcover.

Question 3) Who is your Doctor?

This is a tricky one. I think every Doctor is great. Dependent on what mood I’m in some days my favourite can be Sylvester McCoy, the next day it might be Matt Smith, or if I’ve been listening to Big Finish it might be Paul McGann, so I don’t really have a specific incarnation that I consider to be “my Doctor”. Primarily, most of my growing up was done watching the Tenth Doctor, but I really enjoy the Twelfth Doctor especially in Series 10, I’d have liked to have seen another series with Twelfth Doctor and Bill. Hopefully Big Finish will pick them up in the future.

Question 4) What got you started reviewing for Doctor Who?

13687187_284485048578469_191788596_aI’d been a long-time podcast enthusiast, listening to ‘The Doctor Who Podcast’ until it was brought to an end in 2015. It has only been in the last year or so that I’ve found some other Who-related podcasts that I enjoy, shout-outs to ‘The Big Blue Box Podcast’ and ‘New To Who’. I guess it was the influence of these podcasts that got me thinking ‘I could do this’, and so I gave it a try, albeit as articles rather than audios. It’s great fun.

Question 5) Does the studio and/or publisher(s) send you material automatically or do you get to pick and choose what you review?

I get certain things sent through to review and I’m extremely grateful to those publishers and merchandisers who do send me stuff before it’s released in stores. But there are a number of other things that I track down myself for review.

Question 6) What was the first Doctor Who thing you reviewed and who was it for?

514U-iPubRLThe first thing I reviewed on the ‘Reviewing Who’ site was the ‘Tales of Terror’ short story collection. My local library had a copy and I read it over the course of a month or so and then wrote the review, which is perhaps the shortest review on the site, but as I’ve become a more natural reviewer, I’ve found it easier to write more and more.

Question 7) What has been your favorite item to review and why?

I’ve loved getting to review the Titan Comics releases. I’d never actually had the opportunity to pick one up prior to my creating ‘Reviewing Who’, as they’re few and far between here in NZ, so it’s been a great joy to get them in my inbox on a fairly regular basis. I’m really enjoying the Twelfth and Seventh Doctor ranges at the moment.

Question 8) Is there something you would like to review that you haven’t yet?

61o4rs5rdLL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_I’d love to be sent Big Finish stuff, so that I can review more Big Finish, especially the Jago and Litefoot releases, I’ve only been able to review the first series so far. But something I’ve not been able to review at all that I’d love to review would be the Robert Harrop figurines, they’re so beautiful. The same goes for the Doctor Who Figurine Collection magazines.

 

Question 9) Would you consider reviewing something that isn’t official Doctor Who material, but is related (i.e. a novel inspired by Doctor Who)?

Of course! I’ve recently been reviewing some of the Lethbridge-Stewart books and they’re brilliant. I can say the same for Torchwood, Class, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and any of the Reeltime Pictures releases, none of them are technically Doctor Who, but they’re still part of the Whoniverse.

Question 10) I understand you also have a website, which features interviews with important members of the fandom. What was the most interesting thing you learned?

fileYes, I recently expanded ‘Reviewing Who’ to include feature articles, as well as a feature called ‘Interviewing Who’. It’s been fantastic getting to connect with these truly inspirational people, who started out writing articles as fans, and have since been snapped up by DWM, not to mention they all have really interesting lives outside of Doctor Who. The most interesting thing I’ve learned came from DWM’s Editorial Assistant, Emily Cook, who has established to charitable organisations called Khushi Feet and Khushi Hands, which help women and children in India. It’s such an amazing story of someone of a similar age to myself noticing a void and setting up a charity to fill that void. Something I’ve noticed from a number of these interviews, is that quite a few of us Who fans do a lot of charitable work. For instance: I volunteer to raise funds for a  number of charities here in NZ, and Emily has, as I’ve just mentioned, set up two charities, there are plenty more of us out there doing philanthropic work too.

Question 11) What do you think it is that inspires so many Whovians to get involved in charitable work?

I think it must have something to do with the strong morality shown in Doctor Who. The Doctor effectively shows us that we should help where we can to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. I’m sure there are many other contributing factors also, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that fans of a show that places such a strong emphasis on human rights, ethics, and morality, end up involved with charities.

Question 12) Other than ‘Reviewing Who’ and your volunteering, do you have any other hobbies?

Indeed, I do. At the moment I’m directing a show called ‘Blue Box Messiah’ for the local theatre I’m Vice President of here in NZ, it’s a comedy about life, religion, and being a Doctor Who fan. Outside of Doctor Who I’m also pretty politically active, and am currently petitioning the New Zealand House of Representatives to amend legislation so that people with life-long medical conditions that will only degenerate don’t have to reapply for their benefit payments every 3 months. There are a few other bits and pieces I get up to, as well as those I’ve mentioned, so it keeps things pretty interesting.

Question 13) What have you enjoyed the most since establishing ‘Reviewing Who’?

I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other fans from all around the world, primarily via Twitter. We have a great community of fans out there, but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t also not the small minority of fans who make fandom unsafe for others, by spreading abuse and vitriol. We should be united by our love of Doctor Who, rather than engaging in in abuse and mudslinging against one another. So while I’m heartened by the majority of fans who spread good vibes, I’ve been deeply disappointed by that other small minority who spread negativity.

Question 14) If you were asked to write an article for the Doctor Who magazine, what topic would you like to cover?

Di0_ZRZXgAU7yPiMy favourite DWM features have always been Galaxy Forum and the interviews, so I’d quite like to do something in that realm. But readers of ‘Reviewing Who’ will also notice that some of my recent features have looked at Doctor Who on VHS, and also how Doctor Who toys have powered the imagination of at least one whole generation of fans, so I’d quite happily write a feature like those too. I think DWM is a brilliant British institution, it’s been bringing fans together since its launch in the Tom Baker era, and right now it’s got a great team of writers working on it, so it’d be amazing to be asked to write for them.

Question 15) How does it feel to be on the other side of the microphone whereas I’m asking the questions instead of you?

I confess, it is a slightly different experience, I am usually the one doing the interviewing but this has been good fun.

Question 16) Where can others find out more about you and your reviews?

9497e7_23f1801b55c64f8dac8a6a8f628db927~mv2_d_1754_1240_s_2

They can find ‘Reviewing Who’ on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Wix, which is also where they will be able to find various links to the ‘Reviewing Who’ website.

Thank you again, Luke! Fans, please make sure to check out his website, and stay tuned next week when I sit down with the very talented artist and writer, Sophie Iles, whose work has appeared in kOZMIC Press’ Children of Time: the Companions of , The Time Travel Nexus and multiple charity works.

 

How You Can Participate!

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Mackenzie Flohr Joins The New York Journal of Books #tuesdaybookblog

DKQIJ2hUQAAc9IJ.jpg-largeDelighted to announce I am now part of the New York Journal of Books, a VERY highly regarded review source (like Publisher’s Weekly!) Reviewer Panel.

This panel includes bestselling and award-winning authors, journalists, experienced publishing executives, tenured academics, as well as highly experienced professionals across a number of disciplines and industries.

What does that mean? Well, that means you’ll start seeing me review both traditional and award-winning books exclusively in the Fantasy and SciFi genres on their website with a link to the review here!

https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/mackenzie-flohr

 

Reviews: What Not To Do

One of the most challenging parts of being an independent author is getting reviews. If you’re an indie author, you are already familiar with that uncomfortable feeling of having to practically beg people in order to get them.

“Reviews are marketing tools that are necessary if your books are to sell and extend their shelf life beyond a few weeks.” – Sally Cronin, author.

We are born into the publishing world as an unknown. Readers who are not familiar with our work may decide to skip over our book simply because we’re not part of the Traditional 5. This is where reviews and other people’s helping spread the word about our books becomes essential. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool for an indie author. Without it, our chances of becoming successful quickly dwindles.

The quote above comes from John Winston’s, author of IA: Initiate, five-star review of my book The Rite of Wands. Continue reading to discover tips for both authors and readers on the process of asking for and receiving reviews.


Readers:

  1. Be consistent – If you’re going to leave a review for an author make sure to be consistent. Do not leave feedback/rating on one site and then leave a completely different review/rating on another. This not only comes across as confusing, it sends the message to the author that you are uncomfortable to tell them what you really thought of their work.
  2. Leave feedback for the author – If you use Goodreads, you are already familiar with their star system. You can leave a rating for an author’s book simply by rating their book between 1 and 5 stars, without having to leave actual feedback. Do not do this. You will find readers often look at these “ratings” as fake due to the reviewer not bothering to tell the author what they liked or disliked about the book. Also, an author cannot work on improving their craft if you do not inform them what you did or did not like.
  3. If you’re going to review, do it! – I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone offer to read and review someone’s work and then the other party never does. This is something I have had to learn the hard way, falling into the category myself as a reader more than once this year. My best advice, do not underestimate how much time you will have to spend on reading and do not over commit. If you offer to review, make sure you actually do!

Authors:

  1. Bullying – This is something I have personally have encountered on more than one occasion. Before my book even came out, I was bullied on Goodreads by an author who expected everyone give her nothing less than a 4-star review on her book(s), whether they deserved it or not. If you did not comply, she would make sure to create a dozen of fake accounts to knock your author rating down, and then proceed to follow you all over social media. As an author, it is our responsibility to be aware that not everyone is going to like our book. That comes with the territory. Not a single best-selling author has ever had all five stars on their book(s). Authors, when asking for reviews, do not bully your readers to give you 5 stars. If you cannot deal with criticism or receiving a bad review, this field is not for you!
  2. Swapping – Do not offer a fellow author a review in exchange for reviewing your book. This is against Amazon’s rules, and is only bound to get that review deleted as well as other genuine reviews caught up in the process!
  3. Gifting – This strategy has been quite common with giveaways. It is one of the ways authors can guarantee they will receive a future verified review from the winning recipient by paying for an ebook. Unfortunately, that strategy is no longer effective on Amazon due to Amazon now viewing gifting as another way of paying for a review.
  4. Launch Groups – One of the most effective ways of gaining reviews is setting up a Launch Group. These groups contain readers who are given ARC versions of the book in exchange for an honest review at book release time.