Monday, October 8, 2007

Interviewing the Reviewer--Terrie Figueroa from Romance Reviews Today

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; a bad novel tells us the truth about its author...G.K. Chesterton

Today I have Terrie Figueroa of Romance Reviews Today as my guest. Terrie has graciously agreed to answer the hard questions--questions that many new authors need the answers to. As we fumble around in our new life, often we don't know exactly which way to turn. I will be interviewing several reviewers over the next two or three weeks. I hope that the readers and fellow authors will find the interviews interesting and informative.

1) New authors are frequently very confused about the reviewing process. Could you briefly tell us how a book is chosen for review? At Romance Reviews Today and RRTErotic I send a list out weekly of ebooks available for review. Reviewers chose which books they would like to review. For print book assignments I assign the books based on a detailed preference sheet I keep for all our reviewers. We don't assign eBooks as many of the reviewers have a hard time reviewing in electronic format - so they are all voluntary and we still review almost as many Ebooks as we do print books.

2) All right, the book is reviewed. What does the rating system really mean? And how can I tell the difference between a 2 and a 4? We don't rate our reviews with the exception of what we call nibbles. (Books 50 pages or less). We have a fairly clear definition of what each nibble rating means on site. For all of the books over 50 pages we write full reviews, including critiques of the work as well as a synopsis of the book. The reviewers comments will indicate the level of enjoyment the reviewer received. The exception is for truly exceptional books. We award those a Perfect 10 at RRT and La Grande Mort on RRTErotic. Books awarded a Perfect 10 or La Grande Mort are automatically included in our voting for Best book of the year by our reviewers.

3) Now what happens? Is the author notified personally or is the review just posted on your website?
When a review has gone through final editing and is ready to be sent to me for a future update a copy is sent to the publisher and the author. When the review actually posts the author is notified that it has posted.

4) How does one apply to be a reviewer? What are the reviewer's qualifications for your site?
If someone want to join RRT or RRTE they need to email me directly with "Reviewer Applicant" in the subject line. We will request that they fill out a questionnaire with their preferences. If their questionnaire fits the spot we're looking to fill we ask for a sample review. We don't expect perfect reviews but something that shows the reviewers has a good understanding of what a review is and that they have a good grasp on proper grammar.

5) When I visited Romance Reviews Today, I noticed there were various book covers and featured authors. How does one get to be a featured author? And how can I get my cover posted on your site?
The only covers we post are for those books awarded a P10 or La Grande Mort. Authors can buy advertising space for their covers at very reasonable costs. We also offer author spotlight advertising which will include a page exclusive to the author and can have one or more books featured as well as banners and links to their author sites.

6) If a new author came to you for advice about promoing her book on your site, what advice would you give her? I would advise a new author to do an interview, provide an ARC for an early review and run a banner ad. For someone just starting that's the most economical way to go. Banner ads are from $15 to $25 a month and interviews and reviews are provided at no charge -- ever.

7) Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your site? Both RRT and RRT Erotic are primarily romance novel sites. RRT is celebrating its 7th anniversary and RRTErotic is celebrating it's 1st anniversary. Between the two sites we've posted more than 10,000 reviews though only 2 years are maintained online. We have a staff of between 25 and 30 at any given time and review between 150 and 200 books a month.

We do review a good number of straight fiction, suspense and mystery, and even the occasional horror novel. We do not review "How to" , "Self Help". We have reviewed the occasional non-fiction book, but that is rare and the staff willing to review non-fiction small. We try to post reviews of print books in the month of release and Ebooks within 60 days of release. The longer lead time our reviewers have the more likely a review will be posted in a timely manner. We generally like at least a 60 turnaround from the time the book is submitted for review to the date it is posted on the sites.

My final thought is this. Reviews are the opinion of a single person and no author should ever base the value of their work on the opinion of a single reviewer. Each reviewer has their own likes and dislikes and hot buttons -- and it's important to keep that in mind whenever a reviewer is read.

Terrie Figueroa
Romance Reviews Today

I want to thank Terrie for being so gracious and taking time from her busy schedule to answer my questions. If there are any reviewers out there who would like to be my guest, please e-mail me at !


Don't forget to stop by Amarinda's at to check out the new Saga episode. And then pop over to Kelly's at to check her latest take on life.


  1. Great insight into the review process. I have a reader on my blog today who tells us what readers think about romance books and writers

  2. I'm heading there next, AJ. Anny you and Terrie did a fabulous job. I especially like the final comment about not basing your worth as a writer on one review. We see this a lot on the pub-loop. Loved this interview. I hope more reviewers step up and speak with you too.

  3. Very informative, thank you! My question is, how does one go about getting her book reviewed?

  4. Nice peek behind the scenes. Thanks Terrie for sharing, and Anny for bringing her to us.

  5. I review books. Check out the review sites - send an email and they will ask you to submit the book. It's pretty painless, Moll