Reviewer IndieView with Aaron Webber of Lost Explorers Club

An agent suggested that I get a Twitter to make my brand an easier sell to publishers. Yes. Agents typically request only the first five pages of a novel; what do you think about that? To find good books agents need to slow the heck down and actually read something, or find a better way of doing business, because the current way is broken. We usually get to physical copies earlier than digital options, simply because we respect the fact they put extra effort and cost into getting us the book. We’re seeing lots of statistics that say reading as a pastime is dying – do you think that’s the case? Yes, and tweets and other messages. Good writing, characters, ideas. What advice could you give to authors looking to get their books reviewed? We want the review to be useful beyond a rating. I think reading as a skill is dying, which would impact reading as a pastime. It might be a beautiful bit of writing, and I understand the desire to show off your talent, but it lowers the overall quality of the book. I just don’t find it interesting or fun to read. It certainly has exposed how large the slush pile is. About Writing
What are the most common mistakes that you see authors making? I work in marketing and advertising, and I have seen many industries change over the last few years due to digital innovation. In what world is agents telling authors what they’re looking for a good way to find good books or new ideas? About Publishing
What do you think of the oft-quoted comment that the “slush-pile has moved online”? I realized the writing community on that platform is full of indie and self-published authors who are pouring their heart and souls into their books, but only selling a couple copies, and have no reviews. How long does it take you to get through, say, an eighty thousand-word book?  
Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) We’re told that the first page, paragraph, chapter, is absolutely key in making or breaking a book. I was hard to watch, so we decided to help. Spending too much time of exposition that doesn’t contribute to the story. It isn’t. We don’t, usually. If I’m reading for fun, then yes, I will put it down after the first chapter if I don’t like it. Do you get readers emailing you and thanking you for a review? We know that self-published authors don’t have the resources for a professional editor most of the time, so we overlook the fact that there will be more errors than a traditionally-published book. There will always be the underlying respect for traditional books, but we won’t automatically ignore indie books anymore like we used to. We need to move away from the author-agent-publisher model in some way. This is a hill I will fight and die on. Erotica. Aaron Webber   25 March 2020
About Reviewing
How did you get started? End of Interview:
Check out Aaron’s reviews at Lost Explorers Club. There has only been one book submitted that I’ve had to set aside due to the sheer number of grammar errors. The mere fact that a site exists called “manuscript wishlist” is testimony to how utterly backwards the system is. Under no circumstances to ‘argue’ with the reviewer – would you agree with that? Is it a read first, and then make notes, or do you make notes as you go along? Do you think attitudes are changing with respect to indie or self-published titles? You can’t argue with someone’s opinion. Yes, definitely. The current model is outdated, expensive, and terrible at finding good books. How do you review a book? Usually a week
How did you come up with your rating system, and could you explain more about the rating system? Do you have any ideas or comments on how the industry can ‘filter’ good from bad, aside from reviews? When I’m reading a book to review it, I feel obligated to continue after I’ve started a book. We read because we enjoy escaping to other worlds and experiencing fantastic stories, with so many other options for easier storytelling, reading will take a back seat to those who don’t have the reading skills necessary to comprehend something beyond a YouTube video. If a book has a great plot, great characters, but the grammar is less than perfect, how do you deal with that? Their only qualification is having connections with one or two publishers. Agents are not necessarily good readers, writers, editors, or judges of quality. We don’t “look” for anything specific, if there is something that catches our eye, we mention it in the review. It’s easier and faster. If a book hasn’t grabbed you by the first five pages, do you put it down? Is there anything you will not review? The current model is outdated, expensive, and terrible at finding good books. I work in marketing and advertising, and I have seen many industries change over the last few years due to digital innovation. Why do you think people love reading? My advice to authors on getting a ‘bad’ review (hasten to add that might mean a perfectly honest, well written, fair review – just bad from the author’s point of view) is to take what you can from it and move on. About Reading
We talk a lot about writing here on the blog, and possibly not enough about reading, which is after all why we’re all here. What are you looking for? However, since we share our reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, which use 5-star rating systems, we grade what we feel is a fair review based on the genre and compared to other indie books. We take minimal, or mental, notes as we go along, but a majority of the writing takes place after we have finished the book. I think sites like Kickstarter are helping a lot more than we realize, as well. We don’t have a rating system on our site, we always include what we like and didn’t like, and who we recommend the book to.