7 Questions With Marianne And Judy From Long And Short Reviews
Marianne Arkins: Grammar freak and coffee lover, Marianne wrote her first novel at ten years old, built her first commercial website in 2000, and published for the first time in 2006.
On August 27, 2007, she and Judy started Long and Short Reviews in an effort to support small press authors. She’s the Type A++ idea person for the site and frequently needs Judy to talk her off the ledge.
She’s driven to create a positive, constructive and interesting site for authors and readers alike. She loves her family, books, and her dogs (not always in that order).
Judy Thomas: Judy has a college degree in English and she’s worked in retail, education, at her local library as well as an editor for a small press and for the now defunct ShadowKeep Ezine.
She’s also a published author so can see things from both sides of the fence. In 2013, she “retired” and now spends her days helping authors make their dream come true—as well as working as much as she can with her local theater group. She loves to spend time with her family (scattered up and down the Eastern seaboard) and her husband at their home in Georgia and their second home in Florida.
In today’s interview, Marianne and Judy speak about life behind the scenes of book reviewing and the growing platform Long and Short Reviews. If you are a writer, please stop by to check the best tips & tricks From Writing To Publishing and sign up to my Newsletter for the latest & greatest.
Esther Rabbit: Traditionally published vs. Self-published authors, you’ve had your hands and eyes on several novels from both industries. Does the quality of writing really differ?
Yes and no. I know I’m equivocating, but it’s true. The self-published authors who honestly treat writing as a business, who have a professionally designed cover, who hire an actual editor for their work, etc. … we appreciate them! They are gems and their books are as good as or better than traditionally published authors.
The neat thing about truly professional self-published authors is they get to write outside the box and we frequently find unique treasures from them. But those who don’t do the above (especially hiring an editor … please, for the love of all that’s holy, spring for an editor for your book if you do nothing else), those are definitely hit or miss. And for most of our reviewers, editing errors really lower the rating on a book, or even make it a DNF.
Esther Rabbit: Is book reviewing a full time job or professional hobby in your case?
Both? I know, more equivocation.
The two of us who are officially the owners of the site (Judy and Marianne) don’t work outside the home any longer, but we run two different sites: Long and Short Reviews (www.longandshortreviews.com) and Goddess Fish Promotions (www.goddessfish.com).
They keeps us busy more than full time hours, and honestly are jobs of the heart more than of the paycheck. We love what we do, and LASR in particular is a labor of love.
Thankfully, we have several other folks who do administrative jobs for LASR out of the goodness of their hearts, and we also have a dozen or so reviewers (also volunteers) who read and review for the love of the written word.
Esther Rabbit: Why should readers follow your website/blog/channel? What should they expect from you?
We offer professionally written reviews (we also edit our reviews for grammar and content prior to publishing) that are never snarky, and we do them for all fiction genres.
We also offer guest post and other promotional opportunities for authors (and for readers who are looking for new books to read). We’re adding other features this year, but I’ll save that exciting news for the last question in this interview.
Esther Rabbit: Why do you do it?
We love books. We love authors. We originally started out (eleven years ago) to feature mainly small press books and authors because, at the time, they were largely overlooked by review sites. That’s since changed, and so have we, but honestly it started out of love.
Esther Rabbit: Is there any book everybody loved and you didn’t?
Marianne: “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. I have tried to read it three different times and can’t get past the first 50 pages. It’s literally a wall-banger for me.
Judy: Diana Gabaldon is one of MY favorite authors. Ironically, my answer to this question involves one of Marianne’s favorite authors. I’m not a huge fan of Nora Roberts (I know… that’s almost blasphemous in the world of romance). Contrarily enough, though, I love her alter ego, JD Robb.
Esther Rabbit: How did you start book reviewing and what kept you going?
Marianne: I was actually published by a small press and discovered how difficult it was to get my book reviewed. It was frustrating, and I realized other small press authors very likely had the same struggle (this was eleven years ago). So … I said to Judy, “I have an idea….”
Judy: …and I said, “yes!” I love working with Marianne. She’s quite literally the yin to my yang. We complement each other in so many ways, so we make a nice balance.
Esther Rabbit: What are the 5 immediate tasks you hope to accomplish in the near future?
This is an exciting year of change for Long and Short Reviews! We’re adding new features this year: TV and movie reviews, lifestyle blogs, recipes, a weekly giveaway, a weekly blog prompt (the Wednesday Weekly Blog Challenge), short story on site publication and more. We’re going to be an amazing one stop destination for all things fun, both IRL and bookish.
Find Marianne and Judy here:
Are you in the Writing Industry?
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And if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance, check out Lost in Amber:
“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“