Eveline Soors is the Book Review Editor of Euro-Reviews, a Belgium-based online review site specializing in women's fiction — biographies, memoires, African-American books, chick-lit, column books, erotica, and other women related non-fiction. What makes Euro-Reviews stand apart from other sites is that they also review books written in Dutch. For American authors, this is a good venue to showcase their work to the Dutch-speaking readers who visit the site. Soors is currently looking for ebook reviewers and is open to submissions from authors. She also offers a wide array of promotional opportunities for writers who would like to publicize their work.
Thanks for participating in this series of interviews, Eveline. How long have you been reviewing?
I started Euro-Reviews around August 2005, so I’d say I officially started reviewing around that time. I started reading and keeping notes on what I’d read long before, though. When I was still in school and we got these lists of books we should read (that everybody hated by the way, everyone except me!) I actually read them and wanted to write the summary of the story down as well as what I thought of it, just as a reminder for later but also as a sort of inventory of the books I’ve read and my thoughts on them. I didn’t know yet at that time that I could share them with millions of others. It has so much more purpose now! I would also like to say that I think reviewing has done a lot for me personally. English is not my main language (that would be Dutch, and French is my second language), and after having read lots of reviews over these last few years I have expanded my vocabulary so much. I love the English language so I welcome every improvement.
What makes Euro-Reviews stand out among so many other online review sites?
I think that one of the strongest points of Euro-Reviews is that we offer reviews in Dutch and English language. This means that even though a Dutch reader is looking for a Dutch book he or she might be attracted by a cover or a title from an English review and ‘accidentally’ get to know these book and its authors. I’m convinced that a lot of readers discover great books that way. A lot of authors also like to know if their books are appreciated just as much overseas. Another interesting aspect of our site is that readers can leave small comments on books. This is a good thing because this way you encourage interaction between authors and readers and between readers and other readers. Also, we try not to focus on erotica books only (already too many sites do that), but we also want to cover biographies, memories, African-American books, chick-lit, column books, and other women related non-fiction.
What is the most challenging aspect of running a review site?
Finding adequate reviewers who are willing to review in return for e-books and a print every now and then. You have to trust them and be sure that they will not drop out before handing in the review. Because there is no contract (since this is fully voluntary), that is a difficult thing. Keeping up with the high amount of review requests and e-mails is also quite challenging when you have a full time job.
Are you currently recruiting more reviewers? If so, what are your guidelines?
We are constantly searching for new reviewers. Because of the high rate of new e-book review requests we are currently only accepting reviewers that want to review e-books, though. People interested in reviewing for Euro-Reviews can fill out a form on our website with some basic information like how many books they can review for us, what languages they speak, if they’ve reviewed in the past or are currently reviewing elsewhere as well. They also need to write a test review on a book they’ve read, or use a review they’ve done in the past. I see from there if they’ve got what it takes and if they ‘have’ it they can join and start right away.
How should an author contact you about a review request?
We review prints, e-books and (just a few) audiobooks. Authors can contact Euro-Reviews by visiting our website and reading the ‘About Us’ section first so they know who to contact and what information to submit.
How do you select the books you review? How do you determine which reviews to post on your site?
I try to upload as much requests as time allows me to and reviewers can select from that list. I never force someone to read a book they might not like. Everyone likes different genres, some like erotica, others don’t, so I always mention those things clearly so they know what book they are getting. I post all reviews submitted by reviewers unless I find them to be copied off from another site, badly written, or really offensive.
Do you think it’s okay for reviewers to resell the books they review? What about advance review copies?
I think it’s okay to resell prints because you can’t keep all the books if you review a lot – it might just get too crowded. Reselling e-books would be illegal. Advance review copies copies shouldn’t be sold either because they might be slightly different from the actual book and if it’s still unedited it might not do good to the author. Personally I keep all my books, unless they are really bad. The only really bad books I ever got were those I received when I did paid reviews for a (very) short time. The weekly deadline and the awful selection (9 out of 10 of the books were absolutely not my thing) made me quit quite quickly. So those are the only books I ever tried to sell. Nobody wants them though.
Have you received aggressive responses from authors or publishers because of a negative review? If yes, how do you handle it?
It has happened. I feel it is unprofessional of an author (or publisher) to directly attack a reviewer for just giving his or her opinion. I can expect it from readers but an author should not get involved as it always leads to a nasty situation! Every time an aggressive response is given it really disappoints the reviewer and it just feels like you can’t be honest or you’ll get snapped at. (It only happened twice over the three years that we’re reviewing.)
What does your site offer readers?
We offer reviews for our Dutch as well as our English audience and try to cover both prints and e-books as well as an occasional audiobook. We’ve also had the pleasure to interview several authors in the past and hopefully many more to follow. Authors, and even readers, are free to share stories related to either books or travelling. It would be really nice to have a list of experiences from people who visited different places all over Europe. We also have a weekly column done by Morgan Ashbury and from time to time we have a listing of contests.
What promotional opportunities does your site offer authors?
Authors are free to place book excerpts and promo messages in our yahoo group. They can place banners or cover ads on our site, they can do a column if they’d like or write articles on our site. They can post their contests and I also personally select ‘announcements’ every now and then to give some promo to (mostly) organisations or events that I think deserve it.
Thanks for your time, Eveline! I appreciate it!