Until six months ago, Linda Mae Baldwin was the Inspirational Review Coordinator for Road to Romance. Though she still reviews for them, she now primarily reviews for her own site. In addition, she's an Associate Reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine, and authors and publicists often send her advance review copies and finished books for review. For review requests, you may contact Linda via her Web site.
Thanks for your time, Linda. How long have you been reviewing?
I have been reviewing for about five years. I was the inspirational review coordinator for Road To Romance until the owner sold it last year, and I’ve been a reviewer for Romantic Times Magazine for about three years. Just recently I’ve been putting reviews on my own Web site LindaMaeBaldwin.com.
Tell us about your site.
I have a personal award, the Flamingo Award. If you get Five Flamingo’s it’s like stellar. If you only get one flamingo, it means I didn’t like the book too much.
How many books do you review a month?
I do at least one for Romantic Times, and want to do at least five for my site, but haven’t gotten there yet.
How do you select the books you review?
Usually a publisher, public relations firm or author requests a review from me.
How do you determine which reviews to post on your site?
I am going to post all that I read. (Eventually.)
What is your policy when it comes to negative reviews?
I try to be honest. If I can’t get into a book, I say so, if it’s slow, I say so….I also try to always something good. There is always something good.
There was a lot of controversy last year between print publication reviewers and online bloggers. In your opinion, what defines a "legitimate" reviewer?
Good question. I guess anyone who wants to offer up a review can do so. It’s got to be fair and balanced though.
What is your stand on paid reviews?
I would take it but so far, no offers. **grin**
Do you think it’s okay for reviewers to resell the books they review? What about advance review copies (ARCs)?
This is a HUGE issue, it seems. Even publishers are conflicted (I’ve asked a few and they give different answers.) Although, it’s not about selling the ARC’s, it seems we all understand that is a no-no. Yet, they do show up on eBay and other sites. It’s unethical I think, especially REAL ARC’s, that are totally full of typos and can even be totally different than the final product, to sell these. It’s not fair to authors or publishers.
What are the most common mistakes amateur reviewers make?
Completely praising a book or completely trashing one.
With so many major newspapers getting rid of their book review sections, how do you see the future of online review sites?
I’m not so sure they will be successful. I try to hit Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and CBD sites to leave reviews there too. They get a lot of exposure.
Do you keep the author’s feelings in mind when you review?
Do you mean do I worry about hurting them? I guess to a certain extent. I do try to offer a balanced review so there is no way someone is going to be slammed.
Have you received aggressive responses from authors or publishers because of a negative review? If yes, how do you handle it?