Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Blogger Conversation with Brett Michael Orr

I'm excited to start a new series of posts with a group that is under appreciated--book bloggers!

Book bloggers are obviously so important to authors. They give consistent reviews. They open their blogs to us. They are readers and fans! I think we should honor them more.

So this series of interviews was born! Hopefully it will help authors find bloggers and give everyone else a better appreciation of them.

Brett Michael Orr is a recent addition to the book blogger scene and I love that he favors my favorite genre. Be sure to check out his links at the bottom of the interview.

What types of books do you review?  I mostly review Young Adult novels. It’s a genre I absolutely love and am heavily involved in, from SF/Fantasy to the odd Contemporary. Occasionally I’ll review some epic fantasy or even graphic novels too!

Do you have any guidelines for authors to follow in contacting you? A link will work. At the moment I don’t have any specific guidelines to request reviews, as I typically have Advance Review Copies from publishers, or books I’ve purchased myself. Of course, I’m always contactable via Twitter (@brettmichaelorr) if you want to talk or discuss a guest post/interview.

Do you post anything besides reviews—such as cover art or giveaways? My blog is a mixture of blogger interviews, book reviews, short stories, writing tips, and my own meme ‘Instant Flashback’ where I collate my week’s Instagram photos. I’ve also done cover reveals and Top Ten lists as well!

How do you find books to review or do they come to you? A little of both. I have some Australian publishers that send me ARCs to review ahead of release date, but I still purchase my own books as well. I make a point of reviewing everything I read – to improve my own reviewing and critiquing ability, but also to spread information about books that some of my fans might not have read before.

What got you into blogging about books? I only started blogging in late 2014. I realized how much I wanted to be an author, and how the online writing community was the missing part of my life. Naturally, while I was writing books, I also wanted to read more – and reviewing them felt like a natural way of breaking into blogging more regularly.

What elements go into a good review and how long does it take to write one? Everyone differs! Some of my blogging friends take weeks to craft a review. For me, I typically know most of what I want to say by the time I’ve read the book. I formulate the review in my head as I go along, so often it only takes half an hour to write a review – preparing typographic images and tweets takes longer sometimes!

I try to make my reviews honest and fair. Even if I don’t like a book, I’ll find what did work – and I always suggest that readers try a book for themselves, because opinions differ. Mostly, I want my reviews to be unbiased and critical, lightly touching on all aspects of the book and providing a balanced review.

How often do you post reviews? I try to post reviews weekly, but it depends on how quickly I can read a book. I always review books right away though.

Can you think of any special methods or personality types that an author has used to really help you draw close to a character? Making the reader associate with a character is the real key. This doesn’t mean they have to be likeable; of course I’m never going to ‘like’ a villain, but if I can associate with him on some level, then I form a bond with a character. Also, I love when characters switch allegiances and loyalties – there’s nothing better than having your preconceived ideas proven wrong midway through a book.

What types of things make for an extra special book? The kind you don’t forget? A book that takes my expectations and beats them by a mile. At the moment, that’s A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU; a phenomenal idea that was perfectly executed and simply one of the best books I’ve had the pleasure to read.

Any marketing tips you’ve noticed work really well for authors? Be engaged with your readers and particularly your reviewers. I understand that being published must be busy, but completely ignoring readers/reviewers is really hurtful and makes us feel devalued. Some authors I follow are amazingly interactive and it helps build a much stronger connection with their audience – we feel like authors actually appreciate what we’re doing.

Favorite books you’ve reviewed. A Thousand Pieces of You – my favorite read this year. Warm Bodies – including the movie – is one of the best books/films of all time in my opinion. My first-ever ARC review for Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here (out this month!) will always be important to me. And Red Queen too – I can’t wait for the sequel.

Books you are looking forward to in the next year. Glass Sword will be my first pick here – it’s the sequel to Red Queen, and I’m dying to read it. I’ll be interested for The Vagrant’s sequel next year, and there’s always the possibility that Isaac Marion will return from his Twitter absence to reveal the second Warm Bodies book; I’m hoping for a Way Down Dark sequel next year too. (Wow, that’s a lot of sequels!)

Do you prefer kindle or actual books when reading? I used to be a die-hard Kindle supporter, but since I started purchasing physical books and getting involved in the Instagram community, I can’t go back to digital. There’s something tangibly human about holding a book that digital just can’t compare with.

What’s your favorite spot to read? I don’t have a ‘reading spot’, which I really want to find. I typically read on the bus, at lunch, or at night; but lazy afternoons spent reading in a recliner are really the best though – so that’s my favorite spot at the moment.

Give us your best advice for a beginning book blogger. I haven’t even passed my first year as a book blogger, but already I’ve learned so much. I’d say be honest with everything you do, and get involved with the writing community by following hashtags, communicating with people, reviewing books, suggesting guest posts or interviews, and just generally talking with as many people as you can. I’ve met some amazing friends and collaborators through the silliest of initial conversations; and when you’re growing your audience, it’s important to keep that channel of communication open.

Experiment, find what works for you, and soon you’ll be blogging daily and wondering how you ever lived without it.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Michelle, it was an honor!

I’m a writer, programmer and gamer from Brisbane, Australia. I want to produce quality commercial fiction read the world over.
I’m an avid fan of all forms of creative media. From movies to TV shows, games and books, every form of creative media has something to teach us, and I hope to create page-turners that will keep you reading well into the night.
Some of my favorite writers include Garth Nix, Christopher Paolini, Neal Shusterman and James Dashner. I enjoy listening to Coldplay, James Blunt, Linkin Park, Green Day and Paramore. And if I’m not hard at work writing a new book (or updating my blog!), I’ll probably be found goofing around on Xbox.

Founder of The Book Creators:


  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog Michelle, it was so great to answer your questions!

  2. Nice interview. I like that Brett takes the time to find something that did work for him even if he doesn't like the book.

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