1) How do you handle bad reviews?
Bad reviews are always disappointing, but they dont bother me as much anymore. I try to write the kind of books that I would have wanted to read as a teen, books that I hope my readers will enjoy. That said, there are always some people who dont like a particular book, no matter how awesome that book is. For any author, bad reviews are just part of the job. I try to learn from them by taking away something that might possibly help my writing.
2) What are your criteria for finding book bloggers to send a review copy to? How do you put your blogger list together?
The friendly neighbors at Penguin are awesome. They send galleys of my books out to lots of book bloggers and reviewers. When I get a galley request from a blogger I dont already know, I visit their site to confirm that everything is legit. Then I add that persons contact info to a list that I forward to Penguin. Before my first book was released, I searched for book bloggers to send galleys to. At this point, I only arrange for galleys to be sent to reviewers who contact me.
3) What review have you gotten that's been the most memorable or meaningful? What makes it the most memorable or meaningful one?
When Kirkus reviewed When It Happens, I loved the part that said, Like Sarah Dessen, Colasanti knows how teens operate. Comparison to Sarah is extremely flattering! This is probably my most memorable blurb, since its used frequently on promotional materials. The Waiting for You ad in this months Seventeen also used it.
Im always so relieved when readers can relate to my books in a way that improves their own lives. Some of my most memorable reviews were written by bloggers whove related their own experiences to my books. Mitali at Alley of Books recently said this about Waiting for You:
I didnt expect tears. Nor did I expect to have this sense of calm come over me. A peace Ive never felt before. Like something inside of me understood that it was okay to wait. It was okay to not have someone, there was always tomorrow. I had heard Love blossoms from friendships. Yesterday I was a dreamer. Today I am a believer.
This review made my heart happy. Believing that life could be better got me through really hard times when I was a teen. If I can help my readers believe in the infinite possibilities that exist for them, then Im doing my job.
4) How did you find my book blog, as well as any others that you frequent?
Dude, I totally dont remember how I found you! Ive actually only been online since 2005, but I remember that you were one of the first book bloggers I started communicating with. Maybe you found me around the time When It Happens was released? (Note: It was around when Take Me There ARCs were coming out actually- wasn't even blogging when When It Happens was released!) In any case, Im impressed with your determination and success. Happy Blogiversary! As for other blogs, I mostly visit them if I see an interesting link or a book I want to read has just been reviewed.
5) What was the first review you ever received? Did you do anything to celebrate it, if it was a positive one? What was your reaction like?
I remember being super anxious before When It Happens was released. I had no idea if anyone would like the book, much less the major reviewers. So when reviews started coming in and my editor sent them to me, I felt relieved that they didnt completely suck. One of my first major reviews was from The Washington Post. I liked this part:
"Colasanti obviously remembers the kind of love that makes your insides churn, belly flips and all. Her take on young romance is insightful, fresh and fun, her characters fully formed and likable."
I didnt celebrate the review. As with any bit of good news back then, I was just relieved that people were actually reading my book and liking it. It gave me hope for my future books.
6) Do you have any advice for bloggers writing reviews?
Whenever I read a review that says how much the blogger loved a book but doesnt tell me why, I get a bit frustrated. There was a review for Waiting for You that said something like, I loved this book so much! To tell you all the things I liked about it would take too long, and not much else. While its best to avoid spoilers, readers want to know specifics. What exactly did you like about the book? Was it the authors writing style, the realistic characters, the fun dialogue? Explaining your opinion in more depth allows the reader to get a better feel for the book. Also, I do advise bloggers to proofread their work, especially spelling. A poorly written review is much less convincing.
Thanks to both Robin and Susane for participating in these interviews and in my blogiversary! I love both of them so much- Robin for being the first author to offer up a review copy to me when I had just barely started out and also for being all-around AWESOME and Susane for also being awesome and so sweet to me and for being so much fun to chat with.