In this series of interviews, I’m talking to a bunch of people who are the lifeblood of the #indieauthor. Their hard work and time, their enthusiasm and commitment, enables the #selfpublishing community to thrive. Simply put, if they didn’t review and promote our books, no one would know about us. Which is why I thought it was time to turn the tables and ask them the questions.
My guest is Dave from Fanfiaddict.com. This is an exciting and varied site with lots of different sections to explore and a well-informed team of reviewers. Let’s get started.
1. Tell us about yourself, Dave.
Well, I am a 33-year-old father of 2 girls, living out the “dream” in Alabama. Graduated from Auburn University with a marketing degree in 2013 and work in telecommunications (have worked in this industry for about a decade now). Reading is a big passion of mine, alongside spending time with my family and the occasional video game.
2. What prompted you to start blogging and reviewing?
After reading Hugh Howey’s Wool and Andy Weir’s The Martian back in 2013/14, Amazon prompted me to check out some other indie titles that were similar. Ended up befriending several authors on FB who I would go on to beta read for and review for on Amazon. Ended up being scouted by Petros T. for Booknest.eu and blogged there for about a year, then decided to branch off and create my own thing. To say I haven’t looked back would be a lie, but I am glad I have kept moving forward.
3. In a typical week, how much time do you spend reading and blogging?
Before having kids or after? Lol. Uhh, reading – probably around 10-15 hours a week if I get the down time or ability to listen to audiobooks, sometimes more. Blogging – maybe 5 hours or so a week? Usually crafting cover reveal posts or random blog posts that people have asked for. I don’t review nearly as much as I used to as blurbing has sorta become my thing.
4. I know I said your tastes are eclectic, but do you have a favourite type of book? Or genre? Can we tempt you to list some favourite authors?
Fantasy is always going to be my bread and butter, but horror is quickly gaining. Epic, sprawling fantasy novels are my favourite but on occasion, I love to binge a quick spine-tingling horror novel that keeps me up at night. Favourite authors right now? Do you have all day? Haha. Probably John Gwynne, Michael R. Fletcher, Anna Smith Spark and Joe Abercrombie to name a few in fantasy. Stephen Graham Jones, Josh Malerman, Eric LaRocca and Kealan Patrick Burke in horror.
5. Reviewing and blogging requires energy and commitment. What sustains you?
Author engagement, really. I’ve always been big on building relationships in the community and I love chatting with my favourite authors. So if I can read a novel of theirs and love it, starting that dialogue is big for me. It is also nice to be able to talk about books with other like-minded folks. My wife reads, but we are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to genre.
6. Conversely, what annoys you about this job?
The book community and its toxicity (LOL). Kidding. Uhh, probably on some level, expectation and trying to keep up a level of consistency. It can be really difficult putting your thoughts down in 140 characters, let alone an entire review page. I am not one to put myself alone on camera, so the process of coming up with a concise and heavy hitting blurb can be a hair pulling nightmare.
7. What “ingredients” does a book need to have to really get you excited. I’m not talking generic things like world building or character either. More specific things.
I’m a big mood reader so a book just has to feel right at that moment. Fantastic narrators tend to be the best ‘ingredient’ as I do listen to a ton of audiobooks. If I can’t get behind the narrator, I tend to shelve the book (luckily, this is RARE). With regard to physical reads, manga has to have a certain artistic style and really jump off the page pretty quickly or I lose interest. Novellas/novels need to have a pretty instant hook, which tends to be character driven or a hammer dropping scene.
8. If you were a character in a fantasy story, what kind of role would you play? And would you survive to the final page?!
Definitely an archer. I am not one to jump straight into the fray, but I will GLADLY let loose arrows over my comrades' backs. I’ve always been into characters with ‘range’ since my first days playing video games. COD – I was always a sniper. It’s just fun picking people off :’)
9. You’re going on holiday and you’re going to have lots of time to relax (so without the family!) What five books would you take with you?
Going to go with books off the TBR here, so Gardens of the Moon, Dune, The Shadow of What Was Lost, The Stand and House of Leaves.
10. You help authors in lots of ways. Tell us how.
Well, I started with reviewing and then beta reading (proof-reading mostly). I branched out on the blog by helping with cover reveals, guest spotlights, excerpts from upcoming/recently released books, etc. When the dreaded C hit in 2020, I began what is now TBRCON by running a small virtual convention called MAYDAYCON. Now, I just help spread the word about upcoming releases, book sales, new covers, contracts… you name it. I also blurb new books that I read if I feel so led. Honestly, I just try and do every single thing that I can to help as many people as possible. That is why FanFiAddict has grown to over 30 peeps.
11. Tell us what qualities matter when you write a book review. Not everyone finds them easy to do so what do you comment on and why?
Honestly, when I was writing reviews regularly, I always focused on my likes and dislikes. No one wants to hear a rehashing of the synopsis. If you liked or didn’t like a book, that is what other readers want to know. Why did you like or dislike it? What about the book made you give it that rating? People truly want to know if a book is for them or not, and they can’t glean that from the cover and synopsis alone.
12. You’ve always been an active supporter of #indieauthors. Why?
Indie authors are the future. The majority of folks have been down on indies for YEARS because they state the quality just isn’t there. That simply is a load of $h!t (pardon my French). While I definitely enjoy tons of trad, I read tons of indie novels every year. In fact, most of my author friends are indies. I also credit indie authors for being so open and engaging with the community. You just don’t really get that from a lot of trad authors.
13. Which superhero would you be? (Marvel or DC!)
Marvel, hands down. Probably Ant-Man. I’m snarky but also quite helpful in a fight lol
14. When you read, do you listen to music? If so, what kind?
Not even a little bit. I honestly need complete silence when I read, maybe even a teeny bit of white noise. I get distracted WAY too easily.
15. Finally, if our readers want to discover more reviewers/bloggers, who would you recommend?
It is a heck of a list. I hope you are ready: