Interview With Sandra Lopez, Author

Need a Book Review

Q: First, tell us how you came to be a published author and how you came up with the idea to provide services to authors.
A: I wrote my first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, WHILE I was still in college. The book follows the story of a 14-year old Mexican-American girl trying to get out of the barrio and make something of her life. Full of humor and refreshing dialogue, this book was voted as an inspirational favorite by teen readers. Shortly after that, I wrote the sequel entitled Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009. In the second book, the lead heroine gains new confidence and strength as she learns the hard way that “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.”I write stories with strong and independent female characters that I, myself, would like to read about. When I’m not writing, I get my fill on reading for the enjoyment as well as to improve my craft. Like every published author, I was emailing book bloggers, asking them to please review my book. But, like querying to a publisher, most of them were unresponsive and some weren’t interested. And, of course, I used paid services that would list my book in their newsletters, reaching potential readers that may or may not review my book. That worked out okay. But let’s face it: getting reviews is tough. It’s hard when your book isn’t well-publicized and no one is willing to give it chance. That’s what started my book blog. Initially, it started as just a blog for my own personal reviews on books that I read. At that point, I started taking requests from authors and publishers. My own personal review would be free, but, of course, like every other blogger, I only chose the ones that I wanted and rejected those that I didn’t. Yes, my readings tastes are pretty open in a wide variety of genres, but there are some that just don’t really interest me (i.e. westerns, politics sports, etc.) So how do I help those rejected authors get reviews? After all, I couldn’t possibly review them all. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting a book club of readers and a review program to supply authors with more reviews besides the one that I give them. Readers can sign up to get free books from authors, and authors can get reviews for their books. It’s a simple, easy, and convenient program. And it’s working!
Q: How can this review program benefit writers?
A: The review program allows authors to list their books and reach a wide range of readers. It’s been a hit so far! About 85% of participating authors get at least 1 –2 reviews on Amazon, and we receive over 75reviews a month from readers. And the best part about it is that we offer free ways for authors to list their books in our program. As an author, I totally understand that budgets can be tight, which makes it harder (maybe even impossible) to promote your books. Most authors shy away to any promo service when there’s a price. What better price is there than FREE?
Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of a book to make it sell?
A: The story itself along with a fabulous cover is definitely important. But probably the most important would have to be reviews. Let’s face it: reviews are the life blood of any book. More reviews equal a greater online exposure and a higher sales ranking, which, could result in sales. My book, Single Chicas,has over 70 reviews, and that has given me more royalties on Kindle sales. The reviews made the difference because before I got no royalties, and now I’m surprised to actually see one come through knowing that I didn’t do any promotion. Book reviews are definitely the key thing here.

Q: How is your author review program unique?’

A: My review program is unique because I offer a free option for authors, and I do that because I want authors of all kinds to get a fair chance at getting reviews for their books. Every book deserves a review. These are HONEST and LEGIT reviews. There is no buying reviews here. Readers are free to choose any book and reserve the right in whether or not a review gets posted. It’s all strictly voluntary and 100% honest.

Q: I see on your website that you also do graphics. Would you mind telling us a little more about that end of your service?

A: As a graphic designer,I help authors with book covers, bookmarks, flyers, social media graphics, headers, and so on. I often try to offer clients bundle packages that include graphic design, book promotion, AND an opportunity to get listed in my review program to reach potential reviewers daily. I definitely know what authors want and I try to give that to them in a bulk deal.

Q: How can authors and readers sign up?

For authors interested in submitting their book to get reviews, please go to: https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/08/submit-your-book.html

For readers interested in signing up to read free books, please go to: https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/read-review-program.html

Backstory Sessions Available Here Each Sunday

With productions of plays halted, this is a great time to stay connected via podcast. Backstory Sessions tells the “stories behind the stories” of writing and creative projects of myself and Matt Rifenburg. New episodes release each Sunday at 9:00 pm and can be heard here and on ITunes, podbean and Spotify.

Arthur Canada, Corri Taylor and Johnathan Stephens Episode 10 premieres this Sunday at 9:00
Jeff Rasley, Go Your Own Way, Travel Adventures
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Class of 2020 seniors discuss missing so much of their senior year Bethany Smith, Valedictorian Aaliyah Flanley and Masyn Mitchell
Matt Rifenburg, travels to Ukraine

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Backstory Sessions, Episode 4 “All Things Tat”

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Tamara Henson, Tattoo Artist and Penny Forman, lover of tattoos
Backstory Session, episode 4 Click HERE

Matt and Cat talk to special guests: tattoo artist Tamara Henson, and Penny Forman, who has gotten many tattoos over the past 20 years. They discuss why people get them, some of the different aspects involved in choosing and getting them, as well as what its like to permanently (usually) ink someone for a living. Statistics and unique perspectives from both sides of the needle. Some Profanity.

Backstory Sessions, Episode 3

Backstory Sessions, episode 3 Click HEREMIFS9918[1]Cat has an awesome conversation with 4 special guests: Tiffany Early, Joey Stuckey, Jared Jackson, and Jeff Arseneaux. All involved have dealt with others’ perceptions of them and offer amazing insight in this discussion about how they deal with and have dealt with situations, people, comments, and life in general. It is a funny, very candid, and wide-ranging episode that we know will foster more awareness, and entertain in the process. It is long-ish, but really worth the listen.