Today’s interview is with a reader who decided to take her love for books to another level. Her website is a platform for writing book reviews.
Hello Sofia Talley!
Do we really need another web site for writing book reviews?
I think we do. The book reviews featured on my website are very different from the ones you’re familiar with. To review a book is to select (checkmark) the qualities of the book, starting from general things like the genre, the narrative, the point of view presented, all the way to more specific things about the story line and the characters. This makes the book reviews really easy to write and to search. I’m a member of some wonderful Facebook groups and I hear readers asking for recommendation on books with certain qualities (like funny or heartbreaking), or books with a specific story line, or a specific leading character, and with my platform it’s simple to find it.
Why not find books on Amazon or similar websites?
First of all, I love Amazon. I think it’s amazing that authors can easily publish their books, without going through mediators who decide what readers like or don’t like. I think it’s doing great things for the publishing world, just like what the internet has done to newspapers. The only “problem” is that now there are a lot of available books, and we need better ways to separate the remarkable ones from the poor ones. Book ratings and book reviews are an excellent way to do it, except that they often depend on readers preferences. We have different tastes, so the book rating is not enough. We need to be able to search based on more criteria, to find exactly the books we love. So sure, we can dive into the book reviews and read more details about the book, but this usually takes a lot of time.
Ok, so let’s roll back a little bit. Tell us about yourself and what made you create this website.
Sure. I’m 42, I have three kids, my husband is a teacher, and up until a few months ago I was a software engineer, working in a big, international high-tech company. I always loved reading books but I usually didn’t have the time. I also knew that once I started reading a good fiction book, I couldn’t put it down, so I limited myself to non-fiction books.
Everything changed for me when I had to go through a medical procedure in my eyes. For a couple of months I couldn’t watch TV, read, work or leave my home. I was down, and feeling sorry for myself, so I looked for an indulgence to pass the time and to make me feel better. At first I started listening to fun books on Audible. Later, when I could read again, I started reading non-stop. Mostly romance novels, mostly chick-lit. I felt it changed me and had a good impact on my life.
How has it impacted your life?
There’s something magical about reading all the time. It’s like living in a fantasy world. My imagination developed, and I started having bigger dreams. I became more emotional and excited (in a good way). I started to enjoy reading steamy sex scenes, it had a positive effect on my sex drive and my sex life, and I recommend anyone who’s struggling with this (especially if you’re married) to give it a try…
Your website is focusing on romantic books, and is addressing women only. Why is that?
I love reading a variety of genres, but I find that the romantic genre is the most inspiring one. Romantic books are a real-life fantasy, they make you laugh and cry, they feature beautiful love stories, dilemmas you can relate to, and they always have happy endings. I think most people enjoy a good romance. Most people loved the movie “Pretty Woman”, right? We don’t often allow ourselves to do it. Why women? Because I wanted to discuss private thoughts I had after reading these books, the kind you discussed with a close friend. But I didn’t have anyone to talk to because my closest friends were not into these books (just like me, one year ago…). So I wanted my website to encourage women to write openly about what romantic books made them feel. That’s why my website is also an anonymous community for women who love reading romantic books, and want to talk about intimate things.
What’s your biggest challenge now?
As a typical crowdsourcing service, the search tool will be more valuable when there’s a large collection of book reviews to explore, so my goal is to persuade women to write book reviews. This is very challenging, because most readers don’t like to write reviews. I understand that because up until a little while ago I also didn’t write reviews. I made it as simple as possible to do so on my website, so I hope it will change. Another challenge I have, is to remain anonymous, because I want to be able to share freely personal things on my website. As a typical book worm and an introvert, I’m not very active on social media, but I realize it’s an ideal way to connect with relevant readers. I’m making my first steps on Facebook, so if you like reading romantic books, and want to connect, you can send me a friend request.
Is there anything you want to ask our readers?
Yes! I would love to hear your feedback on my idea, preferably on my website www.SofaGirls.com. I would love it if you gave it a try, and reviewed one of your favorite books. It’s really easy, most of the work is to checkmark the book qualities. There’s still a chance to fine tune the featured book qualities, so they include the kind of qualities you’re looking for in a great read. This March (2016) I’m running a promotion, and anyone who writes a book review enters a contest for winning a $50 Amazon Gift Card. The more books you review, the higher your chances are to win, so I invite you to participate and help us all discover great romantic reads.
And if there are authors out there, I also invite you to review your book on my website. There’s still time for your books to stand out before the number of reviewed books grows larger.
Find SofaGirls on Facebook
Click below to go to the SofaGirls website.