When I started a year ago, I knew nothing about Press Services (SP). But I quickly grasped the interest since in exchange for my novel, the person undertakes to provide public feedback: it is therefore targeted advertising because it is mainly aimed at potential readers. In this context, I contacted columnists through different means (see my article on the SP) and for 2023, managed to conclude partnerships. The principle is always the same, knowing that in addition, a partner undertakes to review all the novels published over the year. All the columnists who are my partners all have something special, whether in their sensitivity, their feedback or the relationship we have together. Obviously, it goes without saying that their chronicles are interesting with points of view where we find their “specific touch”.
However, as is often the case, there are people with whom the relationship has a little extra, a little something very special. This is why I suggest you discover Char_lit_often in an interview.
ST : Hello, thank you for taking some time for this exercise :). So how did you become a columnist?
Charlie : I learned to read even before first grade because it was a way for me to occupy myself and escape. I'm one of those people who reads every day because it's vital to me. So I read a lot and was constantly looking for new novels to discover. So, I started looking for recommendations on social networks to satisfy my bookish appetite. By discovering bookstagram accounts, another universe opened up to me and I came to the column a little by chance, through my research. In fact, I'm able to devour one story a day depending on my schedule because, what's more, I read very quickly. On the other hand, I notably forget the names of the characters and the titles when I finish. Which means that I found myself on several occasions resuming novels I had already read because the cover had changed. So I started to keep a list of my readings to help me find my way and from there came the desire to also share my opinions.
ST : It is certain that one of your particularities is the organization and meeting of deadlines!
Charlie : I have to, because over time, I have more and more MS and I have to keep a follow-up, otherwise I will quickly be overwhelmed. I allocate slots for SP, personal reading and BL.
ST : Because in addition to the column, you are also a beta reader for authors. For what ?
Charlie : This happened through the relationships that were built because I exchange a lot with the authors who contact me. When I take an SP, in addition to my column, I take notes and always send them off to the author (as for typos that I can notice in the text). Over time, some people asked me for my opinion in advance, then one thing led to another and it became a beta reading. As I read very quickly and in many different genres, this began to be known and I became BL for some of my partners.
ST : Another of your particularities is that you read digitally. For what ?
Charlie : Because with my reading speed, paper represents too much of a budget! The e-reader has changed my life and is good for my student wallet! I am a fan of the Kindle subscription which allows me to satisfy my passion for €10/month while the smallest paperback costs between €15 and €25 on average. And as a columnist, for the authors, it's a real plus because I honor all my SP via subscription. This way, the author has no printing costs or shipping costs and is also paid via the pages read in the subscription. Finally, given the amount of reading I do per month, I wouldn't have enough space at home, especially since I already have a good place to occupy with knitting which is my other passion :)
ST : I see another advantage in it, which is that I can send you my novels in preview and thus have your review as soon as it is released.
Charlie : Absolutely. But this requires rigorously following the outputs, hence my file lol. Because not only do I post a column on my social networks, but I also write reviews on Amazon to help authors.
ST : Is the help you can provide important to you?
Charlie : A lot! It's one of my driving forces. I like to think I can be helpful and supportive. Moreover, this is what pushes me to communicate a lot with authors to find out what they expect from me and how I can meet their needs.
ST : How did you determine the charter of your feed on Insta? Because we clearly identify your posts.
Charlie : The fact of reading digitally means that I cannot take “nice photos” with the book since it is on my e-reader. As a result, I organized my visuals in order to transcribe the important elements that I retained and I always present my columns using the same model. Because this also requires time in addition to writing and it's easier for me to organize in advance and schedule, otherwise I will quickly be overwhelmed and may forget a post/review. This is the disadvantage of this system because beautiful photos appeal more to the public, but this is the compromise I found.
ST : Frankly, your organization is top notch in my opinion. You even planned slots for “emergencies”!
Charlie : Yes, because the authors also talk to each other and I am regularly contacted at "last minute". So, leaving myself some margin from one month to the next allows me to be able to respond to an unexpected request.
ST : Like me last May, huh? An express BL in 3 days or how you “saved my life”!
Charlie : It was my pleasure. Again, I like to help.
As you will have understood, Charlie is particularly precious to me because:
- She reads digitally and I can send her my novels in preview to have a review as soon as my book is released
- She also reads through the Kindle subscription in order to support me through the pages read for which I receive a (small) royalty from Amazon
- She is super organized and structured, which allows her to guarantee a column date
- She publishes her reviews on many platforms outside of her social networks to maximize visibility for the author
- She accepts BLs and has relevant/constructive feedback
- And finally, she is super nice and with fluid and friendly communication.
So, some will say that her account does not have the minimum "grail" of 1000 subscribers or more which is a threshold requested by many MEs but, for me, that does not really matter because she really brings a lot in as a partner.
And you, are you convinced by the partnership system? What do you think of such a collaboration? Tell me everything in the comments :)