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FANTASY READER Q &A 

For this Q & A we asked 2 prolific fantasy readers to give us insights on how they pick a book, what they look for, what keeps them a fan, and many other questions that often times Authors don't get in perspective. 

Meet Angel Haze and Kelly Erickson. They both appeared on an episode of Fandom Forum recently talking about Andy Peloquin's Hero of Darkness series. That video is below here. 

Now both are either about to join the published author world or have left it behind but both have incredible reader groups and fancy themselves big time readers. Especially when it comes to Fantasy. So if you don't know either one of these awesome ladies you should and check out their groups while you're at it. 

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    Rank the following in order of most important factor when it comes to choosing a book to invest time into to read and review -Cover -Friend Recommendations -Reviews -The Blurb -Interaction on social media with the author first -The first few pages hooking you in
    ANGEL: That’s a hard one. A good cover is imperative to catch my eye, but usually, my reads tend to be either from friend’s recommendations and/or interacting with authors in various fantasy book groups. If a friend recommends a book, I generally don’t even look at the reviews. The blurb would come next, the first few pages the last thing I look at. KELLY: 1 -Friend Recommendations -- I know which of my friends have similar taste in books. 2 -The Blurb -- I want to know that this is a whole book, not an episodic piece of a book. And if there are errors in the blurb, I know the book will be filled with errors, so I won't read it. 3 -Reviews -- I read the "bad" reviews, 3 star reviews are good for saying what is good and bad about the book. 4 -The first few pages hooking you in -- Vital. Once I decide to check out a book, if I am not hooked by the third paragraph, I may put it down and go to the next book on my pile. 5 -Interaction on social media with the author first -- although interaction in person puts this at #1. 6-Cover -- not really important to me. Except for those naked, headless torso romance covers. Absolute turn off.
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    What do you feel is the biggest misconception authors have about readers that they need to pay more attention to or change their mindset on?
    ANGEL: Again, an eye-catching cover. The whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a load of crap. A poor cover that screams amateur makes readers question the quality of the book. If the author cheaped out on the over, did they skip having it professionally edited as well? Of course, many times that’s not the case, but it can make the difference whether I click on the image to read the blurb or bypass it for something that looks more promising. The other thing would be too much backstory at the beginning. I want to get into the action of the story right from the get-go, not be bogged down with details and descriptions before I’ve had a chance to bond with the character or care about their plight. KELLY: Readers do not want every last detail. Give impressions with telling details instead. Don't say he was wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt with the print of his favorite band, a black leather jacket with zippered pockets and zippers at the hips and wrists, and black boots with shiny brass buckles... just say his AC/DC T-shirt and leathers made him look like a seasoned biker until you looked closer to see everything was pristine. He probably never even sat on a Harley in his life.
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    What is your biggest pet peeve when reading that may actually stop you from finishing a book?
    ANGEL: A plot that goes nowhere, having to really suspend my disbelief, or dialogue that thickens an accent to the point where it’s unreadable. KELLY: I can not stand a huge dump of background information. I only need a few details scattered throughout the book. It's like meeting a new person. Do you read a complete dossier on them before you even say hello? No. You meet them, chat a while. Discover he loves dogs but can't have one in his apartment building. Later you see him beat up old Toyota. You learn about people bit by bit. Characters should be the same way.
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    What’s 1 book you always recommend that may not be well known to the masses (Indie if possible)?
    ANGEL: One book. You’re kidding, right? Shall I also add which limb I’d choose if forced to sever one off? (And yes, it’s THAT hard. lol) I’ll compromise and give you a short list of series starters: Trial of Stone by Andy Peloquin Fractured Throne by Lee H. Haywood Wrecker’s Gate by Eric T. Knight Threat of Shadows by JA Andrews Child of the Flames by D.W. Hawkins A Sellsword’s Compassion by Jacob Peppers Duel of Fire by Jordan Rivet Waters of Salt & Sin by Alisha Klapheke Halfbloods Rising by JT Williams Soul Render by T.L. Branson Dragon School by Sarah K.L. Wilson All indie fantasy. All brilliantly crafted adventures with the potential to rival the greats. I’ve read so many gems that absolutely CRUSH indie stigmas and I keep finding more! KELLY: I can't say enough great things about Patrick O'Sheen's books. Especially his Chronicles of Marithe books. It's been years since I first read Dreamer and I STILL get all emotional just thinking about it.
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    What are your thoughts on reviews, do you review everything, review only the good things, think they are overrated and never do them?
    ANGEL: I review everything I finish. I never post negative reviews. What I don’t care for, another will absolutely love and I don’t want to taint someone else’s experience or prevent someone from reading a book they would have otherwise loved. That being said, I’ve bought a few books based on a negative review because it all came down to personal preferences. One I came across said something like, “Well written fantasy, but too dark, too violent and in the male POV.” To her those were negatives. To me, they were bonuses. A review is a way of thanking the author and drumming up excitement for the books, helping them spread the word. When I love a book, I want the world to know about it! There are too many hidden gems that need to be brought to the surface. KELLY: When I was actively doing a book blog, I reviewed every indie book. Now I only review books that I would rate 3, 4, or 5 stars. And only indie books as I feel they need the boost. I even have a "How to write a review" paragraph that I post all the time to encourage more people to review indie books. HOW TO WRITE A REVIEW By Kelly J Erickson Fill in the blanks: I ( loved, liked, read, disliked, hated) this book. The story is ( exciting, fun, intriguing, awful, lacking any plot, beautifully written,...) The characters are ( wonderful, very real, thrilling, trite, …) I really liked (the snarky friend, how funny it is, the beautiful love story, the HAWT sexy scenes,...)
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    What is your favorite format to “read” a book, paperback, e-book, or audiobook?
    ANGEL: Ebooks. It’s the convenience. I can read it anywhere and read according to my moods. KELLY: That's complicated. I prefer hardback. I am very tactile and a hardcover feels so rich and luxurious. I prefer paperbacks at home where I can keep them clean and safe. I also read on my Nook and Kindle as I can't afford to buy ALL my books on paper. They are also good for reading on the go. Plus I'd need a much bigger house if I bought all books on papet. My library already rivals my local public library branch. And for road trips (I take several each year) and when I am knitting or sewing (what I do for a living) Audiobooks are a lifesaver. Or a sanity saver.
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    Which one of the formats do you think you will be more into in 5 years?
    ANGEL: Probably still ebooks, but I am starting to purchase more audiobooks so I can get more adventures in! KELLY: I don't see changing how I read books. Perhaps a few more audiobooks when I don't have to keep my ears pealed listening for my mom.
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    What do you prefer reading a series one at a time, waiting and binging the series in its entirety?
    ANGEL: I don’t wait until a series is done. I couldn’t do it if I tried. I’m okay with waiting until I’m chomping at the bit. It adds to the experience! Since I started uncovering some truly amazing indie reads, I’ve been bingeing, experimenting with countless authors because I am curious to know what other adventures I’ve been missing out on!! KELLY: I am answering these together as it is a very hot issue with me. I hate reading serials. I prefer each book to be able to stand on its own. No cliffhanger non-endings. Each story needs to be complete. But a book series, where there are several related books, I read as they come out. What's the difference between serial and a series? A serial needs to be read in order starting from the beginning and one story goes through all the books and each ends on a cliffhanger to force you to buy the next book. A series can really be read out of order without too much problem and each book has a full and complete story. You buy the next book by that author, whether part of a series or another one-off because you like the writing style.
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    Are you more likely to read a series or one off, does it matter?
    ANGEL: It doesn’t matter to me. What matters is the story, the characters, and the impact it has on me. I generally read series, but I’ve found some amazing stand alone's. KELLY: I am answering these together as it is a very hot issue with me. I hate reading serials. I prefer each book to be able to stand on its own. No cliffhanger non-endings. Each story needs to be complete. But a book series, where there are several related books, I read as they come out. What's the difference between serial and a series? A serial needs to be read in order starting from the beginning and one story goes through all the books and each ends on a cliffhanger to force you to buy the next book. A series can really be read out of order without too much problem and each book has a full and complete story. You buy the next book by that author, whether part of a series or another one-off because you like the writing style.
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    What has reading given you that nothing else has?
    ANGEL: An escape. A life filled with adventure and excitement. Interacting with authors and like-minded readers in fantasy groups and sharing that passion and finding MORE adventures just revs up the excitement! KELLY: Reading is magic. I thought so as a toddler and even more so now. I still remember when I figured out that the squiggly black marks on the page made words. Words make pictures and people and places come alive in my head. With those magical squiggly black marks, I can travel through space on a ship to distant stars. I can visit ancient Egypt and watch the gods debate the merit of a pharaoh's soul. I can smell and feel the jungles of Peru with a Spanish explorer. Reading is magic. And at about $0.02 per minute, very inexpensive magic.