Interview: Sandra’s Book Club – Great Resource for Book Lovers

Image provided by Sandra Lopez

I recently came across Sandra’s Book Club, a website offering a read-and-review program aimed at helping new indie and small press authors reach a broader audience. The site is run by Sandra Lopez, a versatile artists and award-winning author of YA fiction. Signing up as a reader gives you access to a huge repository of free books, which you can read in exchange for posting a review. It’s also the right place if you’re an author interested in spreading the word about your work. Four hundred readers have already signed up for the program, and all genres are accepted.

For a limited time, Kill Zone will be available (for free) through Sandra’s read-and-review program. Should you opt to read it, I would appreciate an honest review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Please note that the Federal Trade Commission’s Endorsement Guide requires you to disclose when you have received a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. I encourage you to keep things above board and comply with this requirement.

Here’s more about the program, in Sandra’s own words:

DarkerRealities: First, tell us how you came to be a published author and how you came up with the idea to provide services to authors.

Sandra: 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!

D: How can this review program benefit writers?

S: The review program allows authors to list their books and reach a wide range of readers. It’s been a hit so far! About 91% of participating authors get at least 1 – 2 reviews on Amazon, and we receive over 100 reviews a month from readers. And the best part about it is that we offer free ways for authors to list their book 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?

D: How is your author review program unique?

S: 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.

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

S: 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.

D: How can authors and readers sign up?

S: For authors interested in submitting their book to get reviews, please go to:

 htt ps:/ / ogspot .com/ 2020/08/ submi t -your-book.htm l

For readers interested in signing up to read free books, please go to:

 htt ps:/ / ogspot .com/ 2019/09/ read -revi ew -prog ml

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