Raven Award winning book critic Oline Cogdill is the guest in Session #12 of The Author Biz podcast.

Oline Cogdill

Oline Cogdill

Have you ever wondered how a professional book reviewer judges a book?

Oline Cogdill is an award-winning book critic and one of the most highly respected professional reviewers in the mystery and thriller community.

She writes reviews for the Associated Press, Publishers Weekly, Mystery Scene Magazine, and the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinal.  As you’ll hear in this interview, Oline’s reviews are syndicated around the world.

I met Oline at Sleuthfest earlier this year, and had the opportunity to watch her moderate what I thought was the best panel discussion of the conference featuring the three Keynote speakers, Laura Lippman, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Ace Atkins.

In this interview, we’ll take a peek behind the curtain and into the life of a professional book critic. I’ve noted some interview highlights below for people looking for information on specific points. (The number in parentheses is the time in the interview where the discussion begins.)

Oline’s thoughts on winning the Raven Award for her work as a critic. (5:30)

Oline explains how she decides which books to review (7:28)

The importance, for readers, of having a ‘relationship’ with a book critic. (9:50)

The deep responsibility she feels when writing a review that may be seen around the world. (10:50)

How did Oline get started as a book critic? (12:10)

What are the benefits of a professional, independent critique to an author? (15:35)

How many books does Oline read? (21:04)

What’s the best way for an author, a publicist, or publisher to request a review from a professional reviewer? (23:40)

Oline loves doing reviews for debut authors, and shares some of her favorite books from debut authors so far this year. (29:30)

Oline shares several books scheduled for release between now and the end of the year that she’s looking forward to reading. (32:20)

What is Oline’s definition of a well-written book? (36:15)

Is there a specific point when reading a book, where the story grabs her attention, and when is that point for most books? (38:15)

Why Oline thinks writers conferences are so important for writers. (45:45)

Which conferences are best for writers at different stages of their careers? (52:25)

What should an author’s ‘elevator pitch’ description of their latest book contain and how long should it be? (54:50)

Interview Links:

Bouchercon 2014 website

Sleuthfest 2015 website

Malice Domestic website

Oline’s Facebook Page

Oline’s Twitter page

Mystery Scene Magazine website website

Oline Cogdill’s List of Favorites so far this year

Best of the year:

After You’re Gone by Laura Lippman
The Fever by Meg Abbott
Those Who Wish me Dead by Michael Koryta
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
Kill Fee by Owen Laukkanen
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
The Forsaken by Ace Atkins
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller,
Ruined Falls by Jenny Milchman
She’s Leaving Home by William Shaw
Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly
Peter Pan Must Die by John Verdon
City of Ghosts by Kelli Stanley

Books she’s looking forward to reading:

Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best debut novels so far this year:

The Home Place by Carrie La Seur
Dear daughter by Elizabeth Little
Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley
The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker

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