The Art of Reviewing
A book devouring blogger/booktuber
He's better known as David Lee Libros, the blogger/booktuber on Instagram and YouTube, than his actual name Jesús David Alé Viejo. Certainly, Alé Viejo has earned a significant spot among the most coveted book reviewers.
He lives in Sevilla, is a fan of Real Betis Balompié, and says that although he enjoys sports, video games, movies and series, his biggest passion since childhood has been reading.
He started as a booktuber after realizing people liked his take on books he was reviewing on Instagram. "I went on YouTube, opened an account and since then, I haven't stopped uploading reviews every week."
It's easy to see just how many reviews he publishes per month by simply checking out his Instagram and YouTube accounts. And the accomplishment is even greater since David Lee Libros is just him and not a collaboration between several people, like other accounts.
His "mega unboxings" – when Alé Viejo unveils on camera the dozens of books he receives – are epic. He recently requested seven books from a publishing house and they sent him 14. That's not counting the books he receives from many other publishers and from indie authors.
It's important to note that he affords the same opportunity to indie authors as he does to those who have the support of a publishing house, and he also doesn't reject any genres. "I normally review the books that I'm offered. I don't tend to object much when it comes time to choose or accept a book, because I enjoy all literary genres."
"Normally, I can read 3-4 books per week, sometimes even one more."
Alé Viejo is virtually a book devouring machine. How many does he read per month? "Depends on how long the books are," he explains, "but normally I can read 3-4 books per week, sometimes even one more." He claims that his secrete to being able to read so much is simply to commit to it, although a little birdie told me he sleeps very little. "I read at least 120-150 pages a day."
And unlike other bloggers/booktubers whose professionalism is questionable – some seem to not really read the books they request or they simple don't review them after receiving them – Alé Viejo not only reads the books, but if he finds a serious mistake, he discusses it with the author in private. His reviews are always professional and "kind," for lack of a better word. He never offends an author nor his/her work, even if it's not his cup of tea – at the end of the day, tastes are subjective.
"My reviewing style is doing comprehensive reviews that are informative and detailed. I concentrate on evaluating every aspect of the book, the structure, narration, genre, characters, etc., so that I can offer readers the most amount of information about the book as possible," he underlines.
Although Alé Viejo is a sought after reviewer, he refuses to charge money for his service, like others do. "I blogger or booktuber can charge if they want, but if they do, they should be able to guarantee that the writer will get back his/her investment through book sales." Otherwise, he expounds, the blogger/booktuber is just taking advantage of the writer, who ends up duped and financially affected. "Since to date I can't assure a writer that my review will give him/her a return on their investment, I can't charge anything."
"You should always be honest and say what you like and don't like about a book."
What a blogger/booktuber should do, says Alé Viejo, is a great review that motivates new readers to enjoy the stories. What they shouldn't do is deceive followers with fake reviews or copies from other sites. "You should always be honest and say what you like and don't like about a book. You can't say that a book is the best in the world when it isn't true, because in the long run, it leads to loss of trust and credibility."
To new authors planning on releasing a project, he counsels them to take their time and do things right. "Don't run. Before running you have to start by crawling and then walking. A person who's just starting to write has to keep their feet on the ground, invest time in their story, edit it, and polish it, so that when they publish it, there's a minimum level of quality, and it's not written any which way."
And he knows what he's talking about, because not only has he read and reviewed hundreds of books, but he's also a writer and copy editor. As a writer, under the pen name JD Oldman, he published a short story as part of the anthology 39 Saltos en el Charco, whose earnings are going to Fundación Pere Tarrés. His second short story will be part of the anthology Un Salto en el Recuerdo, a series of stories and poems dedicated to Alzheimer and whose earnings will go to Alzheimer Cataluña – it's slated to go on sale in the Spring 2020. Moreover, he's planning on publishing his first stand-alone novel, a yet untitled Mystery work, mid-2020.
"Little by little, I've gone from being just a reader to becoming a reviewer, writer, and finally a copy editor, who's trying to motivate new people on a daily basis to give reading a try and to enjoy it."
His future plans, "Are to keep growing and to keep working on reaching a broader number of people with my reviews in order to motivate them to read. As a person, I just try to be happy and to help others as much as I can."
To those who don't like to read, he asks that they give it a try, because, "There are many stories of so many different genres you could be attracted to and enjoy. To the avid readers, I propose you experiment and give new genres a shot, so you don't miss out on amazing stories."
For more information on this multifaceted blogger/booktuber, his services and his books, follow him on Instagram, YouTube, FB and Twitter.
Thank you, David, for your time and for being kind enough to give me this interview.
To the readers, thank you for taking the time to read this piece! Please don't forget to follow David on social media.
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