No bloggers in the world of online book reviewing have carved out such a distinct niche in so short a time as Sarah and Candy of Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels. The duo are legendary for acute observations on the world of women’s fiction, and romance in particular, delivered with unbridled snark and a liberal dose of profanity. Recently, the two indulged Kathleen and Therese’s curiousity about reviewing books, what readers are looking for, and why man-titty covers are here to stay.
Q: Where did the concept for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books come from?
Sarah: Well, there was this tsunami.
The short answer is that Candy used to comment on my personal site (at LENGTH – you have never met a person in such dire need of her own blog before) and I mis-remembered her as being from Indonesia. So after the tsunami of Christmas 2004 I looked up her email address in my archives and sent her a message saying that I hoped her family was ok.
She responded kindly instead of pointing out what a geographical moron I am, and we got to emailing back and forth. Somehow we ended up on the topic of romance novels, and how much it drove us nuts to pay so much money for a book that ended up blowing donkey butt, and how few honest reviews there are of romantic fiction. Then one of us said, “We should do a website all about romance novel reviews.” And whichever one of us didn’t say that also didn’t say, “You’re nuts, freakshow,” and instead said, “Yeah! We should!” We bought a domain, made a design, and started posting reviews and random bits of stuff about romance novels.
And Smart Bitches, Trashy Books was born.
Candy: Ohmigod, yes. I left many monstrously long comments on poor Sarah’s blog. Oh dear. Anyway, we wanted to start a romance novel review website that was irreverent and independent and scrappy. One that allowed us to say whatever the hell we wanted to say, even if it was completely non-politically-correct, and even if it was offensive.
So, that decided, we tried to think of an appropriate title that would reflect our sensibilities. Sarah initially suggested “Chink and Jewy’s Romance Novels.” After I picked myself up from the floor, I suggested that if we wanted to make fun of her race instead of her religion, maybe we could try for “Chink and Round-Eye’s Romance Novels.” Another idea we bandied around was “Man-Carrot and Chowder,” which…yeah. Heh heh. Somewhere down the line, “Smart Bitches who Love Trashy Books” came up, and it just felt right. We were both reasonably intelligent women who’ve gotten a lot of shit about our love of romance novels, and we decided, what the hell, instead of cringing in shame, we’d fling those words back in their faces. Taking the term back for empowerment, if you will. Or something like that.
Q: Describe your review process. What makes a satisfying read? What’s a wall-banger? Do you think you’ve had any impact on an author’s sales? [Read more…]