As I was writing a book review the other day, I started thinking about how book reviews and author interviews have helped me so much in my quest to be a writer.From the beginning of my blog, WordVessel, I knew I wanted to interview authors, so I could pick their brains and learn from them. I really kind of fell into the book review end of things, but I’m not sorry.Here are the ways that book reviews and author interviews have helped me as a writer.Examples of How To Do It Right:Doing book reviews at the same time as learning the craft of writing has helped drive home some of the finer points of writing fiction. So many authors that I’ve interviewed have advised reading as a way to better yourself as a writer. I agree.To give you just one example, I’ve been able to understand the importance of using strong verbs and nouns to put the reader in the scene. When I read a book with concise and powerful writing, I can see on the page the difference that it makes. It has helped me see the best way to write.It’s also given me a glimpse into the marketing and business end of the writer’s world. The writers that are the most successful are those who take an active interest in promoting their work. It’s not something that most people feel comfortable doing, but a very necessary part of the process.Learning the Market:Reading fiction from various publishers in the inspirational market has given me an education in what those publishers are looking for. This is valuable information for writers. It’s all too easy to write for ourselves, but if our work is going to be marketable, we need to learn to write to meet the needs and desires of the publishers.I was recently talking with a writer friend who has several books published. We both agreed that if you know what you’re shooting for you’re more likely to hit it.There was a time when writing for the market really bothered me, but even after a short time in the writing world, I now see that you can still tell the story that’s on your heart, but with a specific market in mind.Getting To See The Heart Behind The Writing:One of the things that has been so inspiring to me as a writer is getting a first-hand glimpse into an author’s heart. I can honestly say that every writer I’ve interviewed has a heart for God, and a desire to write stories for Him. As a reader, that makes a huge difference for me. As a writer, those are the footsteps I want to follow.Invaluable Advice From Other Writers:As I’ve interviewed various authors, I’ve been delighted with their advice. If you’re an aspiring writer, I highly encourage you to read author interviews, not only on WordVessel, but on other sites as well. You will learn much valuable information.I can’t begin to count the resources I’ve learned about through interviewing authors–outstanding resources I probably would have never come across on my own.If you’re new to the world of writing and blogging, two things that will be of tremendous benefit to you as you learn the craft of writing are to host author interviews and become a book reviewer. I believe they can put you on the fast track to publishing success.