It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week! AKA BBAW - September 12-15. Book bloggers everywhere are sharing their love of books and blogging with each other and their followers, but, as an author, I wanted to share my love of book bloggers in my own way. Why? Because I wouldn't be where I am without them. Seriously.
Several book bloggers have helped spread the word about my books to each other and readers with their reviews and by hosting me with guest posts, interviews and giveaways. There's no way to know for sure how many sales they brought, but I do know that thousands of people would have never heard of my books if not for book bloggers.
So this week, I'm featuring a handful who have really made a difference in my writing career. I've turned the tables by interviewing them with those same tough questions they give me. Haha! And they've come back with fantastic answers! So without further ado, let's get to our first one.
Confessions of a Bookaholic and I have a fun story with how we met. I was just starting to spread the word of my then upcoming debut novel, Promise. As I was figuring out which bloggers seemed to have the best fit, Jessica contacted me, asking if she could review my book. Her blog was only a few months old and she had maybe a couple hundred followers. As someone who was also just getting started, I thought it was perfect. The big blogs scared me at the time. LOL But I was concerned because her blog focused on YA and I wasn't sure she'd like my book. She told me that she enjoyed adult books, too, so I took a leap of faith and sent her the ARC.
Jessica read Promise (in one night, I believe), loved it and wrote an awesome review. (WHEW! I was so relieved.) And a friendship was born. Now we've both "grown up" - she currently has over 3,400 followers and one of the best blogs on the web.
Since she's one of my best and earliest book-bloggy friends, it's only fitting to start the week with Jessica. So, let's get to know her:
KC: Tell us about yourself in 10 words.
J: Mother, wife, reader, blogger, quiet, shy, procrastinator, student, sensitive, determined
KC: If you tweeted a general message about your blog, what would it say (140 characters or less)?
J: A YA book blog featuring my favorite books and authors with a hope to share my love for reading and inspire that same passion in others.
KC: What’s your favorite genre to read?
J: My first love was paranormal but I have moved on to include a lot of contemporary as well. Plus, I never expected to enjoy so many distopian novels but they never fail to amaze me.
KC: What are you favorite blogs to follow?
J: My best blogging buddy Lisa at A Life Bound By Books, Mundie Moms, and Eleni at La Femme Readers. Plus there are several others I skim each day to keep up with news and events. I follow a lot of author blogs too (like you my dear!).
KC: Have any bloggers inspired you or your blog?
J: I think the first blog I ever visited was Fantastic BookReview. I had no idea how large the blogging community was at the time but I loved her blog and from there I started visiting other blogs she had links to. I remember thinking there was no way I could figure out how to do a blog like that. :)
KC: How did you get started blogging?
J: During the time I started visiting a few blogs I had really started to pick up reading again. One of the first authors I looked up was Jennifer Echols after I fell in love with her book Going Too Far. I posted a comment on her blog and was SHOCKED when she responded. That made me think “are authors REAL people?!” Then for my birthday I got a kindle and wrote Jeri Smith-Ready after reading Shade and deciding to jump into blogging as a birthday gift to myself. She was so kind and on my blogoversary even commented on how she loved my blog…which was pretty much the best gift ever!
KC: What is your favorite part about being a blogger?
J: The community. As cheesy as it may sound, I love that we are like a group. Authors and bloggers working together to promote reading. Everyone is always so willing to help out and that is really what makes blogging fun. You never have a feeling of working alone. Plus, there is nothing like being able to talk to some of your favorite authors on a daily basis.
KC: What’s the hardest part of being a blogger?
J: Time! Time has been my enemy lately. I am a graduate student and I have a 3 year old. Recently my husband has been working from 8am-11pm at his new job so I pretty much feel like a single parent and it’s hard to find the time, and energy, to do blog work. I used to have a schedule but that doesn’t seem to be working out as well as it did. Plus, I think it’s natural to have a time where you may not feel as inspired to blog. Sometimes I get into reading slumps and I focus more on blog work, and other times I read more and slack with blogging. I’ve had to learn to never force blogging because that takes the fun out of it. But, sometimes it’s hard to find a nice balance.
KC: What do you do when a book you agreed to review just isn’t working for you?
J: Maybe this is wrong but if I can’t finish it, or would give it a 1 or 2 star (which I’ve never came to this point while blogging) I would contact the publisher/author and tell them the book just wasn’t for me. Luckily, mainly due to the research I do on books beforehand, I typically like everything I read. Before blogging, I had several books that were so terrible I had to force myself to finish them. Now, I check out reviews, Goodreads, and the summary before taking on a review book. I don’t think any publisher/author wants to force a review and sometimes a book just doesn’t work for a person. It doesn’t necessarily mean the book is horrible, so I would feel bad tearing it apart if it just wasn’t my type of story.
KC: Do you ever get reviewer’s block or in a reading slump?
J: Oh YES (as I happened to mention above). It is a common occurrence for me. Especially with reviews! I try to make them special but it’s just so hard to explain feelings about a book sometimes. Oddly enough, I have an easier time picking out what I disliked about a book. I sometimes feel I can’t explain how much I enjoyed a book or I feel that my words don’t do it justice. That all leads to me procrastinating big time with reviews. Reading slumps are more rare but they do happen. Usually it happens if I’m forcing myself to read something because a review is needed. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to read the book, but just that maybe it’s not what I need at that time. I’ve realized that when this happens I need to put that book away and pick up something I really want to read. I always go back to the original book and can usually really enjoy it later. Example: I can’t read too many “deep” books at one time. I have to break it up with something lighter or it gets a little depressing :)
KC: How can we connect with you?
I blog (http://www.totalbookaholic.com/)
I tweet (http://twitter.com/#!/TotalBookaholic)
I goodread (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3734744-jessica)
Go check out Confessions of a Bookaholic. You will love Jessica's reviews. They are some of my favorites because you can tell she puts a lot of thought and heart into them.
Thank you, Jessica, for joining us here! And thank you so freakin' much for all the time, blood, sweat and tears you put into your blog and for everything you do for readers and authors.
Do you have a question for Jessica? Ask away!