I’ve had some great comments about this series. Last week a reader of this series told me they were finding new bloggers to follow and I can’t think of anything better to come out of this. I do hope you continue to enjoy these posts.
Today, I’m pleased to welcome Shelley Wilson to the blog to talk about Book Blogging.
Shelley divides her time between blogging, writing motivational non-fiction for adults and the fantasy worlds of her young adult fiction.
Her non-fiction books combine lifestyle, motivation and self-help with a healthy dose of humour, and her YA novels combine myth, legend and fairy tales with a side order of demonic chaos.
Shelley is an obsessive list maker, who loves pizza, vampires, and mythology, and may also have ‘crazy cat lady’ tendencies.
She also writes a motivational lifestyle blog which was the basis for her bestselling non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. In June 2016 she won the Most Inspirational Blog Award.
Shelley was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but raised in Solihull, West Midlands, UK, where she lives with her three teenagers, one eleven-year-old fat goldfish and a black cat called Luna.
Welcome to the blog, thanks for stepping away from yours for a few minutes to answer some questions about book blogging.
Many thanks for having me on your lovely blog, Rebecca.
We’ll start with the easy questions and then see where we go from there!
How long have you been book blogging and what prompted you to start?
I’ve been blogging since January 1st, 2013, but it was (and still is) a motivational blog on Blogger. The only reviews I shared were for the non-fiction titles I read from the self-help/Mind Body Spirit genre. It was only as I began to actively promote my writing a year later that I decided to start my author blog on Word Press. I’ve always been an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction and so it made sense to include all the reviews I was leaving on Amazon and Goodreads on a blog too.
Tell us a little bit about your blog, what will blog readers find there?
My blog header says ‘I write, I read, I review’ and that pretty much sums up the content I love to share. I don’t believe in doing the hard sell for my books and so instead of sharing my work I prefer to engage with bloggers, readers, and authors about their books, content, and lives. I’m also incredibly nosey, so I love to find out about the incredible people I meet online!
My favourite genre to read is YA (young adult) fantasy, and so there are a fair number of posts dedicated to YA. I am also a fan of horror, sci-fi, dystopian, and historical fiction. I’m quite partial to publishing random posts (not always book/writing related) that are more personal – interestingly, these are the posts that receive the most comments and likes. It’s nice to know that so many people can relate to you when this happens, and it helps to confirm that you aren’t alone, even when you can feel like it sometimes. Bloggers are a hugely supportive community!
What’s your favourite part about book blogging?
That’s a tough one! There are so many incredible benefits to being a book blogger. Not only do we get to read an incredible array of novels from a wide variety of genres, both traditionally published, and self-published, but we very often have the opportunity to engage positively with the authors. I’ve met so many authors since I began posting my reviews, some of whom I’m now honoured to call my friends. It’s a surreal thing to walk into a bookstore, airport, or supermarket and see a book on the shelf by someone you know. I have to stop myself from shouting ‘that’s my friend!’ I do, however, re-arrange the shelves, so their books are all at the front!
What has been your highlight since you’ve started?
I am a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, I am also a member of a few Facebook groups such as Book Connectors. Through these two platforms alone I have made hundreds of new online friends. The highlight for me has to be the opportunities I’ve had to meet with my blogging friends face-to-face. Last year I attended a couple of events in Birmingham, UK where the Book Connectors met up and spent an afternoon networking. These events are great fun and help you to strengthen any bonds you make online.
I have also met up with Rosie Amber and various members of her team at several events. Again, this was time spent in good company, talking about our favourite topic – books! The book blogger community is so supportive, whether that’s via blog comments, Twitter feeds, emails, or meet ups, and that’s the highlight for me.
If you could carry on blogging but could stop doing one thing (that’s maybe a necessary part of the process now) what would it be?
Marketing!! I doubt I’ll ever get my head around it, but I understand how important it is for any blogger and writer. If you don’t spend time promoting your blog, then no one will know you exist.
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering starting a book blog?
Planning is key. I’ve known too many people who have started a blog with all the best intentions and then lost the will to continue. It can become a full-time job! If you want to begin a book blog, I’d suggest you begin collating your reviews, interviews, and features ahead of your launch, so you have content ready to post at daily/weekly intervals. I plan both my blogs out months in advance, so I know what I’m going to be posting and when.
How much time does it take up?
As I mentioned in the previous question, blogging can become a full-time job. I blog once a week on my motivational blog, and the post will take approximately two hours to prepare and another hour or two to promote over various social media platforms.
On my author blog, I started to post five times a week (a mixture of reviews, interviews, and features), but I began to spend more time blogging and less time writing my books, so I’ve had to pull back.
My reviews take me around an hour to prepare, as do my author interviews once I’ve got the information, images, and links back from the author. Guest posts are fairly easy to set-up, and my random posts tend to be quite spontaneous. I spend far too much time on Twitter and Facebook sharing my favourite bloggers and engaging with the community. This is something I hope to work on – assigning specific times of the day for promotion/blogging and freeing up some time to write my books (and spend time with my kids!). Blogging is addictive!
What are your reading habits like?
I used to take my time over a book, savouring the characters, plot, and settings and then writing up my review, but since joining the review team my TBR list has exploded, and I’ve occasionally had to read three titles simultaneously. When this happens, I try to ensure they are from different genres (non-fiction, a YA fantasy, and a horror) otherwise I get mixed up.
I tend to read at the end of each day for a couple of hours unless it’s a wet and windy weekend in which case I’ll snuggle under a blanket and not move from the sofa.
What state is your TBR (To Be Read) pile in?
Oh blimey! I feel like I should be in reader therapy when I answer this question. ‘My name is Shelley, and my to-be-read pile is out of control.’
Okay, I checked my Kindle before answering this and can confirm that I have 138 eBooks on my TBR digital pile. I have one shelf in my writing cave where I put my physical TBR books, so I know at a glance what I need to read, this has 32 books on it. I probably shouldn’t have added ‘books’ to my Christmas and Birthday lists!
What do you drink while reading?
I’ve been tee-total for three years so my go-to beverage of choice is Tetley Tea (with a dunkable biscuit!).
Where’s your favourite place to read?
In the winter, I love to sit in my living room with the fire on and the cat curled up by my feet. In the summer, I have a she-shed where I love to escape with a book.
What book would you recommend, that gets little attention that you haven’t really seen talked about? And why, what is it about this book that you love?
That’s like asking me which of my three children I like the most! 😉
I’ve read some incredible books over the past few years as a book blogger, and so many of them stand out as worthy of attention. However, there is one author, who I feel needs to be talked about more and that is Dylan J Morgan. His books aren’t for everyone as he writes post-apocalyptic, dystopian, science fiction, and also horror (all of which I love to read), but his writing style is exceptional. I’ve read quite a few of his titles but one stands out, and that is October Rain which is a novella. It is breathtaking, chilling, action-packed, and utterly brilliant. I’d urge everyone to check out his books.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these. It’s been a pleasure having you.
Thank you so much for letting me join you on your befriend a book blogger feature, I’ve had great fun!
You can find the rest of the series Here.