Today, I welcome Ashley Williams, founder of The Book Fetish Blog, guest posting for the Celebration of Bloggers Tour. I met Ashley when she participated in the Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour for Just Friends with Benefits. I really enjoyed her review, not only because it was positive, but because she really “got” the book and the message I was trying to send. The same thing happened when she reviewed A State of Jane. It’s wonderful when a blogger (or anyone) enjoys your work but it was clear from both of Ashley’s reviews that she understood why I wrote some of the things I wrote even if she didn’t always like what my characters were doing. While reading both reviews, I wanted to yell, “You get it! You really get it!” Not to mention that she shares the name of the actress I want to play Jane Frank in the film adaption of A State of Jane. And she’s also a really nice person. I’m so glad Ashley agreed to answer some questions for me about her blog and about blogging in general. Please do yourself a favor and check out The Book Fetish Blog and if you are an author and have yet to reach out to Ashley, she’s a gem.
How would you describe The Book Fetish blog in 140 characters?
My thoughts on all the books that speak to me, and random posts on anything else that fascinates me or fires me up.
2. What inspired you to start The Book Fetish Blog?-
Honestly? The movie Julie and Julia. I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to do something in a year, like Julie had done. Because I love books so much, reading 52 books in 52 weeks was the perfect challenge for me. I started January 1, 2010, and decided to use blogspot to blog about each book I read to keep me accountable to the goal. After the year was up, I realized I loved blogging so much, and interacting with other readers, bloggers, and authors, that I bought a domain name, hired a web designer, and thebookfetishblog.com was born.
3. What do you like best about being a blogger?
The chance to interact with other readers and bloggers, and especially authors and publishers. It’s really cool to be able to have a chance to talk more with an author about his or her work, and allows me to sometimes put a really personal touch on the blog- not just a review.
4. Besides book reviews, what else do you blog about ?
Good question. I occasionally blog about something other than books- maybe music, or something that happened over a girls night out. My two most popular posts have been about a U2 conference I attended back in April, and a rant I published about politicians making some really ignorant comments about rape and women.
5. What are some of your favorite third party blogs and why? Do you stick to other “book” blogs or do you also like other types of blogs, for instance “beauty”, “fashion”, “cooking”, “dating” etc.
I’m all over the map with blogs, but there’s not really one I read daily. I love the Bloggess. She’s hysterical and I had a chance to see her do a reading from her book when she was on tour. During election season, I’m addicted to fivethirtyeight.com- that’s when I actually do read a blog daily. I like the Following Atticus blog, and Suri’s Burn Book on Tumblr. I do read some reviews at chicklitplus. Laurel Osterkamp, an author I like, blogs as one of her characters, so I check out any updates she does.
6. How do you juggle blogging with your other responsibilities like family and/or career?
It’s hard sometimes. Blogging doesn’t pay the bills or build my social life, so when I’m really busy, it does fall by the wayside. Like anything else, you have to make time for the things that are important to you. But I do need to get more disciplined to ensure regular posting.
7. How responsible do you think book blogs are towards helping an author reach a bigger audience?
This is purely my speculation. I don’t have any evidence to back this up, but I don’t think a New York Times author is particularly helped by most bloggers. Those authors have a publisher behind them and some level of marketing. But, for lesser known or newer authors, I think bloggers can be quite helpful. Especially authors who go on blog tours- you reach a lot of people you may not reach otherwise. I’d love to see numbers from someone on increase in sales after blog publicity. Of course, it also matters who the blogger is. Some definitely have more influence than others.
8. What is your favorite genre to read?
I’m not sure I really have a favorite genre. My reading is all over the map.
9. What is your favorite genre to review?
Here I don’t have a favorite genre, either, but I do prefer to review growing or newer authors- you have a better chance of actually interacting with these authors and knowing they know how much you enjoyed their work.
10. In your opinion, how has the increasing popularity of indie authors changed the publication world?
I have seen a lot of discussion about this in social media, and again I don’t have numbers to back this up, but only my own impressions. I don’t know that indie authors have changed publishing as much as perhaps the proliferation of ebooks, but I think Independent authors have given us exposure to some really well done books that would have never seen the light of day in a traditional publishing house. I hope the big houses are paying attention to this and adapting how they choose authors to publish and how to market them.
11. Do you hope the Book Fetish Blog will be around five years from now?
12. If the answer to the above question is “yes”, do you hope it will be the same as it is now or do you have plans to change/expand etc.?
This is something I’m actively pondering. Since I don’t specialize in a genre, it’s sometimes hard to find a consistent audience- it ebbs and flows with what I’m reading. Although it may keep consistent readership down, I plan to continue with this same approach. I don’t want to be boxed in by reviewing only one type of book. One of my goals this year is to start writing more posts that aren’t book related. But that’s a little scary because there’s a level of honesty that has to be in those type of posts, and it’s intimidating to put some of that stuff out for public consumption.
13. Do you only review books upon request from an author or do you also review other books you read?
Both. It’s quite flattering to receive requests to review books. But I don’t like being hemmed in to only reading those. I need flexibility to read and review whatever sounds interesting to me at the time.
14. Do you prefer your books character driven or plot driven?
Character driven. A good plot loses me if there aren’t well drawn characters who make me react to them. When I read Gone Girl, for example, I said I had never enjoyed a book more when I found the two main characters to be so despicable. They were almost completely unlikeable, but I still HAD to know what happened to them.
15. Do you ever let negative reviews from other bloggers/readers dissuade you from agreeing to read/review?
When I first started blogging, I followed a popular book blogger. I found books through her I likely would not have encountered on my own. I quickly found out that she would rave over certain books that I would then read and wonder if we had actually read the same book since I felt so differently about them than she did. I don’t follow her any longer, but it did teach me to be very careful about who I allow to influence what I read and review. Honestly, it isn’t other bloggers, but good friends who are also avid readers who turn me onto or away from some books. If certain of those friends don’t like a book, I’m more likely to stay away from it.
Coming August 28th: Blogger Girl
What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.
A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.
While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chicklit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.