Here are Jessica’s responses:
How long have you been a blogger?
I’ve been a blogger for just over 2 years. I started in April 2009, with a completely different lay out. It was my first ever blog. I reviewed my own books and library books. Initially I received a few review copies from publishers, but certainly not the stacks I’m wading through at the moment. It’s a real treat to be able to have so many review copies from publishers. I do read my own books sometimes too, but mostly just new ones. I have a few friends who help me out with reviews, and one lovely friend who works her magic on the one meme I do to save me time.
Approximately, how many books do you read every year?
Nearly 300. That’s last year’s count, not including re-reads.
What were your favourite books as a child?
Bramley Hedge books.
What are you reading at the moment?
Bloodline by Kate Cary. It’s quite gory, and is one of those books that I nearly put down and don’t continue. But I’m hanging in there, and the tension is mounting!
If you had to pick one, what’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?
Pick one? That’s supremely difficult! I love nearly all the books I read. I read so many genres that I really can’t pick just one. I’ll pass on this question! Just check out my blog to find out how I feel about them all.
Who are your three favourite authors?
This is so tricky! Again it’s really hard. I love so many. I think long term favourite authors are Mercedes Lackey (for her Valdemar series which I read when I was a teen and loved them), Anne McCaffrey (for such exciting sci-fi stories), Elizabeth Goudge for The Little White Horse, which is actually my mother’s book, but I keep on reading it. The film version changed major parts of the story, but was enjoyable.
Which book has had the greatest impact on your life?
All of them! Seriously, every single book, even the ones I’m not keen on have a big impact because they make me think about my relationships with people I interact with, and how I can help do something for other people.
Which book are you most eagerly anticipating?
Another difficult question because there are so many! Possibly the next book in the Mo-Bot High series by Neill Cameron. Everyone needs to read the book. It’s highly cool.
What advice would you give to new bloggers?
Enjoy blogging. There are always going to be blogs with more followers than you, with a sparkly blog layout (sometimes literally), and with more competitions than you. Always. Don’t try and compete – you’ll feel miserable. Focus on putting your passion of books into the reviews, and it will show to those who read it. Try and be consistent in your posting – pick a day (or 2, or 3 or more) to write reviews, and stick to it. You can preschedule posts on Blogger, so I presume the same is for WordPress. Also put up non-book review posts. Let the readers get to know you a little. I’ve had ones about languages, what I’m watching, and various others. Join in a meme or two such as the What Are You Reading? meme. Memes will help connect you with other bloggers, and entice more people to your blog.
If stuff happens in life that means you have to take a short break from blogging, see if you can rope in other reviewers to help hold down the fort. Don’t worry about the blog – focus on what you need to address in life. Stuff always happens. At the moment I’ve got stuff happening, so I’m only putting up reviews (I’ve changed the style for several paragraphs (around 500 words) to 1 line sentences under a few headings) and I have someone else sorting out my meme for me. Which brings me on to recruitment: if you want to, recruit other reviewers to your blog! It provides a greater variety of books, and is useful when life happens.
Publicists aren’t scary. All the ones I’ve worked with are really friendly. They don’t expect you to review every book you get sent (if you get sent review copies, some come unrequested), and love to hear any thoughts on them, even just a few lines.
Equally: you don’t have to review every book. It’s ok to leave out the ones which aren’t for you. Review your own books, library books, and you may start getting review copies. Review copies aren’t guaranteed, and shouldn’t be expected. It can take a long time to get them, to establish yourself as a book blogger.
Pick out which genre/s you want to read. Most of my fellow bloggers read 1 or two genres. Me – I read virtually every genre, because I love them all so much. That way you can build up an identity for your blog, people will get to know that you review Young Adult, or Urban Fantasy etc.
Which other book blogs do you recommend?
This one is a tough one! I have to say Satisfaction For Insatiable Readers, by GMR – she helps sort out my meme for me. I give her a few details, she finds the photos and makes it look beautiful – not always straight forward when the blogger gremlins are around. (GMR has also contributed to our Book Blogger Q&A series. Take a look at her answers)
CEM’s Book Hideout, because I review here and Cem & I have similar tastes in books. At the moment I’m blogging 3 times a week while life is busy being life for Cem.
Enduring Romance, hosted by the fab Young Adult Sci-fi Author Kimber An. Kimber is actually the person who said to me ‘go for it’ when I was thinking about starting a review blog. It’s thanks to her that I set out on the review blogging adventure which is a huge part of my life now. Don’t be put off by the title – yes there are some romance books reviewed, but there’s also a fair amount of young adult books too. And often the romance can be subtle. Kimber An continues to give me encouragement – not so much in blogging since I’m used to that now, but in writing – this is the year I enter the slightly daunting Query Land of Agents. I blog on ER on every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month.