This BFF Blog Hop is the brain child of Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys. I was excited when I saw the invite for this blog hop because I am new to the blogging world. (Reading the Blues Away is only 3 months old tomorrow) This is my first blog hop and I'm so glad it is hosted by one of the first blogs I checked out.
I chose to do an interview for my post but I wanted to put a twist on it by making some of the questions about beginning a blog. I know I was totally lost; and kind of still am, when I started my blog and would love to have read about some bloggers early experiences. I actually interviewed two bloggers, one that has been blogging for 5 years and one that has only been blogging about 1 1/2 years. I thought it was only fitting to pick the two other bloggers that I first checked out, and it just so happened that Ginger was an inspiration to Sarah when she started her blog! What are the odds?!?! So many thanks to Ginger and Sarah for allowing me to bother them with my random questions.
Let's get to it!
1) Tell me about you. What is your life like outside of blogging?
Ginger: When I am not reading books and writing about them, I am teaching 6th grade World Cultures. I just started my second year and absolutely love it. Have you ever felt like you're doing the exact thing you were meant for? Well, that is how teaching feels for me. Yes, it's a ton of work, and even more patience required -- but there is nothing more rewarding than connecting with a student and seeing their education grow, all while knowing you had a hand in that.
Sarah: First of all, thank you so much for having my Sara! I'm so flattered to be a part of your post and am excited to be taking part. Life outside of blogging has been pretty crazy lately! I JUST moved back to the Boston-area after living in the mountains of Northern New Hampshire for almost four years. I'm so happy to be back, because I'm a city girl and missed all my family and friends...and TARGET. Now that we're finally settled back in, I'm hoping I can get back to reading and blogging more.
2) Have you always been a reader? If not what book/series/author got you interested?
Ginger: I did the required reading when I was in school, but did not become an avid reader until my early adult years. It was the Twilight saga that actually pulled me into reading YA as an adult. I finished the series just before the first movie came out and was obsessed with the story. Twilight, for me, was the gateway book into reading, as well as blogging. I discovered book blogs while I was feeding my addiction through fan sites and what not. I know a lot of others feel the same way about those books, too.
Sarah: As a child I read a ton, and was a huge fan of the Little House series, Anne of Green Gables and as I got older The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. Somewhere along the way I stopped reading for some reason, but on January 1, 2014, I made a resolution to read 100 books in one year. That small decision led me to starting a blog, meeting so many amazing friends AND I read 105 books!
3) What are your favorite genres? Will you read any?
Ginger: My favorite is contemporary. I read both YA and Adult contemporaries, preferably with a romance tied into the story somewhere. I used to read a lot more paranormal and fantasy, but lately it's rare for me to pick one of those up. However, I enjoy a historical romance novel from time to time, too.
Sarah: My favorite genres are fantasy and contemporary romance. Totally different ends of the spectrum, but I love them both so much I could never choose!
4) Ever been to a book event? What is your favorite one?
Ginger: Yes! I live in Texas, where we are lucky to host several different awesome YA book events. In fact, I just got back from the Texas Teen Book Fest in Austin this past weekend. This was my 4th time to attend. It's such a great event, always featuring outstanding YA authors, put on by a host of awesome Texas peeps! I really love this event and always try to make a trip up there if I can.
Sarah: I've been to a handful of book events and I absolutely love them! It's such a fun way to meet your favorite authors, hopefully get some books signed, but the most fun of all is the time you get to spend with other book nerds. I went to BEA in New York City this past May and it was amazing. I wrote about my experience here and here! It was EPIC!
5) Why did you start a book blog?
Ginger: I started my own book blog because I felt the need to discuss the books I was reading. My family and friends weren't really into reading, especially not YA, so when I discovered book blogs that focused on YA novels, it was an instant attraction for me.
Sarah: I started What Sarah Read back in May of 2014 after being inspired by so many wonderful bloggers on Twitter. I fell in love with the book blogging community and wanted to be a part of it.
6) How did you figure out the basics? (posts, choosing a host, writing reviews)
Ginger: I've been doing this book blog thing for five years now, and I've basically learned what I know as I go. I started out around the same time with a bunch of really great book bloggers who became my support system. We relied on each other a lot.
Sarah: I started out by finding blogs that I liked and just started reading them for inspiration. I was also really lucky to become friends with bloggers who were so generous with their time, advice and books! Ginger at Greads! was the blogger who initially inspired me and gave me tons of encouragement to start a blog, and Andi at Andi's ABCs is my fairy blogmother who is always supporting my efforts to become a better blogger.
7) Were you scared when you started? How did you get over it?
Ginger: Not necessarily scared because the book blog community was not as large as it is now. I felt comfortable and confident with the group of people who were just starting out around the same time as me. We helped each other out a lot and that took away most of the fear or anxiety as the newbie.
Sarah: Not at all! I had made so many amazing friends who were so supportive! I think it's important to find a strong support system of friends and other bloggers to guide you through those first six months. You'll have lots of questions and the advice from more seasoned bloggers is totally priceless!
8) Do you ever feel intimated by other bloggers or was it easy to make friends with them?
Ginger: I like to consider myself a friendly person, whether it's through words on the internet, or talking to someone face to face. So I take pride in the friendships that I've formed through this process. Do they intimidate me? Of course. But only because I am proud of the site they've created and happy for their accomplishments. I know how much work goes into it.
Sarah: There are a bunch of folks out there who have been blogging for many years, so naturally they have strong friendships and lots of wonderful shared memories. I can be a naturally shy person when faced with new situations or when in groups of people who already know each other so well, but thankfully I've found my own group of friends that I've bonded with and have some amazing memories with. Honestly, just as in real life, blogging friendships come from shared experiences and common interests, and people are going to naturally gravitate to each other. Rather than be intimidated by it, I get inspired by all the bloggers supporting each other and the mini-communities they've created in this huge book blogging community.
9) What is your favorite part of blogging? Favorite type of post?
Ginger: The friendships that I've made because of blogging, is by far the best thing to come from this experience. In five years I've met some pretty amazing people. I've seen them graduate college, get married, buy their own home, and even have babies. Having the honor to be a part of all that, thanks to this amazing world of book blogging, is immeasurable. As far as my favorite type of blog post, I really enjoy seeing the more personal side to a blogger. My Sweet Summertime Reads feature that I do every summer is a favorite because I highlight my favorite time of the year with books, as well as show off various bloggers within the community. It's such a fun feature!
Sarah: My favorite part of blogging is without a doubt, the people I've met. I've made so many wonderful friends, some of which I've come to consider my closest. I love the support, kindness and community I find in so many of my blogging relationships and don't know what I would do without some of these people in my life.
10) How do you stay organized with your posts, reading, and general life?
Ginger: I have never been one to make a blogging schedule. I used to be able to write a review for a book just after I finished reading it. Which was awesome because the ideas were fresh and it kept me ahead of the game. However, since I've been teaching, that's not always the case. I try not to stress about getting reviews written though. I just remind myself that it will happen, when it happens. Also, I use my google calendar a lot! That's the one schedule I tend to follow and keep track of.
Sarah: My Inkwell Press Live Well Planner is my blogging bible. I schedule all of my posts there and look at it every.single.day! I would be lost without it!
11) Do you ever have days that you don’t feel creative enough to be a blogger/ Where do you find your creativity?
Ginger: I never want to write a post just for the sake of writing it. I'll give myself time, and wait, until an idea comes to me. If it's a few days, or a few weeks, then so be it. I feel my best writing is done when I don't put the pressure on myself.
Sarah: Ummm...every day! LOL! I see so many wonderfully creative blog posts and am amazed at how clever people can be. I recently took a hiatus from blogging because I was moving to a different state and my life was too crazy to read and blog regularly. The hiatus ended up totally refreshing me and I'm filled with lots of fun ideas now. I think stepping back and taking some time every once in a while to recharge your batteries is a great way to find creative ideas.
12) Reviews: Find the easy? Do you have a process? How quickly to do post them?
Ginger: As I said before, I used to write them immediately. But now it usually takes me a few days to a week before I get them written. I try to schedule as many posts as I can, usually on the weekends or in the evenings, to be posted at a week's time. If I can get two solid weeks worth of blog posts scheduled, then I feel ahead of myself.
Sarah: Sometimes I'll write up a review right away and other times I'll wait weeks. I will say that it's sooo much easier to write them right away, so I TRY my very best to do that. I like to post my reviews around two to three weeks before the release date. My absolute favorite thing about writing reviews are the mood boards I create for any book I give three stars or more to. I am such a visual person, and it really brings the whole reading experience to whole new level when I create these visual representations of something I've read. Some of my favorite mood boards have been for Emmy & Oliver, The Devil You Know, The Wrath and the Dawn, The Start of Me and You, The Winner's Crime, Forbidden and Winterspell.
13) What do you wish you knew when you started blogging?
Ginger: That it's not a race. The key to building a quality blog is putting the time and effort into it. If you want people to read your words and hold value to them, then you have to create them with value first.
Sarah: Off the top of my head I can't really think of anything that has been unexpected when it comes to my blogging experience. I knew it would be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, and that I would meet so many great people along the way. I guess the one thing I wish I knew, was how accomplished I would feel and what a great sense of pride I get when I think about how far I've come in the past year and a half.
14) Do you find it exciting that so many new people have joined the blogging world?
Ginger: Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming. I love meeting new people through this community; however, in the past year or so, I've seen so many come and go. The burn out can be high. There are a solid group of blogs I still follow and trust when looking for book recommendations. I'm always open to expanding that list though.
Sarah: Since I've only been blogging just about a year and a half, I think I would still be considered a newbie. I do find it exciting to be a part of a community that is always changing and always coming up with fun, new ideas.
I hope you learned something about these two wonderful ladies are about the beginning of a blog because I sure did! So honored that Ginger and Sarah were my first interview. Thanks Ladies!! Now if yall keep scrolling you will find links to the other great bloggers posting today as part of this hop that you should check out and a couple giveaways.
Other blogs to visit:
Adventures in Reading
The hosts of this blog are also hosting a tour ride giveaway where you can win one of three prizes. Either a $75, $50, or $25 gift card to your choice of book retailer.Check it out HERE?