How To Be A Book Blogger Interview – ‘Me My Shelf and I’ Interview

Bio

Amber is the founder of the review blog Me, My Shelf and I. She’s an aspiring YA author, and a proud stay at home mum to two children. She’s been told that she’s organised in a Chaos Theory sort of way.
She loves coffee, wine, converse, Cherry Garcia ice-cream, scary movies and music. Pink is her signature colour.

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Amber’s blog can be found at: http://www.memyshelfandi.com

Summary

It was fantastic to hook up with Amber! It’s always great to find out the story behind book bloggers – successes and lessons learned.

Amber gives fantastic answers to questions I am sure other book bloggers would like answered.

Interview

1. Hi Amber. Thank you for doing this interview for Inspiration for creation! I’d like to start by asking you to tell us what inspired you to start a book blog?

I’m really happy to be here! Thanks so much for having me.

How I got started blogging is kind of a weird story. When I started I had no idea that a book blogging community even existed, or that authors were so accessible and, well, regular people like you and me! My friend Jen (who co-owns the blog Fictitious Delicious) bet me I couldn’t read 104 books in a year. In order to keep track, I thought that I would start a blog and keep my thoughts on everything I read there. Once people started actually reading what I was writing, and I found a world of book bloggers out there – I changed the name and gave it a face lift and wall-ah! Me, My Shelf and I was born.

2. I know that you work with a team, who are the other team members and how did you find them?

My team currently consists of Rosmelie, Yvette, Sarah, Ashley, Katie and Courtney. Rosmelie and Katie are my friends in real life. Sarah, Ashley, Yvette and Courtney I found but putting out tweets that I was in need of reviewers. It was a long process, I had to make sure we got along, that their writing style fit with MMSAI. If anyone is thinking about going this route I would highly suggest that they don’t jump the gun. Make sure you find people who are definitely going to be someone you can work with for a while!

3. Your blog is popular and you review a lot of authors, how do you decide which to take on and which to leave?

It’s all a matter of what each person wants to read. When we get review requests, or when I send them a list of ARCs that I have received, each girl gets to pick what they want to read. I don’t require any one to read anything they don’t want to. We all have different tastes and enjoy different kinds of books. I can’t imagine doing this any other way.

4. Can you explain how you review a book? What do you consider?

The most important thing for me personally, is how it made me feel. If it could draw me in 100% and throw me and my emptions around like a ship on rough waters – that’s the kind of book I love and the kind that I love to review. I also take the basic things into consideration like how it was written, the characters, if I felt the plot was well planned and written and so forth.

What I tell my girls when they are brought onto the team is that I want to see their personality in their reviews. I also tell them to make sure that they avoid regurgitating the synopsis, and avoid a “book report” feel to things. I want people to enjoy reading the reviews as much as they do the books they find by visiting my blog.

5. What rating system do you use to let readers know what you thought of a book?

Each blog has their own, Me, My Shelf and I uses Birds. 5 of them total. The levels range from 5 Birds which means “More than Loved It” and 1 Birds which is ‘Ugh It Was Terrible”. The 1 Bird rating rarely happens, mostly because like I mentioned before the girls get to pick what they want to read so they have looked into something and made sure it’s the kind of thing they might enjoy before they head into it.

6. What’s your favourite genre to review and why?

I like anything Mystery/Thriller – especially if it has ghosts or crazy people in it. That’s an added bonus for me. Really, I like anything except I can’t do Historical Fiction or anything with Mermaids. I don’t know why…maybe I’m allergic? 😉

7. In your opinion, what qualities does a person need to be a successful book blogger/reviewer?

You need to really have the dedication. This is not a quick little hobby, not if you want to be successful at it. I spend probably 30+ hours a week on the blog alone, this doesn’t include the reading I need to do or my design work for authors, or my promotions business Book Nerd Tours (which I co-own with Jean Book Nerd). It’s time consuming.

The other thing you need is patience. It won’t happen overnight and just because you have blog doesn’t mean that you will start getting ARCs, or review requests. They are a privilege and need to be earned. If you’re more worried about the books you might get than sharing your thoughts on the ones you have read and can read, you are in this for the wrong reason.

8. You’re also an aspiring YA author, can you tell us why you decided to write YA?

It’s what I like to read, and you should read what you know. Also, I’m a kid at heart (not that YA is just for kids these days.) and it helps me stay young to write about it.

9. Blogging is VERY time-consuming! 🙂 What process do you follow so that you can blog and write?

I wish I had a better answer to this but I don’t – I really don’t. I schedule things and try to do all my posts for the week on Sunday, but that doesn’t always happen. I just make sure that I check that calendar every morning so that I’m not missing something that needs to be up on the blog. The calendar is my life!!!

10. Have you got a timeline for getting published?

Before I die. LOL. Seriously though, not really. I just am enjoying on focusing on the book and living my characters. I have seen my friends who are published go from this stage of freedom in writing to hard core schedules and stress and I don’t know that I want to rush that. I want to make sure this book is ready before I query.

11. How long did it take before your blog began to take off and get lots of views and followers?

I think it was about a year. I know that it was around the time that I stepped up the game on my content and made sure that I had new content every day and as many posts as possible per day. I really love the memes that are out there, they help a lot with content. Teaser Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday are a few of my favourites.

12. You also have a marketing angle to your blog – MMSAI Designs, can you tell us abit about this?

I wouldn’t really call it a marketing angle. It’s just, a job I guess. I was getting contacted privately for some time about designs for swag, I’ve been doing stuff like this for about 10 years but more along the lines of wedding invites and photo cards. After Suzanne Young contacted me for THE PROGRAM bookmarks, I realized how much I missed it and that I could do a lot of good by offering professional designs for great prices. I love doing it and the work keeps rolling in from authors and bloggers!

13. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a book review blog?

Stick to it. Use Twitter like your life depends on it and have an organized blog, with daily content! We are a very welcoming community and love new bloggers!

Thanks Amber, for this fantastic interview 🙂

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