Looking at Michelle’s blog and the things she’s started already (the Literary Road Trip, for example), I had no idea she’d just entered the blogging world. She’s pretty much jumped in head first.
Michelle and I decided wanted to interview each other, so we both asked and answered questions. You can read the first half of our interview here, then head over to Michelle’s post to read the second half. Or you can read them in reverse order, there really isn’t much rhyme or reason to the questions!
I got the ball rolling with a couple of tough questions, my journalism skillz (yes, with a “z”) coming out…
Kim: If you were going to be stuck on a desert island alone for the foreseeable future, what five books would you want with you?
Michelle: Oh man, you start with the really tough ones don’t you? UGH, this is so hard for me! I feel like I should be all “I would definitely need the classics — Austen, Bronte, Fitzgerald, Dumas, Alcott” but yea I’m just far more shallow than that. I would want Hunger Games, Catching Fire….I recently read Hush, Hush and loved it. I’m on such a YA kick right now! But to add a bit of diversity I’d throw in Kristin Harmel’s How to How to Sleep With a Movie Star and Italian for Beginners. I love me some Anne Rice so I might pack away a couple editions of her Vampire Chronicles. It’s just such a hard choice because I’d want variety but I’d want what I love. UGH….might have to find a way to pack more than just the five.
Kim: Your archives only go back until May 2009, so I assume you haven’t been blogging for very long. What inspired you to start a book blog in the first place?
Michelle: You’re right I started blogging right around mid-May. Up until that point I’d always enjoyed writing — I just love stories and characters and plotting it’s so much fun to get lost in it all. It’s for those same reasons I love books they allow the reader to experience something they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to. It’s wonderful to be able to curl up with a book and de-stress after a long day. Anyway, I thought a good way to combine the two things I enjoy most would be to start a blog. Once that happened I met all these really great people and it got better and better.
Blogging has been a wonderful experience for me so far I’ve enjoyed being able to share my opinions and love of books with people who feel exactly the same way. Not to mention all the great new books I’ve found out about that I wouldn’t necessarily have found on my own. It’s fabulous.
Kim: If you had to describe your blog in five words, what would you say?
Michelle: Scattered, unfocused, wordy, growing, fun (I hope). Kinda like my life as it turns out, haha.
And then Michelle asked me a few questions.
Michelle: If you weren’t blogging what would you be doing to to fill that void?
Kim: I honestly have no idea. I think I’d watch more tv — I practically gave up tv last year when I moved to Madison for grad school because I didn’t want to pay for cable and my antenna doesn’t pick up signals well. I still religiously watch The Office on Thursday nights and some shows online, Friday Night Lights and The Daily Show mostly, but that’s about it. I love that I don’t get sucked into all-day marathons of America’s Next Top Model or I Love the 90s anymore — such a waste of time!
I’d also probably crochet more. I used to do that, while watching tv usually, and made my mom a giant blanket last year. I used to make a lot of scarves too, but don’t often have time for that anymore either. Plus, I have so many scarves I don’t wear it seems like a waste to make more of them. Maybe I could start making them and giving them away on my blog 🙂
Michelle: You recently posted an interesting post about alliances in the blogging world. As a result of this post there has been discussion about an upstart mentoring program. Do you feel that when you started out you would have benefited (or even would you now) from such a program?
Kim: I think everyone can benefit from a mentor they can turn to with questions. I mean, no one knows everything about a topic, and I don’t like making big decisions (in life, or with my blog) without getting some feedback. I certainly don’t know everything about being a book blogger and feel like I could use mentoring on some of the more technical stuff — self-hosting, html, search engine optimization, personal branding… things I see the bigger bloggers do really well.
When I started, a mentor might have been nice, but I actually found my way into the community pretty quickly and found some informal mentors. I joined Weekly Geeks and The Sunday Salon and found other bloggers like Rebecca (Rebecca Reads) and Care (Care’s Online Book Club) that made me feel welcome.
I also think I didn’t have to many unrealistic expectations about my blog — traffic, getting free books, comments, etc — which made me less worried about how things were going. Without huge expectations every comment made me excited and I never really felt demoralized about my progress. I could definitely have used help getting to know terms (ARC or TBR) or some of the etiquette of book blogging, but I started to get it quickly when I started reading blogs. Hmm… re-reading I worry that sounds snobby, which I don’t mean it to at all!
Michelle: Do you plot out your posts or do kinda fly by the seat of your pants?
Kim: A little of both. I usually know on Monday what sorts of posts I want to have that week, and since I try to only post once a day I can usually get a list of possible posts pretty easily. I try to do Sunday Salon, sometimes Weekly Geeks, plus I always try to post a review each week. And I’ve got some posts planned in my head or in draft that I try to fit into my schedule. I don’t usually just write a post and immediately post it — I try to write a day or two ahead and let the post sit for awhile so I can edit it more — my post first drafts are embarrassing.
Thanks for reading. Make sure to head over to Galleysmith today and read the rest of our fascinating interview! You can find out how Michelle named her blog and which book bloggers I’d switch lives with if I had the choice.