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BBAW: Interviewing Michelle of Galleysmith

BBAW_Celebrate_BooksToday’s topic for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is to interview another book blogger. I was partnered with the lovely Michelle from Galleysmith (a blog nominated for Best New Blog this year).

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cara Powers September 15, 2009, 8:35 am

    RE: Mentoring Program
    I could really use me some journalism skills.

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:10 am

      I could use me some more journalism skills too 🙂 Eva (A Striped Armchair) and I are working on the mentoring thing — more details in the future.

  • Katie September 15, 2009, 9:00 am

    You ladies are adorable.

    I can’t believe Michelle started blogging just last May! That is crazy!

    And I think I need to take a bit of advice from Kim and turn off the T.V. I constantly get sucked into those marathons. Argh.

    Heading over for the second part of your interview!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:12 am

      Well, the problem is I get sucked into tv online, which sort of makes up for marathon Saturdays. Last night I started watching Greek, a show from ABC Family, and ended up watching like four episodes in a row instead doing work. Ridiculous!

  • gautami tripathy September 15, 2009, 9:01 am

    Love the questions. Wonderful answers!

    BBAW: Interviewing myself

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:12 am

      I loved your interview as well, thanks 🙂

  • Julia Smith September 15, 2009, 9:42 am

    You’ve got plenty of skillz, Kim. I just stumble along in my blogging and let things evolve organically. I’m a pantser as a writer (a seat-of-the-pants-er) and I blog the same way.

    But I have benefitted enormously from your organized and informative blogging.

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:13 am

      I’m more of a planner myself. I like to know what’s coming and what I have to finish. That’s one of the main reasons I plan — so I make sure I have time to get things done! Plus, like I said, I write bad first drafts and need time to revise before I post.

  • Stephanie September 15, 2009, 1:17 pm

    I think a mentoring program would be an awesome idea. I just started blogging last month and have absolutely no idea how to navigate blog tools and websites. And just to know someone who is already a part of the community would be a valuable resource. Great idea Michelle!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:14 am

      I’m excited about the mentoring. We still have many things to plan, but I’m excited about it.

  • Kathy September 15, 2009, 2:21 pm

    Great post! Somehow I don’t think your first drafts are embarrassing at all!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:15 am

      You’d be surprised 🙂 Anne Lamotte has a chapter in her book Bird by Bird about how every first draft is shitty, which I think to some extent is true. My writing is always better after a revision. But thanks!

  • Michelle September 15, 2009, 5:31 pm

    You’re journalism and interviewing skills far exceed my dorky fumblings! It is all because of you that an intelligent interview came to pass. Thank you for being so patient with me as I worked through BBAW tasks while we were interviewing. The pleasure was all mine to be able to connect with you. I had a great time 🙂

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:15 am

      Nah, you ask good questions too. It’s a team effort to be this awesome 😉

  • Jeanne September 15, 2009, 6:48 pm

    It occurs to me that there might be an interesting post in talking about how many drafts some of us go through before we publish a post–or in my case, occasionally, after!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:15 am

      Absolutely. Or whether or not people revise after posted (I’m guilty of that, occasionally, when I sentence is just so bad I can’t stand it!).

  • Rebecca Reid September 15, 2009, 7:08 pm

    I think the weekly memes helped me get my feet into blogging too! And then somehow I was reading so much I can’t do the reviews and the memes. Sigh. I need to stop reading so much.lol! Fun interview…off to read the rest!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:16 am

      Yeah, I don’t do memes as much anymore although they were a great way to get into blogging and meet people — Weekly Geeks especially.

  • Heather J. September 15, 2009, 9:13 pm

    I love the idea of a mentor program but I also agree that most bloggers would love to help out newbies if they would only ask – that’s how I learned most of what I wanted to learn about blogging.

    Great interview and congrats on the award nomination!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:17 am

      Yeah, definitely. Most people are happy to help out, it’s just sort of scary to ask because you don’t want to get rejected. Part of the mentoring program would, I hope, show people that very thing 🙂

  • softdrink September 15, 2009, 9:32 pm

    You’ve got mad skillz!

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:17 am

      As do you!

  • Debbie's World of Books September 16, 2009, 12:39 am

    Great interview! I love Michelle’s blog and from above I can see some of our favorites are the same :0

    • Kim September 16, 2009, 8:17 am

      Yeah, it would seem so. I have so many “favorite” blogs though, it’s hard to mention them all 🙂

  • Ali (worducopia) September 16, 2009, 12:12 pm

    Well, that explains why I just discovered Galleysmith over the summer, doesn’t it?

    • Kim September 17, 2009, 5:58 pm

      That’s exactly what I thought when I learned she was so new!

  • Care September 17, 2009, 6:16 am

    I would not have picked those first 3 words for galleysmith: I see a very determined and yes, FUN blogger here! Great interview. Thanks for all the linkylove, Sweetie!

    • Kim September 17, 2009, 5:58 pm

      Of course 🙂 And yeah, I don’t know that I’d chose those words either, but I think we’re all a little more critical of ourselves than other people are.