Today’s book blogger interview is with Nicola Smith from the Short Book and Scribes book blog. Welcome to the RNA blog, Nicola. Why don’t you kick things off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m in my mid-40s and I live with my partner and our 6 year old son in Sheffield. I’ve been working part time as a church administrator for 11 years now and I absolutely love my job which makes a change as I spent a long time prior to that working in the legal sector which didn’t suit me at all!
What made you start a book blog?
There are a few reasons why I started my blog. I was already an Amazon Vine reviewer and had got into the habit of reviewing all the books I was reading (Vine and non-Vine) on Amazon so I thought it would be nice to have them all in one place on a public site where maybe a few people might like to read them. But what really swayed me into setting up my own blog was following other blogs and seeing what they were producing, particularly the fact that they were participating in blog tours and sharing not just reviews but also guest content and extracts. I wanted my own piece of the action and so in October 2016 Short Book and Scribes was born!
What’s the best and worst thing about being a book blogger?
The best things are being part of a fabulous community of supportive people and being able to share the book love. And yes, I can’t lie, getting advance copies of books is just brilliant and a real privilege. There’s no post better than book post!
The worst thing has to be the pressure I put myself under to read all those fabulous books. I’m just one person trying to read all the books and failing. I’m trying to take a more relaxed stance in 2020 and not overwhelm myself. It’s not going too well so far but lessons are being learnt.
Do you meet up with other bloggers and reviewers?
I’ve only met one or two other bloggers. Whilst I’m happy to chat online I am what you might call socially uncomfortable so I tend not to attend many get-togethers. If I do meet other bloggers or reviewers it tends to be at author events.
Can you share your review policy with us?
My review policy can be found on my website but to summarise I’m basically happy to be approached to review a book but I do hope that people take the time not only to read my policy but to see if their book is a good fit for me. It also says I have a huge TBR pile so I’m sorry but acceptance is unlikely. I’m not currently taking ebooks for review as I’m much preferring physical books at the moment and ebooks tend to sit forgotten on my Kindle. I don’t tend to review books I haven’t enjoyed but a critical review will always be balanced by positive comments.
Can you tell us a little bit about your connection with New Book Magazine/Nudge?
I’ve been a subscriber of what was then known as New Books Mag since very early on. I had done one or two reviews for books through their reviewer programme but when I started my blog I started to submit more of my reviews to them and they very kindly not only run them on their Nudge website but also tend to print several in each print issue of what is now NB magazine. I was also approached to do a few author interviews for them so I had the pleasure of coming up with questions for Stuart Turton, Sarah J Naughton and Antonia Hodgson. I love reading the magazine which is published quarterly.
You run a variety of features on your blogs – cover reveals, extracts and giveaways as well as reviews. Can you tell us a little bit about how they differ from each other?
I have done lots of extracts and author guest posts in particular but I am focusing a lot more on reviews in 2020. I posted over 400 times on my blog last year and to be honest I was worn out! Cover reveals are just what they say they are, an organised reveal of a book’s cover to garner interest. An extract shares a piece from a book to whet the reader’s appetite and guest posts by an author tend to focus on such things as where the inspiration for the book came from, maybe a character spotlight or some background to the setting, that kind of thing.
How can authors help support bloggers on blog tours?
For me, I really appreciate it when an author takes the time to thank me for posting. It’s a hobby and I do it for the love of books, but the appreciation is so welcome. I share my posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so if authors use any or all of those platforms then sharing my post on there is a real boost for both sides too.
Between the reading, real life and the blog, you must be pretty busy. What do you do when you’re not reading, writing or reviewing?
I certainly never have time to be bored with a young child and a job plus lots of reading! I go to the theatre quite often, enjoying musicals and plays alike. I also enjoy going to the cinema and I like to eat out sometimes. Most of my spare time is spent reading though and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We often ask industry professionals what they consider to be the next ‘big thing’ – what do you hope to see more of in 2020?
I really don’t know what the next big thing is but I can tell you that 2020 is incredibly strong so far for what sound like amazing books. I have quite a few on my TBR pile already and so many others I wish I had the time and opportunity to read.
Thank you for dropping by to chat to us, Nicola. I hope the blog goes from strength to strength.
You can find out more about Nicola at:
Rhoda Baxter writes romantic comedies about people who make her laugh. She also writes multicultural women’s fiction under the name Jeevani Charika. Her books have been shortlisted for many awards. Her co-authored book How to Write Romantic Comedy is available to buy now.
Find out more at www.rhodabaxter.com or get in touch via Twitter.