Please join me in congratulating the winner of the $620 prize package to attend BBC/BEA - Janssen!
Janssen, a former elementary school librarian and current SAHM, lives in Austin, TX and blogs at http://everydayreading.blogspot.com/ Janssen has been contributing to the book blogosphere consistently since 2007. She agreed to answer a few questions today.
What does the book blogging community mean to you?
When I finish a book, I almost always go read several other reviews of it from other book blogs. I love seeing what things other readers picked up on, what they liked that I liked and what they liked that I hated (or what they hated that I liked). I feel like the vast diversity of bloggers enriches my experience as a reader as I get a chance to see the book through their eyes. And I am constantly amazed by what excellent readers and writers there are in the book blogging community; reading their reviews makes me want to read more deeply and think more critically about what I read.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your blog? How will attending BBC improve your blog?
I think my blog has a lot of non-book blogger readers, which I've always liked and appreciated. It's fun to write for people who haven't heard tons of buzz about new books and maybe wouldn't hear about them otherwise. I think I also work hard to write only about books I feel fairly passionate about (either positively or negatively). My blog has relatively few reviews (I hope!) that are short and neutral. I really try to only write about books I have something to say about.
I do think I struggle to make strong recommendations for a book, because I am so conflicted about the many many kinds of readers there are out there. Will one reader find the content offensive? Will someone think the writing is lousy? I can really work myself into a complete paralysis about whether or not I can recommend something. I'm hoping BBC will help me focus a little a more on who my audience is, what I want my reviews to accomplish, and how to address my concerns.
What are you most looking forward to about the BEA/BBC experience?
I can't wait for the chance to meet many of the bookbloggers that I've read and admired for a long time and to hear how other people run their blogs and deal with the issues of book blogging. And of course, I am really looking forward to hanging out with a few of my friends from library school who are also attending BEA/BBC. After just attending the Texas Library Association conference in Austin last week, I was reminded that the best part about any conference is the chance to spend time and talk with people who love books as much as I do. I can't wait!
Your blog has been around a long time. What advice do you have for newer book bloggers?
I started reading book blogs after I graduated from college and was trying to figure out what to read (pulling books at random off the shelves at the library was proving to be a lousy system). Now my to-read list is so long I know I will never make a dent in it. There's just SO much out there to read and the more book blogging you do, the more you'll find to read. I waste less time now on books that aren't interesting to me. If you're starting a book blog, read what you're interested in - you have to like it not only enough to finish the book but then to write about it afterward. And try not to be apologetic about your taste (I am terrible at this, but I still think it's good advice); it's okay to like something other people can't stand or to dislike something that is enormously popular. Have something to say about what you read, why you liked or didn't like - if I'm just looking for a synopsis, I can look at Goodreads or Amazon. And try not to compare yourself to other book bloggers. Some get popular really fast or get tons of free books or whatever. Blog about books because you love to read - everything else is very secondary.
Thank you Janssen! Can't wait to meet you at BBC!
To learn more about Book Blogger Con 2011, visit the official BBC website!
PS - Did you know I will be on a panel at BBC? Yep - check it out --- I will be on the Practical Challenges of Blogging panel from 10 am - 12 noon. Come see me!