17 February 2020

Bloggernomicon - Lost in a Good Book

I'm proud to welcome my second Bloggernomicon interviewee today. Amy Brownlee’s book blog is called Lost in a Good Book and her byline is: Read, Review, Recommend. It's a pleasure to welcome her to Carpe Librum today.

Welcome to Carpe Librum Amy and thanks for being part of Bloggernomicon. When did you start reviewing books and can you tell me the story behind your blog name?
Lost in a Good Book logo
I started reviewing books in January 2012 on the blog, maybe a bit before then on Goodreads. When I decided to create the blog I made up a list of possible names, probably all terrible if I could remember any of them, but I ended up with Lost in a Good Book because I loved the name so much and it seemed perfect for what I wanted to express on the blog. It was serendipitous too because at the time I had started reading Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and one of the books in the series is Lost in a Good Book which ended up being my favourite of them all.

When I started working as a librarian in 2015 it allowed me to find some fantastic books to read I may never have picked up and getting to share them with a wider audience has been very satisfactory, especially when people tell me they’ve started reading a book because they have read my review. It makes it all worthwhile in a way, even though I was happily doing this blog when no one was reading it.
How many hours (on average) do you spend working on your blog each week?
If I am incredibly organized it can be almost none if everything is beautifully scheduled, but that’s rare. I might spend maybe 10 hours a week? Especially if I am scheduling and writing reviews or rearranging things and doing stuff behind the scenes.

How many books (on average) do you read each year?
It used to be 80 but the last few years it has increased so I’m reading 150 or more.

How many books do you have on your TBR?
Goodreads tells me it is 640 but it is probably more. I think the ones on that list I am realistically never going to read makes up for the ones I do want to read that I haven’t gotten around to adding on there.

How do you organise and keep track of your reviewing commitments?
In the beginning I was a lot more organised with a chart and order to what I needed to read requested books whereas now I am slack in that aspect but more organised in my scheduling. I have a yearly calendar and have a colour code for the days I need a post to go up and label what kind of post it is whether it is a special event, a blog feature post or normal post. I have coloured all the days for the year that need a post and then I override that with another colour when I have a post done for that particular day. That way I can see a whole year and see which days have posts done and which days I still need to fill. I still haven’t found the balance to get my requests that organised but I am trying to make it work.

Can you share one of your proudest moments as a blogger or reviewer?
I was able to review a debut book for one of my favourite musicians, Voltaire, and I got to interview him about his writing and how his music influenced his writing style. It was an incredible moment and seeing people share their favourite lines and paragraphs of the review was brilliant, especially since I was still starting out with my blog it was a great confidence boost.

What’s your most popular blog post? What can you tell me about it?
It’s actually a strange one; a few years ago I dedicated a month celebrating the book series His Dark Materials which was turning 20. My most popular post comes from one where I explored the characters from the first book The Northern Lights. I have no doubt many are from school searches or other research quests but I hope that one post gets them reading the many others I did about that series at the same time, or onto another part of my blog.

When asked by an author, publicist or publisher to review a book, name something that can tip the balance in their favour?
If it is a Young Adult or set in Australia I will probably agree to read it.

Have you ever been pressured to give a positive review or had an author question a review of yours?
In my first year blogging I had an author question my review. She tried to explain why I was wrong and explain the things I hadn’t understood/she hadn’t made clear then asked me to amend my review now that I knew the story better. I’ve had a good run since, maybe only a couple authors who wanted a better explanation than my review why I only gave the stars I did but other than that I’ve been pretty lucky.

What are 3 words that tell you immediately a book is for you?
Slightly cheating on spelling but “Fairy tale retelling.”

What’s your most anticipated new release for 2020?
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson.

Do you have any advice for reviewers interested in starting a book blog?
The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard book cover
Amy loved this book so much she was
 inspired to create a book blog
Just do it. Honestly. I started this because I had read a book that was so perfect I had to share it with as many people as possible and wider than just Goodreads (The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard FYI). 

If you want to share your thoughts about books or bookish things then find a platform that works for you and make it your own. I started on another host site which was a nightmare but found my home on Wordpress. Even if it takes some time to find your feet (took me over five years to really get my groove) then that is ok because you will learn a lot as you go. Follow blogs who are posting things you like and see how different people do it and get ideas if you are stuck, but diving in and writing about whatever you like and however you like will make the blog your own and you can grow with it.

Thanks so much for the advice and for participating in Bloggernomicon today Amy.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I am right there for fairy tale retellings!

    1. Me too sometimes Marg. I loved Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth.

  2. Lovely to learn a little more about you Amy! Thanks for sharing your story.


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