27 May 2020

Bloggernomicon - The Book Muse

The Book Muse logo
We've been in lockdown for many weeks now but some of us are still reading, reviewing and blogging despite the chaos going on in the world at the moment. Today I'm pleased to welcome Ashleigh Meikle to the blog in the continuation of my Bloggernomicon series. Ashleigh's blog is called The Book Muse.

Welcome to Carpe Librum Ashleigh and thanks for being part of Bloggernomicon. When did you start reviewing books and can you tell me the story behind your blog name?
I started reviewing books in about 2014 when I did an internship with Pantera Press. It was a search for bloggers for new release Akarnae, that got me started, and from there, I’ve built relationships with various authors, publishers and publicists, as well as reviewing books I buy.

How many books (on average) do you read each year?
Oh wow, this is a tough one to answer – probably at least 100, across a broad range of genres, for reviewing, personal reading for my work as a quiz writer. It does fluctuate and some years I do read more than others. I do focus on review requests, work books and my choices before the unsolicited ones and sometimes the unsolicited ones don’t get read – which I hope is okay, given how many books I get sent.

How many books do you have on your TBR?
At least ten to twenty – I have about six or seven review books; some I’ve bought and some that the authors in my Isolation Publicity series sent me. Some of the review ones were unsolicited so I’m tossing up whether to review them, and they’ve had release dates moved too.

Can you share one of your proudest moments as a blogger or reviewer?
I think starting my isolation publicity series – I love being able to provide Australian authors with a platform to talk about their books they’ve been releasing or working on during the pandemic, and I’ve had quite a good response. Some of my favourite interviews are coming up and I can’t wait to share them.

Do you have a favourite publicist or publisher you enjoy dealing with?
So many – but I think the publicists who work with the kids’ books – or any who are passionate about what they do and the books they’re publicising, and the ones who respond to what I do enthusiastically. It makes it enjoyable to know how well I am doing and being able to help them in these hard times. However Tijana and Tina from Puffin are really good to deal with, as is Sonia from Bloomsbury, who just loves everything I do for the books she sends me and what I do for the Harry Potter books.
Ashleigh Meikle - The Book Muse
Ashleigh Meikle hanging out
with her mate Sir Winston

Do you use bookmarks? Do you have a favourite one or collect them?
Yes to both! I have a box full of various bookmarks that I use all the time. It can be very hard to choose which one to use at times!

Have you ever been pressured to give a positive review or had an author question a review of yours?
Never questioned – but often self-published authors who don’t read my review policy about the genres and formats I accept have tried to pressure me into reviewing their work or told me that their book does fit into my blog and tried to contact me several times to get me involved. Since then, if a request doesn’t give me the right information or tells me they’ve received X amount of 5 star reviews on Goodreads so they think I’d enjoy it, I delete instantly these days – not enough time to fight!

When asked by an author, publicist or publisher to review a book, name something that can tip the balance in their favour?
Definitely giving me all the relevant information I ask for on my policy and respecting whether or not I have time. Also, keeping in mind that what I do read and not assuming that just because I have reviewed a broad range of things, doesn’t mean I’ll always review everything. Sometimes people assume I’ll read something on my DO NOT READ genre list and still request that I do it – and either don’t respond to my polite decline or respond with pressure to read it. I think respecting what a blogger reads as well as their time and the fact that we do this for free is key to requesting a review is something that can work in an author’s favour. I’d also say not complaining about a couple of average or positive reviews works in your favour as an author too – I don’t need to know how many starred reviews you got to make my decision – your book’s premise should speak for itself.

What’s the most intimidating book on your bookshelf?
For me? I’m intimidated by those unsolicited books or obligation books that I’m just given as gifts because I feel like I have to read them – and I’ve given up on one because it was poorly edited. What do I think people would be intimidated by on my shelf? Chaucer or Shakespeare, or my books about rebel women. Some people find some of what I read very intimidating at times. Of all the books on my shelf, I am more intimidated by the prospect of trying to hold some of them rather than the act of reading them. If I had to choose one, I am sort of intimidated by Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene – it’s a brick of a book I need to get my head around holding.

You're not kidding, that one is 1200+ pages long! Do you have any blogging goals for 2020?
To get on top of my requested books at least. I’m less worried about ones I didn’t request, so they get shunted to the side. I’m also trying to read more Australian authors, in particular many more Australian Women Authors and to read as diversely as I can - which largely depends on where and if I can access all those books. There are many reasons for the above, but my main reason is I think Australian authors need our support more than ever now, and I think Australian authors tell wonderful, and diverse stories in many ways.

Thanks so much for participating in my Bloggernomicon Ashleigh. I also enjoy reading and supporting Australian authors and participate in two reading challenges every year if you want to check them out. I hope you achieve your reading goals.

Would you like to comment?

  1. You've given me food for thought with your answers.

    1. Thanks Suzie, really glad you enjoyed the interview.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!