Monday, 13 April 2009

Jo – Ink and Paper

 

This week we have another book reviewer that answered my called, and from her blog she says

 

  I'm 21, a Journalism student. I love reading and (trying to) write, a huge fan of fantasy in all forms, especially Melissa Marr, Rachel Caine, Jeaniene Frost, David Eddings and Robin Hobb. This blog is for me to talk about what I read, and what I write (when it happens)

Her name is Jo and her blog is Ink and Paper,  She is quietly making her mark on the web, and have some wonderful idea  about what bloggers should be doing.

She has reintroduced me to pure fantasy books through her sites and her recommendations. She is apart of some wonderful sites that are just fun to visit.

Join Jo and see what she thinks of being a blogger and all the tips she has to offer.

 

 

 

 

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-1- Firstly you have promoted your site as "Ink and Paper", is there a story behind the name?

Nothing exciting I’m afraid. At the beginning, I was blogging about specific books, reading in general, and the writing I did myself for class. I wanted a name that would cover all of those aspects, and being the simple girl that I am, Ink and Paper just seemed to say it all.

 

-2- Can you let us know what's your speciality reading area and how/why you got into it.

I started reviewing in December 2008, but I recently switched blogging sites from Livejournal to Blogger, and I’ve only been on there since 23rd March. I mainly focus on fantasy, whether it’s high fantasy, urban fantasy or paranormal romance, YA or  adult. Every now and then, the odd review for a completely different genre may creep in, but fantasy is what I crave.

When I was around 11, Mum and Dad bought me the first three Harry Potter books for Christmas, but I wasn’t really into reading at the time, so I didn’t pick them up for a while. Eventually, though, guilt crept in, and I felt bad for not having read them, so I picked them up. I loved them! However reading wasn’t a hobby yet, it was just those books I’d read. My Dad has always been a big fantasy fan, and kept on at me to try some other books, and I picked up one of his in the end.

It was Pawn of Prophecy of the Belgariad series by David Eddings, and I fell in love. I’ve been an avid reader ever since, unable to get enough. The Belgariad series will always be a favourite of mine.

 

-3- With work and life in general how much time do you spend on the net and your blog in a day and weekly.

It all depends on what day of the week it is, really. Although I’m a full time student, I only go into to uni twice a week. Most other days during the week I visit family for a few hours. The rest of the time, I’m either sleeping, reading, or online. I’d say roughly 8 hours a day reading and online. On weekends I’m on much longer. Weekly, far too much time! But I love it, I can’t help it.

 

-4- What are some of your daily net habits?

I have a bit of a routine. If I have a review to write, or another blog, that’s done first. If not, I check email first; read and reply to comments left on blog, and have a look at those who are new to following me on Twitter. Then I go through the Tweets of people I’m following, see what’s new on their blogs I can access straight away. Then I go through the blogs I follow on my Google home page, and then on Blogger, reading and commenting. Check email again, sort it all out, and then I read. Every so often, I’ll come back and refresh it all to see if there’s anything new.

 

-5- Best thing about having a blog?

Getting to say what I think about the books I love, meeting new people, and discovering new books from other people’s blogs. Can I put that all into one or two words? The community.

 

-6- What widget/promotional site or other must have would you say made a difference to your blog?

 

There are two things that have really helped. Firstly, Book Blogs on Ning http://bookblogs.ning.com/ has been very helpful; I found so many bloggers on there who have such amazing blogs, and from commenting them, they have in turn come to check out my blog. Secondly, taking part in The Story Siren’s In My Mailbox meme http://www.thestorysiren.com/2007/12/in-my-mailbox.html has brought a fair few people over to my blog, and I’ve found a number of great bloggers because of it too!

 

-7- You currently have two active blogs; what's the difference and for first time blogger which would you recommend?

 

When I started blogging, I didn’t actually realise I had created a book blog. I signed up to Livejournal because a fair few of my favourite authors blogged on there. I could kill two birds with one stone with Livejournal; follow and leave comments  for my favourite authors, and write my own posts.

Once I realised that what I had was a book blog, I tried to make it better. There are so many posts out there by some great bloggers for newbies, my reviews and posts improved. However, Livejournal didn’t give me enough control over layout; I couldn’t put in buttons or widgets, I could have separate link sections, I couldn’t have the sidebars I wanted basically, the sidebars recommended in the newbie blogs. So I switched to Blogger.

With Blogger there is far more control over the layout, and you don’t need to be a html wiz to have things as you want them. You can drag and drop widgets where you want them, and can easily add all the things I couldn’t before. Plus, a lot of other bloggers use Blogger, and with the Follow widget, it helps with the traffic coming to your blog. I still use my Livejournal, but only to tell the readers I have on there when I’ve posted a new blog on Blogger, and to comment on everyone else.

I’d recommend new bloggers use Blogger over Livejournal.

 

-8- Where do you see your blog in a year from now?

Still going, hopefully! I’m really bad when it comes to thinking about the future.  A year from now, I will have graduated with my Journalism degree and hopefully have a full time job. If things go the way I want them, I will be a professional book reviewer, which can only help my blog, right?

 

-9- While blogging gives away a piece of our identity - do you feel you have changed since blogging?

I’ve definitely become more confident when it comes to writing reviews than I was when I first started blogging, but have I changed personally? I don’t think so. I’m discovering and enjoying a whole range of fantasy novels, and relishing in the worlds inside the pages, but that’s always been me. I’m still the same as I’ve always been, as far as I’m aware. Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask.

 

-10- What are some of the no-no's for you in relation to reading and reviewing?

Not finishing a book. When it comes to reading, I always, always finish a book I’ve started. My Dad drummed that into me when I first started reading; you can’t judge a book until you’ve read it, you can’t say you didn’t like it until you read the whole thing. Books may start slow, but you have to keep at it until the end, otherwise you’ll never know. I’ve had a few exceptions to this, like Wuthering Heights, because I just couldn’t understand what I was reading.

 

I don’t leave out reviews of books I didn’t like. Unless I state otherwise, I review all books I read. I think negative reviews are just as important as positive. I may sound silly, but I don’t feel it’s right to ignore a book just because I didn’t like it. My readers might, so I should give them something on the book, even if I say it wasn’t my cup of tea. As long as the review is fair and honest, the reader should be able to make up their own mind.

 

-11- Other than your own blog are you active in any other blog community or contribute to any other blog?

Do memes count? Other than In My Mailbox, I also take part in Booking Through Thursday http://btt2.wordpress.com/. I’ve recently started taking part in Karin’s “Say It Again” Saturday http://karinlibrarian.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/say-it-again-saturday-1/ and Weekly Geeks http://www.weeklygeeks.com/.

On Livejournal, I post in Bookish http://community.livejournal.com/bookish/ and Bookshare http://community.livejournal.com/bookshare/ to link to my reviews, and Urban Fantasy Fans http://community.livejournal.com/urbanfantasyfan/ for the same when I review Urban Fantasy.

 

-12-  What are some of the more noticeable positives and negative of the book industry over the past few years for you?

Oh I’m not going to be good at answering this! The only thing I can think of is about something I read on Library Thing recently. Companies were paying reviewers to write positive reviews. http://www.librarything.com/blog/2009/03/review-integrity-reviewer-freedom-and.php If they want to pay for reviews, fine, but positive reviews?

I think it’s disgusting that a reviewer would take money to write something they don’t mean. We have a duty to our readers to give them fair and honest reviews. If we don’t like a book, we should say so! Our readers deserve our honesty!

 

-13- Now to get to the books. Tell me all; the ones that started you off onto the genre, some favourite through the years and looking forward to books.

As I’ve already mentioned, David Eddings’ Pawn of Prophecy is what got me into fantasy. I count a fair few of Eddings’ books as favourites; the Belgariad series, the Mallorean series,  Belgarath the Sorcerer, Polgara the Sorceress, the Elenium series, the Tamuli series, and The Redemption of Althalus. They’re all great high fantasy novels, and the excitement never dies.

Other favourites include the Farseer Trilogy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy, and the Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb. Again, great high fantasy.

More recent favourites are the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer, Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr, the Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost, the Morganville Vampires Series by Rachel Caine, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin.

I’m seriously looking forward to Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost,  Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and Armed and Magical by Lisa Shearin – though that one has been ordered.

 

-14- With technology now walking hand in hand with our beloved print book - do you own an e-reader?

No, I don’t. Print is the way to go if you ask me. I’m not entirely sure how e-readers work, but having to do something other than turn the page would just be a huge distraction from me. Turning a page is automatic, so I can get lost in the plot and not realise how far I’ve gone. Pressing a button or something will just ruin the whole experience of reading for me. So yeah, print please.

 

-15- Any tips for new and future bloggers?

I have a “New to Book Blogging?” section on my blog which links to those other newbie posts I previously mentioned. They are really so helpful, the bloggers are awesome!

Other than what they all say, just have fun. Reviewing or posting about books shouldn’t be a chore. You don’t have to take part in memes you don’t like the sound of, or read genres you’re not into. If you enjoy what you do, it will show through your posts. Also, reply to comments; if you get to know your readers/fellow bloggers, and vice versa, there’s more chance of them coming back.

 

-16- Sneak peek at any future plans for the site or any upcoming events for you, and let us know where else we can find you on the web.

Well, I’ve just started a weekly feature on my blog called Belle’s Library, where I feature a beautiful library each week  which puts me in the mind of the library the Beast gives Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Besides that, nothing major; I don’t have a huge amount of traffic just yet, so I don’t want to start great things for my blog when they’re not reaching many people.

You can mainly find me on Twitter http://twitter.com/jo-scrawls, Book Blogs on Ning http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/Jo46 and LibraryThing http://www.librarything.com/profile/Stapps.

 

Thanks for allowing me to guest blog, it’s been fun!



 


6 Speak To Me:

Blodeuedd on 13 April 2009 at 09:53 said...

Nice to meet you :D

Eddings was my first fantasy book, in way, I had read YA fantasy before witout knowing it. And I sure never left.

Gotta go and check out that blog

Lea on 13 April 2009 at 21:13 said...

Hey Jo!

Wonderful interview with EH!

You are a busy lady and I think it's wonderful that you are channeling your expertise into a lit blog!

I wish you every success in the future. :)

Best Regards
L

Jo on 14 April 2009 at 02:10 said...

Finally blogger has stopped been a pain in the backside, and I can comment! Hurrah!

Thanks for a great interview! It was fun answering! :)

Blodeuedd - Eddings is bloody awesome, I adore him! :)

Lea - Thank you so much, you're very kind :)

Houston A.W. Knight on 14 April 2009 at 08:30 said...

HI!

Very interesting blog! I'll be back for more.

Hawk

Erotic Horizon on 14 April 2009 at 16:21 said...

Hey Hawk...

Thanks for stopping by.. and you are always welcome here.

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 15 April 2009 at 19:54 said...

Jo..

Thank you for being my guest blogger this week. I enjoyed having you here on Erotic Horizon..

and my followers and lurkers have all enjoyed you tips on how to have fun while blogging about books..

I have definately become a fan of your blog..

Speak you soon..

E.H>