Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Blogger Conversation with Emma S

I'm excited to start a new series of posts with a group that is under appreciated--book bloggers!

Book bloggers are obviously so important to authors. They give consistent reviews. They open their blogs to us. They are readers and fans! I think we should honor them more.

So this series of interviews was born! Hopefully it will help authors find bloggers and give everyone else a better appreciation of them.

Welcome to Emma S and find out more about her and her blog. Be sure and check out her links at the end of this post.

What types of books do you review?
I review primarily young adult, which a few middle grade and Christian novels thrown in. I'm not very genre picky except I don't read horror, most paranormal, or erotica.

Do you have any guidelines for authors to follow in contacting you? A link will work.
I do! Here's the link to my review policy:

Do you post anything besides reviews—such as cover art or giveaways?
I'm not usually part of mass blog postings. I have participated in a couple blog tours, though. But I do a couple memes - Top Ten Tuesday, Random Friday (which is my own invention), and Rewind & Review - as well as discussion posts.

How do you find books to review or do they come to you?
I usually request them from publishers via email or on Edelweiss or NetGalley. I'm also very fortunate to have a close relationship with an indie bookstore in my hometown. They let me review whatever YA ARCs they receive and I'm interested in.

What got you into blogging about books?
I started reading book blogs after I'd been blogging for about 2 years. Prior to May 2013, I mostly blogged about really random stuff. But then I realized that I could be a book blogger because the only requirement was that I loved books. So I started reviewing what I bought or checked out from the library, and then the owner of my local indie found out and offered me the pick of their ARCs.

What elements go into a good review and how long does it take to write one?
I don't know if there's any formula you can follow to write a good review. I think a cover, some sort of rating, a summary of the book (even if it's copied from Goodreads or a retail site), and links to buy the book are all important. Other than that, bloggers and reviewers should tailor it to their own style. My style is very categorical, and I never write super long reviews. On average, I think it takes me about 30-45 minutes to finalize every detail of my reviews, not counting break times in between.

How often do you post reviews?
I try to post at least one a week. I think on average, it's one or two.

Can you think of any special methods or personality types that an author has used to really help you draw close to a character?
Not really? I mean, if a synopsis mentions a bookish character, or one who's interested in the same things as me, I'll usually add that book to my TBR list. But I don't have any specific chart that tells me why I feel close to a character. Sometimes they just turn out to be a kindred spirit.

What types of things make for an extra special book? The kind you don’t forget?
I'm a sucker for Shakespeare retellings, Jane Austen retellings, and superheroes. I love when I just connect with the writing style - I can't predict when it'll happen, but oh, it's so thrilling when a book leaves me feeling like I had the most wonderful dream. I love slow burn romance. I appreciate a good meet-cute, but I also love when the couple in question have known each other for ages but were friends first. I also don't easily forget strong sibling relationships or friendships.

Any marketing tips you’ve noticed work really well for authors?
I love when an author connects with readers beyond their books. Personally, I didn't enjoy Lauren DeStefano's books, but I follow her on Twitter because she's personable and hilarious. And I love that Tara Dairman (author of All Four Stars and The Stars of Summer) talks about food a lot, which fits with her books and shows she knows what she's talking about. Honestly, any author who is active on some form of social media and acts like the regular person they are is my favorite. I feel like I can be friends with them, as well as admire their writing.

Favorite books you’ve reviewed.
So many! Off the top of my head, I can say Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed, and My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.

Books you are looking forward to in the next year.
This is another one where I could list a million books. I'll be good and choose six:
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
When We Collided by Emery Lord

Do you prefer kindle or actual books when reading?
Definitely actual books. I read e-books on occasion and I get e-galleys all the time, but I prefer to hold a physical book, run my hands over the cover, look at the end papers (they can be gorgeous sometimes), and smell that book scent.

If you could only purchase one book, what would it be?
Nnnnnhhhhhhh. I could purchase books after this one right? It's just the only one I can buy at the store that day? If so, I'd choose the French edition of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I'm trying to collect French editions of all my favorite YA books, and I think this one is next on my list.

What’s your favorite spot to read?
There's this little nook overlooking the middle room at my university's student center. It's still kind of loud up there, but there are usually fewer people upstairs. There's also a covered pathway at the back of one of the academic buildings, and it has these arches along the outer wall. You can sit under there, and it's pretty peaceful (except when class has just let out). Those descriptions are probably terrible, sorry!

Give us your best advice for a beginning book blogger. 
There's no right or wrong way of reviewing, really. 
Post count is important, but do what's best for you and don't kill yourself trying to churn out a post every day.
Don't tag authors in any negative reviews; in fact, it's really best to not tag them in any reviews anymore. 
Find your group of blogger friends. We're a great community, and there are so many bloggers that you'll easily find a circle you fit into. Books will always be common ground, so it isn't hard to strike up conversations.


Emma is a self-proclaimed bibliobibule (that means someone who reads too much). She is also a book blogger and writer, who loves to threaten her friends with killing off their characters in her novels. Emma splits her time between her university in Kentucky and her parents' home in Virginia. In her free time, Emma fangirls over Taylor Swift, Disney movies, Shakespeare, fairytales, superheroes, history, and various book series. 

My blog:  Awkwordly Emma
My Twitter: @AwkwordlyEmma
My Tumblr: awkwordlyemma
My blog's Facebook page

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