Welcome to another in this series of interviews with the people behind the blogs and sites. This time I’m shooting the breeze with Pat Doherty, webmaster of the speculative fiction blog A Bitter Draft, and inveterate Boston sports fan.
SCy-Fy: A Bitter Draft started in 2013. What have been the major challenges so far?
PD: It’s important for a new blogger to have a unique voice, and with the wide swathe of bloggers old and new, I think the challenge lies in making your voice heard as a new blogger when trying to break onto the scene.
Also, trying not to over-exert (for lack of a better term) yourself in blogging, as I did.
SCy-Fy: Blog burnout?
PD: I really overdid myself in my first year of blogging and have suffered several recent blog hangovers in which I lost a chunk of the niche I’d dug myself.
SCy-Fy: I’m sure you’ll win back that niche and much more. What are your future plans, Pat?
PD: That first year saw a wide variety of posts, from giveaways to genre discussions to guest posts and reviews. I’m just now getting back into regular posts, so I hope to get back to spicing things up.
SCy-Fy: What’s your blogging pattern?
PD: Unfortunately for myself at the current moment, I don’t have established blogging days. When I finish a book, I usually mull it over for a few days before I decide to review it. When I sit down to review, I can’t get up until the post is done. Once the creativity gets flowing, it’s always a bad idea to interrupt it even for the smallest amount of time, in my experience.
SCy-Fy: Thoughts on review style and format?
PD: I always found the old-fashioned buzzword review where each part of the book is analysed followed by a score at the end (something that isn’t quite as common anymore) to be sort of stale to my eyes. It’s something my very first review had and I have since tried to avoid doing it.
SCy-Fy: What kind of approach interests you more?
PD: I find that the more I read reviews, the more I like blogs that have a nice balance. Reviews that are massive walls of text are useful and informative in a lot of situations, but I’d rather read a few different reviews than one really long one. Hell, I’ve avoided using star scores, or any kind of scores outside of Goodreads, because it can be very difficult to give a book (or anything, really), a numbered rating.
Of course, this is just my opinion.
SCy-Fy: Have any posts of yours been controversial?
PD: I haven’t had the spark to create something truly controversial, but I’d say Teresa Frohock’s guest post on religion in Fantasy and David Hair’s follow-up both gathered a lot of attention and are definitely worth reading.
SCy-Fy: Let’s finish up – we both have teams that we want to watch. The best books of 2014?
PD: David Hair’s The Scarlet Tides was released in the US in 2014, and aside from that I’d have to say Brian McClellan’s The Crimson Campaign, Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools, Will McIntosh’s Defenders, and M. R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts.
SCy-Fy: Which forthcoming releases are you most looking forward to reading?
PD: I’m really hoping Victor Milán’s Dinosaur Lords is good –
SCy-Fy: – we both love the cover, don’t we? It’s Lancelot on a T-Rex, by the look of it.
PD: Whoever coined the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” must have never seen covers like those.
SCy-Fy: Absolutely. If we can tear ourselves away from that one, what else are you looking forward to?
PD: Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory, Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings, Jo Walton’s The Just City, Dan Polansky’s Those Above, and the sequels of some of my favourite 2014 releases.
SCy-Fy: Any last words?
PD: Thanks for having me!
SCy-Fy: Thank you, Pat. Just in time – our games are starting!