Today’s guest is blogger Tabitha Jensen of Not Yet Read. She spends her days devouring SFF fiction books of all kinds. When she isn’t reading, blogging or dabbling in art she can be found schmoozing it up with readers and authors on social media. Be sure to hit her up on Blog, Twitter or Instagram.
SCy-Fy: Tell me about a typical blogging day, Tabitha.
TJ: I log on each day and do a quick check of my page view stats for that day; I can’t help it, I am a bit obsessive.
SCy-Fy: You’re not the only one…
TJ: Then I go to the blog post that posted at midnight that day and read the comments and sometimes reply right then or I go and visit the blogs that were kind enough to comment so I can check out what they’ve been up to. I also visit random blogs from my feed reader, Twitter feed and my favorites that I leave open on my browser all the time.
I also take the time then to answer blog emails or book review requests from publishers or authors.
If I don’t already have the next day’s blog post written, formatted and scheduled then I try to get a jump on that as quickly as possible but sometimes the commenting and blog post prep doesn’t happen till late in the evening. When I do get around to writing and formatting posts I try to stay several days to a week ahead.
SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives for the blog?
TJ: Future initiatives? Hmm, really I am just all about enjoying blogging and connecting with other like-minded readers. It would be great to grow my follower base, but other than that I am pretty happy with where my blog is at. I have met some great people and authors and would just like to continue on as I have. I hopefully want to read and review more science fiction because I have noticed I do lean heavily towards fantasy.
SCy-Fy: What about plans regarding the visual look of the site?
TJ: I would like to get better at Photoshop so I can redesign my blog with some new graphics. I drew the current graphics but had them digitally colored by someone else and I’d like to update the look and feel to something still fun and whimsical but a bit more serious. We’ll see.
I would like to include more of my art and doodles around the blog. Perhaps a doodle in each post/review but that would require a lot of time and effort that I don’t always have time for. Instead, I just have one art post a week on Thursdays for my Art It Up feature.
SCy-Fy: What do you think is the major challenge in SFF blogging?
TJ: Personally, I have found that adult SFF bloggers don’t tend to stick around more than a year or so. I’ve been blogging for a handful of years now and it seems the folks that enjoy reading and blogging about SFF tire of the blogging portion after awhile and their blog just fades away. It would be nice to see more of us stick around, but I think that might always be a challenge we face.
SCy-Fy: Any tips for bloggers?
TJ: I actually wrote a post recently on interacting with the blogging community; my personal tips and tricks. I would recommend any newbie blogger take a look at that.
SCy-Fy: For reviewers?
TJ: I would say being honest and respectful. I personally think most normal non- blogger readers don’t usually read long drawn-out reviews. So finding a nice balance between short and sweet and not too drawn-out is the best for the length of a review. I just note this based on all of my local friends and from my opinion before I started blogging.
SCy-Fy: Any advice for authors?
TJ: When approaching bloggers/reviewers requesting a review, take the time to thoroughly read their blog and review policy so you don’t waste your or their time. You also have much more chance of success if you develop a connection with them before asking them to review your book. We bloggers usually get several requests a day and always have a long list of books to be read in our queue, so if you don’t stand out in some way then your email will most likely not be responded to.
SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?
TJ: I don’t really have a secret list of resources. I use Edelweiss catalogs to find forthcoming titles I might like to review but I also look at each publisher’s website ‘coming soon’ area to find the books I’d like to request for review. I keep a spreadsheet of the books I find, ones I receive and ones I’ve read. It helps keep me organized.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
TJ: Sometimes life gets in the way of reading and blogging. I have a full time job, a husband and toddler and another baby on the way in a few weeks. If it weren’t for reading and the art I like to dabble in I would likely lose my mind. But I don’t always have the time to blog or read as much as I’d like. When things get really rough I have to take a step back from everything, steal a day for myself to just do pretty much nothing and when that isn’t possible I usually have to let a day or two on the blog slide with no posts. Sometimes it’s good just to unplug from the computer and social media for a few days to recharge.
SCy-Fy: Understandable. Posts of yours that have had the most impact or controversy?
SCy-Fy: Let’s finish with the bottom line, Tabitha. The best books of 2014?
TJ: Oh goodness, there were so many fabulous books I read last year. Some of my favorites were Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (I even got to do a video interview with him! Check it out!) Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier, The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey, The Paradox Trilogy by Rachel Bach, Archetype Duology by M.D. Waters, The Waking Engine by David Edison, and I was a bit late to the game on this one, but Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. All of which I reviewed on my blog.
SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to reading?
TJ: I was a guest over on SF Signal for just that topic, and I have now even read two of the five: Vision In Silver by Anne Bishop (loved), Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (loved) and the three remaining are A Darker Shade Of Magic by Victoria Schwab, Armada by Ernest Cline and Uprooted by Naomi Novik. So let’s add to that list Court of Fives by Kate Elliott and One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron!
I will definitely be reading these books and probably a good number of books on the other participants’ lists.
SCy-Fy: Any last words?
TJ: You made it this far? If you have, come check me out on my blog and let’s have a chat!