Today’s guest is Ferg at the Quiet Fantasy Book Blog.
SCy-Fy: How do you plan your posts, Ferg?
QFBB: If I am doing a review, I plan out my thoughts on paper first. I have a simple format, breaking down the book review into four categories: likes, dislikes, thoughts and summary. If I have the time, I will come up with my own book blurb; I like to think it adds a personal touch to my review.
If it’s a blogging day, I have a more haphazard approach. I find a topic or random idea – be it about TV, film, a book or a game – that sparks some thought and then mind bump onto the page, refining as I go along. I am not a daily poster, but when I do post I like it to be interesting.
SCy-Fy: What are your future initiatives?
QFBB: To keep it simple and stick to what I enjoy; more reviews, blog posts and sundry. I want to increase my author interviews. If I am reviewing a new author’s novel, I like to reach out and bundle an interview together with the review; that way I can provide the reader with as much information as possible. Throw in some further games, add in some more of my own writing and hope to keep the site interesting enough for people to keep reading.
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for SFF blogging?
QFBB: Sitting here on my pedestal, riding the crest of the wave of my own grammatical awesomeness…it’s easy to pontificate, so I am afraid I will have to hit the button on the Grumpy Old Man machine.
I feel the biggest challenge past and future has been content, sentence form and grammar on a website. I make mistakes like anyone else (probably more than I even know), but many new blogs I come across fall into the abbreviation-and-slang space and make it really hard to want to come back for a revisit. If I am going to visit a site, I really don’t want to have to have my decoder ring alongside me to read what is written (I know, it’s a little preachy, so apologies). If I am reading your site, be as lengthy or as brief on a topic as you like, but for the love of the Grammar Gods, at the very least read The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.
SCy-Fy: Tips for bloggers? For writers?
QFBB: To the bloggers: find one topic that you love or that inspires you. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, just something that’s fun and engaging to you at that moment. Get your voice out there; it doesn’t matter if you are the only person to read it. There is an undemanding joy in the words and in putting them to paper (metaphorically).
I started my blog because I love to read and wanted to get my inner voice out. WordPress and other services like it make it easier than ever to bring those thoughts to a wider audience. Be your own voice, blog.
To the Writers: I would not say I’m overly qualified in this area, but if I could say one thing on the topic: read 78 reasons why your book may never be published and 14 reasons why it just might by Pat Walsh. There is wisdom, understanding and some harsh medicine within those pages.
SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?
QFBB: Sorry, no secret, just a well-used truism, something we have all heard before from our parents or teachers:
If you do not ask, you cannot receive.
It’s not much, but it is powerful. The simple act of asking can be terrifying, but ultimately liberating. For example, you want to review books, you have started with the books you already own and you have your own blog, but you want more, maybe to get out to a larger audience. One option is to contact the larger review sites, the sites you read yourself and ask them if they need reviewers; there is no shame in asking and while some may say no, it only takes one to say yes.
Remember, No is only a word. Just because you have been told “no”, it does not mean you have to quit; it may mean that you simply need to change your approach and/or readjust your own expectations, but keep plugging away, persistence does pay off.
SCy-Fy: Traps in SFF blogging?
QFBB: There are ways to make blogging a business and for some this can work, but for most of us this is about having fun, getting your ideas and thoughts out there for the love of the process, not for the gain it can give you. Start with this in mind and if you can take it forward into a business, all the better. You want people to read your blog: the best approach, I think, is to be your own voice, and let yourself shine through.
SCy-Fy: Things that keep you going?
QFBB: The words, the feeling I get when I see people are reading my posts, whether it’s one person or a hundred. It makes me happy
Also, I enjoy helping to promote authors, small and large. Writing is a tough game to get into and a tougher game to stay successful in. Helping those authors puts a smile on my face, so when I can, I promote authors I have been familiar with, have reviewed or interviewed. Every little helps, they say.
SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?
QFBB: I love a good Fantasy Epic and have read a lot recently, A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall being the last. It’s up there with Sanderson for its Epicness, but I will always have a place in my heart for the one day-ers, those books you can sit down and read in a day. My favourite author of these has been and still is Simon R. Green. I am currently reading my way through the Secret History novels at the moment and loving them. But, having previously read the Nightside books, I knew I would. His dark humour just hits me every time.
SCy-Fy: Which upcoming releases are you most looking forward to?
QFBB: I am and always will be a massive Terry Pratchett fan and his loss lessens the literary world for me, so I am really looking forward to the release of The Shepherd’s Crown, the final Discworld book. I even went so far as to write my own farewell fiction after his passing.
SCy-Fy: Thank you, Ferg.
QFBB: Thank you!