Armchair BEA: Opportunities


Has blogging opened up opportunities for you beyond getting free, advance copies of new books? Has it helped you get offers to write or review elsewhere (maybe even for pay)? Have you gotten invites to special events or places you might not have been to otherwise? Today, we’d like you to talk about those opportunities in you own posts

Beyond book blogging, both of us have self-published books. Donna published a collection of short stories Double-Take Tales in 2011 and I have published a novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, in 2011 with a second book, A World Apart, due for release in June 2012. Both of us have always enjoyed creative writing. I preferred stories at school, whereas Donna has always been more flexible, embracing prose or poetry in equal measure. She’s much more talented than I am though she would never admit it.

Networking with writers and book bloggers can often lead to an invitation to be interviewed, write a guest post or have your book reviewed. All three possibilities have happened to us, partly through our published works but also through the reputations we have built up as bloggers. Personally, I am always flattered if I have to contribute a post to a blog event or am writing a guest post or answering interview questions on a blog tour.

We like to return such compliments by catering for both readers and writers with our blog, be it reviewing books and recommending our favourite titles to readers, or interviewing indie authors about their latest releases. We’re both very involved in book blogging and writing communities through social media. Seeing both perspectives has been beneficial, especially in the relationship between writers and book bloggers which can sometimes be tense dependent on the attitudes of the respective parties. As a writer, I have huge respect for book bloggers and having interacted with both sides has been one of the best lessons I have had so far.

With both Donna and I having published books, we network with many writers. Donna runs the Indie Exchange where authors, bloggers, editors etc can all come together to share information and advice. While we are part of a book blogging community with the Book Bloggers’ Collaborative it is good to branch out and interact with others as well. Sites such as Goodreads are another avenue for authors, book bloggers and readers to come together and share their thoughts on their latest reads. The likes of Amazon give you a platform to post your reviews elsewhere and have other users learn your opinions on the latest releases.

Prior to combining our blogs, Donna’s Book Bags and Cat Naps was primarily a book blog but with us merging our respective ventures, B-Lines and Felines has taken on a new dimension. We’ll not stop wanting to be book bloggers or helping to promote writers, but it’s good to have a blog that can reach out to other users as well. I love films so am frequently reviewing them, not to mention games and I have a regular slot – Dave’s Jukebox – where I share my favourite songs that would appear in my own dream jukebox, probably should be ipod but jukebox sounded better to me. Such variety leads to different visitors to the blog and leaving comments. B-Lines and Felines is universal and we’re happy to be visited by everyone.

Being involved in social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ it’s hard not to network with people outside the book blogging or writing communities. Having a blog with such a variety of content is paying dividends for us at the moment. Book reviews, guests posts and interviews will always be our priority but having other areas for visitors to explore doesn’t hurt.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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