This issue sees two hopefuls, Audrey and Leyla, talk about their book blog side hustles!
Inspiration, Intention, Exhilaration
Both Audrey and Leyla revealed that they were encouraged by industry professionals to practice writing reviews and book summaries to demonstrate writing skills and an active involvement in the industry.
Audrey’s intent with her blog was to share her views as a hobby and then connect with the wider community through Twitter and Instagram engagement. Similarly, Leyla wished to connect with other publishing hopefuls and create an online presence that showcased her passion for literature and music.
Creating and maintaining a blog takes some work and we asked which section of their project they were most proud of. For Leyla, this is her consistent posting. For the first time, she has managed to devote an increased amount of time in posting, reading and writing. Audrey, on the other hand, is most proud of a mini-series she created, ‘Pursuing Publishing’, where she interviews publishing professionals about their roles within the industry and the journey they took to get where they are.
One Sentence Pitch
Audrey: “I would describe my blog as a space where I hope all books, voices and stories can be heard – and I can (almost) guarantee you’ll find your next read on there”.
Leyla: “I would describe my project as a blog spanning multiple themes closely linked to the publishing industry and book reviews, but it isn’t restricted to that content; I want freedom to post about what I feel I want to post and for this blog to evolve with me”.
Publishing Skills and Insights
Interacting with the publishing industry through the medium of blogging is bound to affect the views of both bloggers of the industry as a whole. Audrey feels she has learnt a lot about the different roles within the industry, which has left her with an appreciation of the different roles that go into making books.
Leyla has been touched by the support of others, both within the industry and those hoping to enter it. However, being active on publishing Twitter has also opened her eyes to the negative side of the industry. She laments the revelations of #publishingpaidme and is thankful to Twitter for highlighting the many discrepancies that publishers need to account for.
Both Audrey and Leyla have thanked their projects for increasing their communication abilities and enhanced their skills for writing.
Standing Out in a Saturated Market
For Audrey, her ‘Pursuing Publishing’ series is her USP, with its particular focus on showing that there’s a lot more to publishing than just editorial. “I know lots of other people have amazing book blogs as well, so it’s not as if this was my idea. But I think it helps to show that I’m keeping up with current trends and I’m interested in what’s going on across publishing”, she says.
While Leyla’s main focus on her blog is book reviews and top takeaways from publishing events, she distinguishes herself by speaking on other topics that interest her. Two of her passions are music and theatre; she hopes to be able to post about these more once she can attend live events again.
The Impact of Covid-19
Fortunately, both bloggers have remained positive during this period of uncertainty.
Leyla was one of the many unlucky publishing hopefuls who lost work experience. Instead of dwelling on this disappointment, she has focused her energy on connecting with others, upskilling and writing blog posts. She credits the time spent working from home as the spark which removed many of the barriers to her project, especially being able to “attend” many online events.
Like many of us, Audrey has gone through reading slumps in lockdown. Demonstrating the kind of resilience and planning crucial to most publishing roles, she prepares for this eventuality by drafting extra posts in advance in case of a major reading block. She is focused on making an effort to diversify the range of people she speaks to.
What do these bloggers think is the best advice they can give those looking to start a blog?
“Be creative,” Leyla says, adding that “it’s important to see what works for you and stick at it”. She advises writing about things that you enjoy anyway and are not just for employability.
Audrey echoes this sentiment. “There’s nothing worse than having to sit and write about something that bores you…People are far more likely to read something that’s enthusiastic and entertaining.”