Feather Pen Blog
With another national lockdown across the UK forcing the high street to close once more, Indie bookstores need our help once more. Emily, from Feather Pen Blog, does just that with her monthly online article that focuses on supporting independent bookstores during and after the pandemic.
Emily has always been a huge reader and avid book shopper, and she has chatted to a number of booksellers to ask how they have been coping with the recent events of COVID-19 and the unexpected closures throughout 2020 and now 2021. Emily joined Feather Pen Blog with independent booksellers in mind: “I wanted to make some kind of resource where I could share all the info that I have – including how best to help.”
The Feather Pen Blog has been running since December, with a new post out on the 8th of every month, and Emily explains “I was planning on interviewing and photographing a different bookshop in each article, but obviously that’s proving slightly harder than planned. Going forward I’m going to be doing a few interviews over email, but to be honest this slight setback of not being able to visit shops has just widened my scope for things I could talk about.”
Taking these challenges in her stride, Emily is looking forward to the potential easing out of lockdown restrictions in February so that she will be able to go ahead with her plan of creating a guide of the best indie bookshops in different areas of the country. This would of course involve lots of weekends away and travelling to explore these different bookstores. “I went to university in York so I can’t wait to revisit all my favourite places there and write about them!” At the moment, Emily writes for the blog independently, but “Aysel, who’s in charge of the blog, is a great editor and is always fun to chat to!”
In terms of blogs and magazines that have inspired Emily, she gives a nice nod to The Publishing Post. “Obviously I’m a fan of The Publishing Post, as it’s where I get a lot of career info and inspiration from. I’m also subscribed to SYP (The Society of Young Publishers), which I find really helps me out a lot as I’m trying to make it in publishing. I spend a lot of time on bookstagram and follow some accounts which I really love on there – it’s so nice to have a community where we can recommend and discuss the latest books out!”
In terms of sending submissions to the blog, Emily advises that the blog “is always looking for submissions of fiction, poetry and lifestyle sections, and it’s open to considering pitches for new columns. If you’d like to write something, just send firstname.lastname@example.org an email.”
Emily thinks this surge in creative projects by publishing hopefuls has been one of the only upsides to the pandemic. “All the time that people have to spare at the moment is letting them begin to think creatively. I started my bookstagram account in May of last year during lockdown and although I did it mainly because I wanted something fun to do, I’m so glad I did as it’s turned into so much more than just something on the side! For people looking to get into publishing, job hunting is so tough at the moment and having something that you’re doing creatively shows your dedication I think, making you a lot more attractive to employees.”
When asked as to whether she is looking to work in the publishing industry and what her ideal role be, Emily replied, “I’m looking for a role in the publishing industry at the moment, preferably something in marketing and publicity. I’ve done a lot of work with children’s books this year, so I’d love to continue that!”
Thanks so much to Emily for answering our questions! Here’s to a time out of lockdown. Let’s hope our indie bookstores hang in there and that we continue to support them as best as we can by ordering online and through bookshop.org. I hope this inspires others to create projects of their own!