Monday, 19 July 2010

Blogger Inquest - Catherine (On the Nightstand)

Not only is Catherine from On the Nightstand a prolific tweeter but she hails from Down Under...the other one, slightly to the left - New Zealand. Catherine is a writer in her own right, scholar of classics and archeology, student in librarianship and all round sage one. She gives great advice...believe me, I go back to that well on numerous occasions.

Catherine's reviews are honest, she's critical (which I adore) and she has low tolerance for high flash and poor follow through. Basically her opinions are honest and she provides me a list of must haves. When we aren't squeeing about Tamora Pierce's 2011 title, she's recommending fantasy books that I really should read.

The purpose of the Blogger Inquest is to delve into a specific blogger's mind and experiences online. To be up front, I presented each of the interview subjects with 21 questions to choose from and they took it from there. This is a month long series of interviews on Persnickety Snark and I've got a whole host of bloggers (new and old) lined up. It is sadly coming to an end with the final interview posting later today. Thanks for delving into bloggers minds with me!

Newest old find that you wish you had read years ago?
While not exactly old, I finally picked up the first Vampire Academy book after continually seeing them everywhere. It's one of those books that, despite being about something that you love to read, I just never picked up (and I still don't know why). A lot of series are like for that me - I've always been an avid reader, but since I started blogging my reading has tripled at the very least, and one of the joys is finding older books as well as the new. There's probably many examples of this, but Vampire Academy is the one that comes to mind first.

Book tours – effective marketing or blog flooding?
Blog tours are something that can go either way for me. If it's well-spaced out and for a book that doesn't have the big publicity push that other titles might have, they can be a great idea. However I must confess that a number of blog tours for already heavily-advertised releases, with posts spaced too closely together have put me off them for the most part. Blog tours can be effective marketing, but only with a bit of care - I doubt I'm the only one who loses interest in things due to over-saturation.

Blogger envy – do you get it and what over?
I think we all get blogger envy, at one point or another. It's part of human nature - no matter how much we have, there's always something else someone else has that we would want too. We could get a hundred books each week, and yet someone else would always have one book that we'd want but didn't get.

For me though the real envy is of the opportunities bloggers based in the United States have that I don't. Author tours and signings (especially of the YA kind) are rare here, so being able to go to them, get a book signed, meet a great author and hang out with other bloggers is something I really wish I had the chance to do. But since I don't, I have blogger envy.

Characterise yourself as a blog reader – monogamous, flirty or slutty? Lurker or commenter?
I'm a monogamous lurker, and that's something I'm half happy with, and half wanting to change. While I've visited a number of bloggers of the past few months, the number of ones that "fit" my own tastes is quite small. It's always interesting to read what others thought of books, but it's rare to find a blogger who hit it on the nose how I felt is quite rare.

As for lurker, well, I've always been like that - even after five years of blogging (just not when it comes to books) I'm not very likely to leave a comment. It's something that I'm making an effort to change though.

What is something that makes you immediately groan when looking at another’s blog?
In accessible layouts. What I mean by that are layouts that are difficult to read for a number of reasons. The most common reason is a lack of contrast between text and background - that is, something like dark grey font on black background - or a background that is too busy that it's hard to actually read the text.

When I visit a blog it is because I want to read what a person has to say. If what they have to say is obscured by their design, then I won't read it. I will not adjust the HTML code so I can read something when I can just as easily shut that browser tab and visit the site of someone who does have a website I can read. (My eyesight is fine, so if it's hard for me to read something, imagine how others might feel.)

Also autoplay. That doesn't so much get a groan as it does an automatic close.

How long do foresee yourself blogging for?
I highly doubt I'll stop blogging in general, or even about books, but there'll probably come a day when On The Nightstand simply becomes an archive blog rather than an active one. But barring any major life changes that might prohibit book blogging as I do so at the moment, so long as I have the time, the books and the people to read the reviews then I'll be blogging at On The Nightstand.

Which author do you believe has found the perfect online medium between marketing themselves, making connections and establishing their identity without spamming on all social networks.
I don't know if anyone's found the perfect online medium, but there are a few that do it really well. Jackson Pearce is one, through her use of videos and the like. And through making her blog as much about her readers as it is about her books, Michelle Zink - she's created connections with readers outside the pages of her books, and I think that inspires loyalty amongst her fans. They're not just fans of her books, but of Michelle as a person.

Blogging can be unbelievably supporting and sometimes catty environment – what three guidelines do you find to be good rules to live by in the blogging world?
1) Be yourself and be honest. Write your own content. And remember, we want your opinion on the book you're reviewing, not what you think we think your opinion on the book should be.
2) Be professional. Be courteous in your emails to publishers/authors, and check your spelling and grammar.
3) If in doubt, stop. Don't post immediately and angry. Step away from the computer and take a moment to think about what is going on. Do they have a point? Is there a better way to resolve this? We say the worst things in the heat of the moment, and just taking a moment to calm down can do wonders to prevent any major blow-ups that can result from posting without thought.

You can find Catherine at the following places:
On the Nightstand

1 comment:

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

I love Catherine's blog. not sure how I found it (?) but when I saw she was from NZ I subscribed straight away.

I love her cover posts and the insight and depth she adds to her reviews, discussions.

Plus, she is a fan of Sherryl Jordan (!) one of my faves since teen years :)