Another very welcome visitor to my site – and the only book blogger I have actually met in the flesh, having had a splendid afternoon with Karina and her husband when they visited London!
Tell us a little bit about your blog – what does it cover, what are its themes or focus?
Nocturnal Book Reviews has been opened to business since May 2011. I’ll talk about the genres reviewed on the blog answering questions below, but overall theme is a search for a strong, kick ass heroine with a ruthless practicality and a certain wicked sense of humour. She also detests melodrama and indecisive douchebags of both genders.
Why did you start book blogging?
I started blogging when one of my to go book blogs went bust because the blogger didn’t have the time to review anymore, and I felt like I lost a limb or something. Pissed, adrift, sad. At that time I was only reviewing books in Russian on LiveJournal platform but I also did a couple of months paid articles in English as a freelancer, got paid (!) (yes, it still surprises me) and built confidence to start my own reviewing blog.
How much time does the blog take in an average week?
Reviewing? A few hours. It’s actually the least stressful part of it. The worst time consumer is visiting other blogs and paying back in comments to people who came and commented on my blog. I only do it once every two weeks now, and it easily takes a whole day.
How many books do you read, on average, a month?
Before I started reviewing it would have been around 20 a month. Now if I get to 15 it’s great!
How long does it take to write each review?
About 30-45 mins. I actually found that it’s quicker to write it on paper than on my computer where I get distracted by anything or anyone in my peripheral view (oooh, a comment! Whee, a new tweet! You get the picture). If I’m online it easily can stretch into 2-3 hour job. Especially because I write reviews in two languages.
What are the best things about book blogging?
There are so many great things it’s hard to choose the best. Finding likeminded people to interact with. They read the same books and they really get you and your geeky dirty jokes 🙂 Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of books I would not be able to afford to buy otherwise. Interactions with amazing authors. A fantastic sense of community, a feeling that you belong.
What are the frustrations?
It stops me from reading more books!
If you had one wish about blogging, what would it be?
I have two. Moving my blog to a more secure platform and get paid for blogging!
What key piece of advice do you have for writers?
Covers, covers, covers. No matter how good your book is it needs to be represented by a good cover, folks. Honestly. We are shallow creatures and we fall in love first with our eyes. There is a Facebook group of bloggers who can give you an anonymous advise on your book cover and it’s free and unbiased. It’s called Candid Covers. There is Courtney Milan’s advice on book covers. Read it. I can’t tell you how many books I rejected solely on bad covers. They might have been amazing but I just couldn’t bring myself to review and post a horrid cover on my blog. Yes, I am an awful human being.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start their own blog?
Keep it simple. Don’t try to do everything at once, don’t force yourself to post everyday and don’t overuse memes. You can start posting once a week. You will gain momentum, but it’s better to take time and create meaningful content than regurgitate what everyone else is doing. Also, do not be tempted to plagiarise. That’s social harakiri. And be very careful with the photos you use. Either make sure they have Creative Commons License or they are yours to start with.
What kind of books do you accept for review, if any?
I have a list on my blog and it’s pretty long. I stay away from non-fiction, Christian fiction, poetry and anything that just rubs me the wrong way.
Do you accept review copies from indie authors?
Yes, I do! I had only good experiences with indie authors, but once again, if the cover is cringe worthy I’m unfortunately more likely to decline a book for review. These days I rarely accept books from new authors as I have a few established ones who keep me busy, but if you come recommended from them there is a great chance I’ll squeeze you in! 🙂
If your blog has a focus (romance, YA, paranormal, etc) – do you read other books for pleasure?
My blog is mostly focused on fantasy of any type (urban, paranormal, epic, historical) sci-fi and steampunk, but I also love reading contemporary, historical and erotic romance, and murder mysteries. I read both adult and young adult fiction.
Which author, alive or dead, would be your dream interview/guest poster?
There are two! Ilona Andrews’ writing duo and Tiffany Reisz. Both are sharp, phenomenally talented and extremely funny.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished The Hooker and The Hermit by Penny Reid & L.H. Cosway (a hilarious contemporary romance) and starting All Fall Down by Ally Carter (a YA murder mystery).
Are there any trends in books you’re sick of – or ones you’re dying to see more of?
Well, the number of badly written BDSM romances after the success of Fifty Shades is off the scale. I wish the authors who write them knew what the hell they were talking about and didn’t make every abusive asshole into a seductive dominant. It’s just absolutely awful. I also can not stand dark romance (see abusive assholes as heroes). I would love to see more quality dystopians on the market the likes of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. She is a phenomenal writer.
Do you always finish a book or are you a ruthless DNFer?
I would ruthlessly DNF anything under 2 stars. I don’t see a point torturing myself reading it to the end. There are exceptions of course. Laurell K. Hamilton is mine. I know she will be very bad but I feel compelled to read her till the end of the book for old times sake.