In a recent article I previewed five different Minnesota book bloggers, of various types. Now I treat you to a conversation with one of them. Sheila DaChantal is the blogger behind Book Journey: One person’s journey through books and coffee. I met Sheila last year at the Twin Cities Book Festival, where she sat on a panel about the changing world of publishing. She talked then about her busy life, the loads of books she gets, and how this grew. The following is a little more detail on this and other topics.
Q: Why did you start a book blog?
A: I journaled in large notebooks for years, pretty much everything I read… I had book title and author, date I read it and what I thought of it. I had to do this as I discovered I would pick up a book and read about half way through I knew how it ended. (Yup – I had already read it). When I discovered I could do this online, I loved it… the cleanness of it – I could add the book cover, etc… I started the blog for myself more as an online journal.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about doing Book Journey?
A: I love the communications with people all over the world over the shared topic of books. It seems odd, but I start to feel like I know them. I can suggest books I think they would like because I know what they read. I laugh at things they say and I have received the most amazing emails from different people thanking me for my openness on my Morning Meanderings (me unplugged) from anywhere from work out topics, to life happenings, kid stuff, work, hubby, friends, to my dogs…. You just don’t know what you will get from me in the Morning Meanderings.
Q: How would you describe your blog, in terms of a community?
A: Great question. In terms of community – I love that word. I am all about people finding connections to books as well as to other book blogs. On the Monday What Are You Reading weekly meme, I encourage the participants to go out and read other book blogs…. I love the connections we can make.
Q: How do you find time to keep up with it, working pretty much full time?
A: Well, that is not always easy. I work, I work out, I have a hubby and a home to take care of… but we make time for what we enjoy and I enjoy writing. Many times it is at 5:00 am I am sitting over my laptop before work or I am writing a review late in the evening to go live the next day…. I make time because I enjoy it.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?
A: Well… as of recent it is women’s kickboxing. I know, right? Who knew? A friend took me to a class and I was hooked from day one. It makes me feel strong, I love how it challenges me.
Q: Your review policy says you get about 600 hits a day. Did you ever think it would become this popular?
A: Honestly when I first started in 2009 I was excited if anyone left a comment… in fact it was weird if I received one. It was actually a comment that helped me find book blogs. When I started this I thought I was alone, a person writing book reviews for themselves online. One day someone commented on a review I wrote and I followed their link to see who they were and discovered there were others like me…. I really had no idea, but I refer to that day as my blogiversary date as that is the day I realized I did not have an online book journal but I had a book blog. That day was June 9, 2009.
Oh and speaking of that day – it is coming up soon and I make a BIG BIG deal out of my Blogiversary… I promote it big and I have big giveaways… last year all the commentors had to arrive at the party and tell me what they brought… I had virtual food and gifts from all over the world and we even laughed about who came the farthest… I think it was my blogger friend in Japan. LOL
Q: Do you have any advice for authors that are trying to publicize their book (on your blog or elsewhere)?
A: As I am working on writing a book myself, I notice many things that I love that authors do and some I do not. As an author I would say definitely have a blog and communicate with your readers and potential readers. In a world of a zillion ways to communicate these days, we still love conversation. Have a Twitter and Facebook account…. Socialize, offer calls in to book groups, and know that once the book is out there – your work is just beginning…. Build your reader base – and watch the book bloggers run with your book and help you promote too. Oh – and if you are aware of a book blogger who did a review of your book or an author chat (I love those!) be sure to stop in and comment to the others who commented as well.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five books would you want to have with you?
A: Can I hate this question? As a book lover, it is so hard to narrow my love down to five. That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child… LOL
I am going to try, though, knowing that I will be nowhere near a desert island in the near future so I should not have to worry about this…
1. The Bible
2. I have a book of the entire works of Tolkien.. I have never read it, this may be a good time to do so
3,4,5… the last three Harry Potter books, mainly because they are the biggest of the series and because I love these books so much and can not imagine ever tiring of them.
Q: You have a sidebar that shows what you are reading, and now you have listed what’s on your Nook. What do you think of e-books?
A: Well… that particular “On my NOOK” book has been there since December when I received the NOOK from my hubby for Christmas. I mainly wanted it for traveling and as of so far this year, I have not traveled. I plan to take only the NOOK to BEA this year to force me to get familiar with it and use it. I will always love the look and feel of real books and can not imagine me ever going away from that, but I understand the reason for e-books and suspect I will warm up to it… just maybe a little more slowly than some.
Q: Do you think books as a physical object will ever go away? Why or why not?
A: Oh, that makes my stomach do flips. I hope not… I really hope not. I joked with a friend a year ago that I picture someday I have my own collection of books (which is well over 800) hiding in the lower level of my home in an airtight vault, protecting them from age and ruin as they are now a thing of the past…. Perish the thought….
Right now, Sheila is running around BEA with Reagan Remmers, who runs Miss Remmer’s Review, who I also met briefly at the TCBF in that same session. Miss Remmer’s goal is “to instill in students a passion for recreational reading.” Couldn’t ask for anything better. Check out both of these blogs for rundowns on daily BEA activities, like when they took over the Info Booth! And of course, always, great reading suggestions.
And if you have any suggestions for more great book blogs to check out, please leave a comment!