Today, we have an amazing contributor to the book blogging community: Marta from TheCursedBooks. Marta is a twenty-year-old, psychology student and full-time bookworm. She started blogging four months ago and says it has become her second-love, the first love obviously being the books. She also has an unhealthy obsession with chocolate. She’s a great supporter of the international book bloggers and completely deserves to be featured on this interview series.
- Let’s start with the usual; how did you get into blogging about this bookish world of yours?
Before starting my blog, I pondered a lot on whether I should or shouldn’t make a blog. I had many doubts concerning whether people would read what I write, whether I’d have time to keep up with my life and my blog, so many doubts, really. But one day, I decided I just wanted to do it, I created my blog in December last year and then freaked out and never wrote all that much on it until August. However, I’ve been very happy ever since I started to become more active because the community is so great and supportive that it makes me sad I let my doubts stop me from starting earlier.
- Your blog consists of refreshingly honest book reviews ranging across quite a few genres. What do you think is the most difficult part about writing a book review?
Thank you very much! For me, the hardest part in writing reviews is being organized with my thoughts. I never take notes while reading a book because I feel like it’s tedious and ruins the whole reading experience for me (I admire those who can do it!!), therefore when I start writing the review, my thoughts are a chaos and I want to put everything down and not fangirl too much and be comprehensive. So, the most difficult part for me in reviewing is totally controlling myself from getting too fangirl-y and choosing the right structure.
- As a book blogger, how do you treat Goodreads as a social media and use it to uplift your blog?
Goodreads is very special to me because that’s the site that helped me start reading, that made me love reading so much! However, ever since making a blog I’ve been using it less and less and while I still use it for updates and for organizing my shelves, I haven’t interacted all that much with my fellow bookworms via GR. When I started blogging, I used some groups from Goodreads to get to know more book bloggers and I tend to post links to my discussion posts or whatever I think might interest them, but I’ve replaced it gradually with Twitter and my blog.
- Marta, you’re from the lovely Romania. Do you find yourself at a harder place being an international blogger?
There are obvious disadvantages in being an international blogger : not being able to meet your favourite authors, having a hard time buying less popular english books and the controversial matter of getting ARCs. I’ve been aware of most of these when I started blogging and did it in spite of everything because I love sharing my opinion on books and interacting with lovely people that have the same hobby as I do. But sometimes it is difficult because you expect publishers and bookish platforms to see how important international bloggers are and give them more credit, give them more opportunities in the future and not take away some of the already existing ones. I think it’s very frustrating because you’re being evaluated on a factor that you couldn’t control – where you were born – instead of being evaluated by your dedication and hard work.
- Rooting from the previous question, how do you best use the available resources to fulfill your reading satiety as an international book blogger?
I read lots of ebooks and I’m fortunate enough to have a library (whether it keeps up with the new releases or not doesn’t matter because I know some people don’t have access at all and I’m okay with what I have). I used Netgalley in the past to get most ARCs, but ever since the access to most Young Adult titles was limited, I used it less and less, I will probably still use it to request poetry collections or titles from other genres, though.
- I loved your book review of #MeToo and the discussion that followed it. How would suggest other bloggers to get their thoughts and opinions across their blog as well as you do?
Thank you very much, I’m glad you did, that post was very important to me because it was very personal and raw. It came from a place of anger and disappointment because I’m a person who loves justice and equality and the #MeToo movement showed us that women aren’t safe in our society. I mostly write about things that matter to me and things that I’m passionate about, I’m a feminist and I strongly believe in equal rights, that’s why I wrote that discussion. I think many people adore to read discussions because they are rooted in the blogger’s reality, they get to know more about the blogger and about their beliefs/experiences. So, write about everything you are passionate about, write about things that you don’t consider right, write about your experiences.
- With over 900 followers subscribed to your blog, what would you consider the biggest milestone that leads to a successful blog?
I think I’m very far away from being a successful blogger, but I believe dedication is a huge factor when it comes to having a successful blog. The truth is it’s not all fun, you have to put a lot of hard work in blogging and it can become very pressing at times. I, for example, love to schedule my posts, so that I can have everything planned out so I won’t freak out about not being able to post something in a certain week. I also think social media helps a lot, you have to put yourself out there and interact with the community. Twitter helped my blog grow a lot because I’ve interacted with many bookworms there and it’s much easier to get to know your readership on Twitter than it is on WordPress. Also, commenting is vital and also very nice. I try very hard to comment weekly on people’s posts, but sometimes the lack of time makes it very difficult.
- E-book or physical copy? Covers or blurb? ARCs or backlists?
It depends. I prefer physical copies because I love the feeling of holding a book and turning pages, it’s just beautiful. But ebooks are very convenient and can be easier to find, too. Covers!!! They are the first thing that I see first and I tend to buy books if they have a beautiful cover (I have no self control), I rarely read blurbs as I usually buy books that have been reviewed by people I trust. I hate the fact that blacklisting books is a thing because usually the books that are being blacklisted have a huge potential to change things in the society and the people that are blacklisting them are afraid of this impact that they might have. I wish we would stop limiting what people read. So, I will choose ARCs because blacklists shouldn’t exist, at all, in my opinion.
- What would you love to see on your blog in the near future? Something you’re specifically working toward?
November was a huge month for discussions and I would love to continue with those, I also want to write more posts with recommendations on different genres. I’m also taking part in the #sapphicathon (14th December – 28th December), so I expect to review many books that include f/f romances in the future.
- Last but not the least, what’s the best thing about the book blogging community?
There are so many good things about the book blogging community, I find it hard to pick just one. But I think one of the best things must be how supportive and kind everyone is. In four months, I’ve made so many friends in the book blogging community, friends that always support me and give me advice and help me grow as a blogger and as a person, in general. And I’m very thankful for everybody, for every comment, for every word of encouragement!
Thank you so much, Marta for being a part of this project and for the helpful, honest answers. It really means a lot!
If you loved Marta and want to interact with her, contact her through any of the links below.