I’ve been slacking in my blogging commitments lately due to some personal issues, but I’m back on track and hope you guys enjoyed the first week of this year. Today, as a part of the Interview Of The International series, I have Taiwo from Stuffed Shelves. She’s an eighteen-year-old blogger who reads a lot of novels and reviews only a quarter of them. She started blogging in September 2017 and is happy to be a member of the amazing bookstagram community. Her dream is blogging for years and years without taking a hiatus despite obvious setbacks.
So Taiwo, the reviews on your blog range over quite a few genres and depicts your flexibility in reading. What do you think works the best for a book blogger: sticking to a particular genre and setting up a niche or exploring all possible genres?
I think a blogger should explore all genres. I think it’s almost impossible for a person to read only one genre. It gets tedious after some time. For example, there was a time I was reading only fantasy. I got tired of reading only fantasy novels and now I read a lot of other genres like contemporary and even crime novels (a genre I usually avoid). However, if a blogger likes only one genre and wishes to stick to it, then by all means they should do that.
It’s been four months since you started StuffedShelves and blogged about your love for books. What would you suggest other newbie bloggers that would help them keep working toward their blog?
Communicating with other bloggers works marvels. A lot of bloggers think communication is about following blogs and that’s it but actually, that’s not true. The best way to get attention to your blog is by commenting on other people’s posts. Also, not just commenting “Great review!” but actually taking time to comment something you relate to in the blog post.
You’re from the amazing Nigeria. As an international book blogger, do you find yourself at a harder place in the community? How do you best use the available resources for your book blog?
Being a Nigerian book blogger is very difficult. I’m not just an international book blogger, I’m also from Nigeria and there are so many opportunities I miss out from because of my country. For example, Book Depository, Wordery, Book Outlet and all those other lovely free shipping sites don’t ship to Nigeria. So, I can’t even participate in giveaways that require that. Amazon Kindle isn’t available in Nigeria too and buying physical books straight from Amazon is not something I can do because the exchange rate is really high. There are so many problems with being in Nigeria and it makes me sad sometimes but I’m pushing on and trying my best not to give up.
I use Netgalley (for now) and ebook.bike to get ebooks; I also participate in some blog tours like YA Bound Book Tours and Xpresso Book Tours. I don’t have a lot of physical books so 99% of my reviews are from these sources. I’ve never reviewed a physical book, ever.
E-books or paperback? Covers or blurb? ARCs or backlists?
Paperbacks if I can get them. Covers, of course. I just love a beautiful cover. I like ARCs because it’s nice to read a book and share my thoughts about it before everyone else is reading it.
Last but not the least, what’s that one change you would love to see in this community and how do you think books can be a medium to it?
I would like more opportunities for international book bloggers. The new Netgalley and Goodreads rules are very very hurtful because they’re basically saying we don’t matter even though we put in so much time and effort into blogging. However, I hope other book related communities and companies take further steps to making sure that we are just as appreciated as non-international bloggers.
That’s a good thought to end this interview at! It was lovely to have you over, Taiwo, and thank you so much for sharing your honest views about book blogging.