One month of 2018 is over? So fast? What the hell? Anyway, it’s Feb and the first blogger I’m interviewing this month for Interview Of The International series is none other than the smart, talented and super cool Simant from FlippingThruThePages! She recently found her love for reading reignited and resulted in her blog where she shares her thoughts with fellow book lovers. A huge Hollywood fan, she loves Game Of Thrones and Gilmore Girls. Paris is her dream destination and she currently resides in India.
- Let’s start with the usual, what got you into blogging while flipping through the pages?
I was not a reader always. I used to read when I was much younger and left it when I was in college, but I always knew that I loved reading. One day I was scrolling through Instagram (when I first discovered it) and the first thing that came to my mind was to search for book accounts. And when I did, ahh, there was a huge crowd of #bookstagrammers. I was literally in shock with what I had seen, I’d never imagined the book community to be so large. Then I logged in to my Goodreads account (which I had made like years ago), updated a few books that I had read in my early days and realized I was nowhere near to be called a reader, though I loved reading! At that moment, I decided to start reading again.
It was Nov 2016, I guess. In Jan 2017 I made my Instagram account for books, started posting my reviews there and on Goodreads. But I realized I couldn’t say as much as I wanted to say on those platforms. Then the idea of being a blogger came to my mind. I asked a friend if it was a good idea, and he said, “yes, definitely!” I started googling famous book blogs and came up with the overall idea of what my blog would be like. I wanted to make my presence felt outside my personal life; I wanted to do something as a hobby apart from my 9-6 job. So finally, on 14th July 2017 (and that’s my birthday) I launched Flipping Through the Pages 🙂
- With a month of 2018 already gone by, how are your goals set for this year coming about?
I would say, it’s going pretty good at the moment in terms of reading 🙂 I set myself a goal of reading at least 4 things from this list: A Backlist book, one NetGalley ARC, an Agatha Christie book, one nonfiction, one review copy and one classic. Out of these, I have completed first 4 for this month. I have already started my first review copy and next, I will be picking up a classic.
Other goals were: request fewer ARCs on NetGalley (check), learn to say “No” (did that yesterday and it felt good?), work on challenges (crossed 3-4 prompts), stick to the blog schedule etc. The one thing that I am not able to control, yet, is the scheduling of posts. I try hard to schedule in advance, but I am not being successful in it. Will have to seriously work on this.
- Speaking of goals, you’ve picked up an ultimate bookish goal—Reading The India. Would you like to tell us more about it and your plans for completing it?
This is something that I came across on bookstagram through fellow Indian bloggers. I realized that we are often caught up reading foreign authors and thus, the Indian books (that are actually good) are left behind. They do need their fair amount of hype because of all the good literature they’re contributing to the world.
The main goal of this challenge is to read books written by authors from each state of India. In 2017, I read two regional books of which I am very proud of—Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (translated from the Kannada) and The Poison of Love by K.R. Meera (translated from the Malayalam). Both the books were great and I would definitely recommend these to not only all the Indians but to foreign readers too.
This year I am trying to read more Indian literature. Next on my reading list is a book of short stories from a famous Assamese author. Oh, now that you have reminded me of that, I need to update that page 😛
- You seem to have recently started a new series, Blogging 101, and even posted the first blog post about writing an ‘about’ page. What more are you intending to include in this series? Any particular reason to have come up with this?
I am glad you put this question. I am always afraid of doing these kind of posts because I think that I’m not that famous yet and maybe my posts will not get the amount of love they need. But this time I took the plunge and wrote this post. Actually, I was inspired by Evelina@ Avalinah’s Books. She is recently doing a lot of great community work with the new bloggers and she has created her own category of posts called #NewBloggers 101. They are seriously some useful posts for new bloggers. I thought why not write something for not only the new bloggers but also for those who are doing blogging for quite some time yet struggling with some issues?
I find that many bloggers have not paid attention to the most important page on their blog i.e. About page so I decided to post about it. And I am so glad that it got a positive response and many bloggers were actually motivated to change their about page. One of them is Evelina herself 🙂 I couldn’t be happier than that!
I haven’t yet decided on all the posts in the series, but I want to include the topics which most of the bloggers struggle with. So far the topics on my mind are about creating graphics for your blog, useful tips for WordPress and some plugins to use, some basic HTML codes that you’ll need, etc. I am planning to post at least 2 of these posts each month 🙂
- Rooting from the previous question, while reading your about page, I found out you’re a software engineer in addition to a blogger. Is it difficult at times to juggle both the professions?
Ahh, that’s the most dreaded question and yes it is really difficult for me to manage both my job and this blog. I have a full-time job of 9 to 6 and it is almost a chore of 12 hours for me from Mon-Fri. Now that I have moved to a new city, travelling is more but I am glad I can actually read during that time. But what’s difficult is to take out time for actually writing the posts. Mostly, I do them in my office hours but obviously, it is not safe and not advisable…not at all. It can definitely harm your work, especially if you are in a technical field like me—I have to meet my deadlines. But I mostly do it in the morning since I reach early to the office.
Another difficulty is that my husband is a non-reader. Though he is okay with me reading, he is not supportive when I start working on my laptop again after coming from the office, where I was already working on it for more than 8 hours. See, I understand that he cares for my eyes but what he doesn’t understand is that it is a necessity for the bloggers. It is a real struggle to write something in front of him 😀 (I hope he is not reading this 😛 )
On weekends, he is more supportive but then we always make plans to go somewhere and do the household chores. So between all these things, I must be a Superwoman to even manage this blog, lol!
- Not only are you signed up for quite a number of reading challenges, but are also a part of seven bookish memes. Do you think, as a book blogger, memes are a great way to attract an audience? Any tips on how to select the memes one wants to feature regularly?
Yes, I definitely support memes. Through these 6 months of my blogging journey, I have realized that my posts with memes are the ones having the most interaction. The reason is simple: I interact with most of the people on the linkup post and in return, they interact with me. Memes are simply the calculation of give and take. For getting a response, you have to give it first. But you do have to agree that they are a great way of finding new blogs and increase your chances of interaction with others.
There are literally hundreds of memes available out there which you can try. For me, I have chosen the ones that I know I am comfortable with. I have chosen a mix of weekly and monthly memes.There are even a few that I’ve created for myself (though I am not doing good in them, at all 😦 ). My favourite meme has to be Top Ten Tuesday and I would definitely recommend this to someone who just wants to start doing memes.
See, it totally depends on you. But yes, the thing is you don’t have to overstress yourself. If you are not able to do a particular meme in a week or if you are not comfortable with the topic, then you can simply skip that week. I don’t always post my TTT or Stacking the Shelves. You should choose whichever is easier for you to do and the day on which you are comfortable doing it.
- You’re an Indian and as an international blogger, do you find yourself at a harder place in the community? How do you use the best available resources in your country to continue reading and love doing it?
Being an international blogger is definitely harder. We have limited resources available but I am glad that India is in a better place than many countries. The most difficult thing is to get the new releases. I mostly buy my books but it is so hard to get the new books. Often there is a huge difference in release dates of many titles. And even if they are available on Amazon, usually they are too costly to afford at the time of their release.
But I am so thankful to Instagram for making me known to some publishers and authors. Though I haven’t received any books till now from international publishers, at least I am getting from the Indian ones. I am glad that Bloomsbury India is sending me books from time to time. Recently I got books from Niyogi publishers too. Slowly but steadily, I guess I am creating my path 🙂
For the foreign books, yeah I am still purchasing them myself and it is harder. But there is NetGalley for providing us at least a few of those titles.
- If you were guaranteed one change in the bookish community, what would you wish for?
Okay, so this may be an odd one out, but I really want bloggers to give more love to book reviews. I am not saying that the book reviews don’t get love at all, but is too less as compared to other posts like discussions and memes. I agree that reading a book review of each and every book that others post can be intimidating, but we should not forget that it is the “Book reviews” which made us want to blog in the first place! I don’t read all the reviews myself, but I seriously want to change this habit of mine.
Another thing that really upset me are the judgemental people. I really hate those people who judge others because of the books they read or authors they like. I recently posted about this here and was glad to know that many people feel the same. Seriously, I can’t understand who we are to judge other people on what they are reading, especially when they haven’t read those books themselves? How can you tell if a book is good or not when you haven’t read it? I seriously want such people to stop doing this.
- E-books or paperbacks? Covers or blurb? ARCs or backlists?
I don’t mind reading e-books but yes, I find myself inclined more towards paperbacks and I guess that’s the reason I have so many overdue ARCs 😛 But if I can get a hardcover at a reasonable price then I would go for that because they are the prettiest 😀
I would say that I am a person who judges books by their covers. If a book is not pretty and I haven’t heard about it before then I certainly would not pick it up. I rarely read blurbs but this is a thing that I need to improve (especially when requesting ARCs).
I guess I have more amount of unread books/ARCs than the total amount of books that I have read and this is definitely not a good sign. But I am managing to balance my ARCs and backlists this year so both are my priorities.
- Lastly, with the entire year ahead, where do you want to see FlippingThroughThePages in the span of eleven months? Any new ideas you’ll be working on?
I would definitely like to see my blog rising. I want more people to interact with my blog. My goal is to gain at least 500 followers by the end of this year. The more the merrier! I have planned many things for my blog, but obviously, the time constraint is there. I have to post more discussion posts for sure. I am planning new posts in #Blogger 101 series that would be beneficial for bloggers.
I have a few meme ideas, too, for my blog. I want to create a meme for showing beautiful book edition series like Puffin series and all. I like to gather beautiful books and so do many other bookworms. I am sure that series will help them to build a beautiful library. Just tell me a good name for that meme, if you have any idea 😛 I am also thinking to start a series of Book vs. TV adaptation posts.
I also have to post the author interviews which has been pending from last year. I already have two author interviews lined up with me. I want to continue posting in my Quotes Friday series, which is all about my favourite quotes from a particular book. Also, I want to continue my Sunday Travels post, because travelling is my second love 🙂
I can’t wait to see all these new features on your blog! Good luck with all the goals you have set, Simant, and thank you so much for sharing your opinions about everything (and for bringing so many emoticons to my blog, haha! This is a first :D) It was a pleasure having you over!
You can interact with this wonderful person through her