Who is Natasha?
Natasha is a desperate seeker of happily-ever-afters, feeding her inner romantic and seeking solace in great books.
Natasha’s first memory of a truly blissful moment was curled up in her bed with a good book. Her reading tastes might have changed over the years and become a lot spicier, but her love of books has only grown. These days, nothing compares to a well-written romance novel, preferably one with strong characters, a generous amount of sizzle between them, and a pinch or two of angst. She loves themes that push the boundaries of familiarity and believes in freeing one’s mind to the endless world of possibilities.
Book reviewing was born out of necessity more than anything else. It was either that or losing all her friends because she couldn’t stop talking about all the books she was reading. Now, she gets to do it whenever she wishes and not only does she get to keep her old friends, but she was also fortunate to find her book junkie tribe, too.
Natasha is highly opinionated, even prickly on occasion, but a strong advocate of positivity and mutual empowerment. She does not like negativity, and her stance on book reviewing reflects that attitude. If it is not a book she enjoyed, she will simply not talk about it, and will rather focus on the great books she wholeheartedly recommends. She keeps her private life private, but small insights of who she is will inevitably flicker through at times, especially on social media, as she believes that openness of character goes hand in hand with expressing personal views on any matter.
10 Tips on Book Blogging
This “blogging life” did not come with a How-To Manual, unfortunately, and we are all still learning as we go, regardless of how long we’ve been doing it. I don’t have any magic formula to share with you, or some divine wisdom, but if I could back in time, this would be the advice I’d give myself:
(1) Your voice is your point of difference. Everything you do CAN and WILL be copied at some point in time, but no one can duplicate your voice. Your voice is your “brand”, the only thing that will forever set you apart from others, so focus on finding that voice, strengthening it, and staying true to it.
(2) Be authentic. You can build your Blog in whichever way you choose—making it a place where readers only get great book recommendations or include negative critique, too—but be yourself, let your followers get a sense of who you are, what you stand for, and what they can always expect to find on your Blog.
(3) Numbers of followers are never a good indicator of a blogger’s true influence or achievement. Numbers can be manufactured, algorithms can be manipulated, but the impact of your voice is measured by what it evokes in your followers and the book community at large. Focus on building trust, focus on each and every one of your followers, and the rest will come.
(4) We will never conquer the Facebook algorithm, it will forever change and it will never do so in our favour, so the sooner you accept that, the happier you’ll be as a blogger. Keep producing original, engaging, good quality content that you’d be interested in reading, and that should always remain your number one priority.
(5) Blogging is a solitary activity 99.9% of the time, but you are NOT an island. Build your network, find bloggers with similar outlooks as yours, and invest time in those friendships. Those will be the people whose advice and assistance you’ll treasure the most—you’ll celebrate each other’s successes, cherish each other’s praises, and turn every mistake into a valuable lesson. Find your tribe and hold onto it. And remember that love is a two-way road.
(6) Stay respectful. Respect the work of other book bloggers. Respect authors. Respect publishers. Respect publicists. We all have a vital role to play in the book community and never allow yourself to become too big for your britches.
(7) Stay humble. Never forget that first time you asked an author for an ARC and how grateful you felt when they agreed to send you one. You are NOT ENTITLED to anything. Not an ARC, not an excerpt, not anyone’s time. Every single one of those things is a PRIVILEGE you must never expect and always be grateful when given.
(8) Blogging might have started as a hobby for most of us—and it will remain one for most people—but the moment it becomes a business for you, treat it as a BUSINESS. Be professional in everything you do, exercise prudence and common sense when sharing details about your personal life, and whenever tempted to overshare or vent about something, sleep on it first. Treat all your relationships with authors, publicists, and publishers alike as BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS, regardless of how “friendly” you think they’ve become over time. Whatever you say online is forever, online perceptions are often distorted, and can change in the blink of an eye.
(9) Remind yourself every day why you blog. If you’re looking for “fame” or accolades, you’re in the wrong line of work. Your greatest achievements will also be your most unrecognised ones. Draw strength and motivation from every single thing YOU think you’ve done well, and even a single “thank you” from a reader who enjoyed a book you’ve recommended should be enough to make your day.
(10) Have fun! And keep having fun. The moment blogging becomes a constant source of stress, anxiety, or insecurity, RE-EVALUATE. This is not a competition. There is no such thing as failure. Stay true to your course, focus on what truly matters, and everything else is just white noise. And no blog post, book review, or new release will ever be more important than spending time with family or friends.