Today I am talking with Valerie from Valerie’s Musings. I wanted to find out more about her and her blog and thought I’d share with you. Thanks, Valerie, for taking the time to talk with me, I appreciate it.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?
Thanks, Mary for having me. I’m Valerie, I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I’m a librarian. Currently, I’m working for the Ann Arbor District Library in a non-degree position while I search for a librarian position. My love of reading and books started when I learned how to read at 3, led me to my choice of career, and is as strong as ever today.
My blog is for book reviews that I write, but also for other musings on life. I’m a fairly open person with some health issues, so some of my posts are about that and how it affects my life.
What inspired you to start your blog?
In the last 12 to 18 months, I’ve joined a couple of authors’ “Review Team”, a review team for cozy mysteries and Netgalley. I decided that while posting my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., is great and a great way to reach people, I also wanted to have them in one central location. I made that central location my blog. It’s relatively new, I only started it at the end of March/beginning of April, but it’s already full of reviews because I went back and found all my reviews on those other sites and posted them on the blog.
What do you think is the hardest thing about blogging?
The hardest thing is finding ways to reach the target audience. I have a few people that follow my blog that do not know me personally, but many of my current followers are friends and family. It’s hard to find ways of marketing a blog that don’t cost a lot of money. I actually have a couple of social media marketing books that I’m trying to read in between reading books for review.
What do you think is the easiest thing about blogging?
Writing the actual posts. It’s not always easy to come up with a post topic when I don’t have a book review to share, but once I have the topic I’m going to blog about, I find writing the actual post to be pretty easy to do.
Where do you see your blog in two years?
I’m hoping that in two years, my readership/followers have grown and that on top of just book reviews, I’m also offering interviews with authors and other people in the book-related industry such as other librarians, possibly other bloggers, and if I’m super successful (which I’m working towards but not counting on), even publishing experts.
How would you describe your blogging style?
While I try to make my book reviews objective to a degree, my feelings always tend to seep through. With my non-book review posts, I’m pretty open about things.
I try to keep both reviews and non-review posts at a medium length. I don’t want them to be so short that there’s no substance to them. On the flip-side, I don’t want my posts to be so long that people get bored reading them. So I try to balance that.
Where do the ideas for your blogging material come from?
The majority of my blogging material is book reviews so it’s easy to come up with that material. The other posts, either I’ve wanted to share something about books, like my book quotes post, or I’ve wanted to speak on a specific topic. Sometimes I see something online that I think would make a good post. Other times it comes from somewhere inside of me.
How much time would you say you spend on your blog?
I’m still getting my rhythm, but I try to post at least once a week. I haven’t been completely successful at that yet, but I’ve also used my delays as ways of making other posts. The posts themselves don’t take a long time to write initially, but I do spend a lot of time proofreading and editing. All told, it’s about 2 hours a week right now.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have an adorable niece and sweet nephew that I usually spend time with on my days off. They’re preschool and toddler ages so they’re tons of fun.
When I’m not with them, I’m reading, working in my water garden, or taking nature/art photography. I have several parks I visit regularly as well as the zoo and a couple of museums where I take photos. My dad also has beautiful flower gardens that I take photos of.
What do you think is the best thing a blogger can give to her readers?
Hmmm, I think it’s best if a blogger can find a niche and really make it her own. For example, mine is mostly book reviews with other life musings sprinkled in. This is what I’m good at and where my interests lie. I wouldn’t dare try to make a blog on cooking or homeschooling because I have very little interest or knowledge of those areas.
What would you most like readers to know about you?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I guess I would want them to understand that while I put my best efforts into each and every post, I’m not getting paid for my blog and I’m human. Sometimes life gets in the way and it takes longer to get a post up for whatever reason. Oftentimes, I’ll write a post about why but sometimes that’s far more personal than I want to get into.
How can readers follow your blog?
Readers have several options. They can follow my blog when they visit at https://valeriesmusings76.wordpress.com – receiving an email when new posts are posted. They can also find me on Facebook. My blog’s page is https://www.facebook.com/ValeriesMusings/. Each new post shows up there as well, providing a link to the blog in order to read the entire post. Finally, they can choose to follow me on Twitter – @Rainstar76. I would caution that my Twitter account is not JUST for the blog, it’s also my personal Twitter account. On the rare chances I get to watch “The Voice”, I do end up tweeting quite a bit with the instant saves. However a link to each new blog post shows up automatically on Twitter. Finally, the majority of my posts also post to my LinkedIn account which can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeriedlong
Thanks again for having me on your blog, Mary! 🙂