Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today, Carol. I’m Anne, and I write about books on my book blog, Being Anne (). I live in Wetherby in West Yorkshire - a lovely place to be - and since taking early retirement from my Civil Service job four years ago, it’s been so good to be able to spend my time doing things I enjoy. And one of the things I enjoy more than anything else is reading - and then telling other book lovers about the books I’ve read.
I started my blog nearly five years ago, and in those days there weren’t quite so many book bloggers around. I’ve been writing reviews since I first had a home computer, sharing them on book-related sites, but starting the blog meant that I could save them all in one place. When people started reading my posts and commenting on them, no-one was more surprised than me - I thought i’d only be talking to myself and the few friends I’d told about it. People contacted me, asking me to review their books - and publishers started too, offering me books for review. I realised I just couldn’t review everything I wanted to, so I started to add interviews and guest posts to draw attention to books - and amazingly people seemed to like those posts too.
By summer of 2016, the blog had 220,000 views - and I decided I’d like to move things up a notch and build a better platform. So I taught myself the IT skills, bought my own web domain, and moved everything across to Wordpress - and felt so proud of myself! When I relaunched, it was a real thrill when #BeingAnne trended on Twitter - me and Kim Kardashian, eh?! I now usually post six days a week, sometimes more than one post a day, and have over 6000 followers on social media.
The rise of Twitter and Facebook has totally changed the way I do things - I now also have a page on Facebook too (), and particularly love being part of the Book Connectors group () which makes it so much easier for bloggers and authors to make connections. I tweet about my posts, and share those from people I know to help them get a larger audience. I always copy my reviews to Amazon too, and that really makes a difference for authors - I’m a Top 500 reviewer there. And the real cherry on the top was when the blog became a prizewinner - it won the Best Pal Blog Award at the 2016 Annual Bloggers’ Bash, and for a second time in 2017.
So why do I do all this? There’s absolutely no money involved - I do receive copies of books for review, but probably buy even more. I do it for the sheer joy of doing it. I’ve discovered the most wonderful books, and it’s been a real delight to share them with other people. It’s so difficult for any author to get their book noticed these days, especially when they self-publish or are with a smaller independent publisher, so it’s really lovely to be able to help with that. I’ve also made so many friends among authors, publishers and the wonderful supportive book blogging community. There’s a great social side too - I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to some wonderful book launches and parties. Most of the events are in London - but that’s only two hours away by train, and I do have my pensioner railcard!
If you read any of my reviews, you’ll find they’re always positive - I may criticise, but never end on a negative note. There are books I may not enjoy (and when I really don’t, I rarely finish) - you’ll never see them on the blog, but I do share my thoughts with the authors and publishers. And I’m delighted to report that I’ll be reading Carol’s book, Resolutions, for a review I’ll publish on New Year’s Day - and really looking forward to doing so.