This week's special interview guest is Gina Scarcella of the awesome blog Behind a Million and One pages, which features book reviews, questions and answers, interviews, bookmarks, giveaways and endless other cool things - all to do with the world of Young Adult fiction. I met Gina through Allen and Unwin and she was my first ever Afterworld interviewer. I thought I'd through some questions back her way, since she is clearly an expert in her field... L
Check out Gina's blog at http://behindamillionandonepages.blogspot.com.au/
1. How and when did you start Behind a Million and One Pages?
I started Behind a Million and One Pages back in October 2011. At the time, I was really into Goodreads. Always talking on the discussions, and all I kept seeing and talking to were bloggers. I think that was the moment that I knew I had to start blogging, I was seeing blogs everywhere at that stage so it seemed like a sign to jump straight in! I asked a few of my Goodreads friends who were bloggers about it, and that just convinced me even more.
2. What made you choose books and in particular Young Adult fiction?
I've always had my head in a book, even learning to read back in school, I was always at the highest level I absolutely love YA novels, I tried so many others, but nothing could compare to reading YA. I think it's because it can easily appeal to a wider audience, and you can very easily relate to the characters. You become hooked and addicted without even realizing it! It combines a whole heap of different genres together, and I think that's what makes them so entertaining.
3. What did you do to attract readers to your blog?
The biggest thing for any blogger to do to attract readers is to write reviews and posting them on numerous sites (Goodreads, BookLikes, Book Depository, Fishpond, Booktopia etc) and leaving the link to the review on your site. Other than that, there are a whole lot of other things that attract readers, such as blog tours (which show exclusive material from the author, such as playlists, excerpts, interviews and guest posts), weekly meme's and even something creative and new that you haven't seen before.
I've always been obsessed with bookmarks, I've searched everywhere for a blog or a site that lets you download and print bookmarks of all my favorite series', but I never found one, so I decided to start it up myself. I've expanded it by letting authors know that I have made a bookmark of their novel (which they usually share on social media), as well as asking authors for their favorite quote to add to the bookmark! I share these on my blog, as well as link back to my blog with the new bookmarks that are added.
4. How often do you update and how do you share your updates?
For me, this usually depends on the kind of post. For spotlight posts and cover reveals, I try to keep one post per day. Other kind of promotional posts (interviews, guest posts etc), I will try to the two day mark, but most of the time these are one day posts. For reviews, I always plan to have these showcased for two days. Reviews usually pull in a bigger audience, and are reviews provided by a publisher, so I like to give them a big more promo space. I try as hard as I can not to double book during one day, if this happens then I reschedule. I want each post to get as much top-spot coverage as possible, this is especially important because of different time zones. Sydney time, is usually around in the US, I always keep this in mind so that all audiences, no matter where they are, will be able to see the top post of the day.
5. You get a lot of ARC (Advanced Review Copies) books and giveaways from publishers – how did you establish those relationships?
Most publishers have a really good blogger programs. I've found that the look for the following in a blog: minimum 200 followers, regularly blogging (3-4 posts a week) for 6 months. Most of them also read some of your previous reviews for quality and duration. If you don't write a good review with a few paragraphs, then it doesn't really seem like you are doing this because you want to and not just for the perks of getting ARC copies. Once you've got all those ticked off, make sure that you go through some of the publisher's titles and upcoming titles, to see if you will be interested with affiliating yourself with them. All information from then on is found in their publicity section of their website. Sometimes they will have a form that you need to fill in, if you are interested in review copies or you will be provided a generic email address.
6. You are obviously a reader, are you also a writer? In which case, what other sorts of writing do you do?
First and foremost I am a reader. But when you read as much as I do, I think wanting to write something comes as something you naturally want to try as well. I've written a few stories (nothing published of course) and have posted them on my Wattpad account and of course they are YA! My story titled, Anmon, is one that I have planned out in a notebook and want to continue, but the others were from writing groups on Goodreads with prompts etc.
7. Does blogging make you any money or is it a hobby for you? Do you want it to be a full-time thing?
This always depends. I've had authors wanting to pay me because they use my bookmarks as their official bookmarks, but I always refuse. Mostly of this because of copyright issues, I'm using the cover image of the book, the same font as the title and I don't include the publisher's logo on my bookmarks. This isn't breaching anything, but I never started it to make money from it.
I get a small percentage from sites where you can purchase books from (Amazon, Smashwords, Fishpond etc) for including their buy link on my site, but that is only when one of my readers buy from my direct link. This money always goes into future giveaways for the blog, and the same as companies advertising on my site. It's the same concept, if one of my readers click on the link to an advertisers site, then I will get a small income from that for giveaways and exciting things for the blog. I never use the money on myself, I don't get much of it anyway, but it always helps because of international shipping etc.
I think I would always like for this to be my hobby, and not anything full time. I'm afraid that because I love blogging so much, that I will get sick of it if I go full time. I don't make any sort of valuable income from my site, so it's not something that I could make a living out of, even if I wanted to. I always enjoy doing this for fun, and I don't think I want it to be any other way.
8. Tell us a little bit about yourself – who are you and what do you do and like?
Tough question! I don't really like talking about myself, but here goes: I'm 20 and from south-west Sydney, I work full time, blog part time as a hobby, and read all the time. I've been a blogger for around 3 years now, and I don't remember not having some sort of book in my hand. I love to read all kinds of YA novels, and have to stop myself from buying books every week.
Thanks for the interview Gina... reviews and recommendations are always welcome (and thanks for popping my Afterworld interview cherry! You were very gentle...The Scout