How I Became A Book Blogger

The origin story of An Average Life

I always loved reading as a child. I know most of our stories start this way, but hey! It’s true.

In fact you can read all about my childhood library memories in my newbie blogger spotlight over at Jennie-Ly’s blog HERE 

As I got older, music and socialising became more important to me than books. Please, forgive my blasphemy.
So from the age of 13 to 16 I barely read. I was too busy window shopping, watching angsty local bands and truanting in what my adult self now recognises as the perfect cliche of childhood rebellion. *Eyeroll*

At 17 I was living with my boyfriends family, going to college and working part time. Most nights we were hanging out in your typical teen aged gang at each others houses. I would read books on occasion, but I wanted to spend my money on other things. £8 per book in Ottakars (now a Waterstones) was too steep for the speed I would read them and there was never anything new in our town library- Their fiction section is still tiny and outdated to this day.

I had a handful of mass market authors I would buy at release, namely Gerritsen, Cole, Rose, Slaughter and of course The King– but I didn’t stray much further until…

THE KINDLE.

*Cue angelic singing and heavenly light*

The original Kindle was my first purchase when I obtained a management career and I was immediately hooked back in. Being able to shop for instantly accessible books at any time reignited my love of reading. I had plenty of time on my commute to work and was once again reading myself to sleep at night.

But what about the blogging? That’s why we’re here right?

By 2016 I was in a bit of a pickle. I had raging anxiety, a stressful job and a divorce to finalise.
At the same time my dearest friend had gone travelling and started up a little blog for himself (since shut down unfortunately). I loved reading about his escapades and when he returned he suggested I start my own as a hobby.
It doesn’t matter whether anyone reads it, he said, just having a place to ramble and a creative outlet would do wonders for my mind.

He signed me up to WordPress and told me to give it a try.

And so I did.
And it was awful 😂

I had no schedule, no audience and no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to share this part of myself with my family or friends but I was desperate for engagement.

I took to Twitter next.
I made a new profile with no IRL connections, no personal images and no use of my name. Completely anonymous.
After researching a little about the book community I cautiously reached out and began to join chats, the first of which being the wonderfully welcoming #SundayYA.

Finally, other people that wanted to talk about books! There has never been any bookworms in my family or social circle, seriously, why are they so hard to find?

I marveled at their blogs and traced their tags and memes to more and more incredible sites- realising with green eyed envy that my own efforts were minuscule.

I made the decision then to shut down AnAverageLife. I had charged in completely unprepared and needed a clean slate.
I gave myself 6 months to learn some very basic coding, create simple images and draft several posts- meanwhile cultivating my Twitter account and dropping hints about the upcoming relaunch of AnAverageLife.

This time I was going to be proud of my efforts. I created this About Me page, put up photos of myself and began using my actual name online.

On my 30th birthday in August 2018 I relaunched this site. Since then I’ve increased my online audience to almost 2400 across both platforms. I regularly participate in blog tours, joined Netgalley, made it onto several publisher mailing lists and most importantly have made some INCREDIBLE friends.

I became a blogger to distract myself from anxiety and depression but it has become SO MUCH MORE  than that.

Blogging has led me to a wonderfully diverse and supportive community, kind and caring friends whom I speak to – sometimes more than my real life pals- and a feeling of belonging that I hadn’t known I was searching for.

How did you become a blogger?

What does it mean to you?

How Important Is A Plot Twist?

I’m beginning to find it more difficult to find books that shock, scare or surprise me, one of my priorities when choosing what to read. I love trying to guess endings and I’m always happiest when I fail to do so.

I agree with the notion that when a book announces a twist, shocking revelation or surprise ending they’ve already eliminated those exact qualities.
We’re prepared for what’s to come and immediately start picking up on any hints and red herrings subconsciously, if not on purpose.

However, there needs to be connections to the end result earlier in the book to make them feasible. When a surprise comes straight out of left field and has no build up it feels lazy and sometimes makes no sense at all.
It’s a very nuanced art and (I assume) extremely difficult to balance the right amount of direction without paving the way to an obvious conclusion.

Often I’ll see reviewers rave about how they ‘never saw it coming’ and secretly roll my eyes, but I’ve also been amazed by revelations other readers had easily predicted.

For me a plot twist is a major factor in any suspense, crime or thriller novel. Done wrong it can leave me indifferent to the books other redeeming qualities. Done right it can rocket a mediocre read to much higher standing.

How do you feel about plot twists?

Do you have any good examples I should read?

My Problem With Anthologies

What makes you read anthologies? I just can’t do it. Tell me the secret!

I’ve never really been a fan of anthologies sooo it was particularly silly of me to request 3 different kinds when I first joined Netgalley!

My feedback ratio has been abysmal from almost the beginning, so I’m attempting to force my way through the remaining two collections on my ARC list.

I couldn’t understand why I was put off reading them. I’d chosen three different genres- horror, dystopian and fantasy. I love these so why did I keep skipping over them?
Continue reading “My Problem With Anthologies”