Welcome back to another Blogger Spotlight. For these articles, I have sent out a request to anybody who would be interested in having their blog shown on another blog to reach out and answer some questions for me. Today we’ll be highlighting Simply Good Books, a book blog run by Christine.
Christine, like so many of us during the pandemic, took the many hours at home as an opportunity to spark up a hobby. Christine started SImplyGoodBooks as a site to offer personal book recommendations to others with her additional motive coming after she read a book review of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall which she found it to be unnecessarily mean and unhelpful.
What made you get into blogging?
I have been an avid reader all my life, being one of those children who couldn’t resist reading under the bed covers at night with a torch after lights out!
I’ve always been on the lookout for good book recommendations myself, and during lockdown thought it would be an interesting and useful opportunity to provide a site that offered personal good book recommendations to others. This was spurred on by my reading an excoriating book review in one of the national newspapers of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. I thought the review was unnecessarily malicious and frankly unhelpful. Rather than a book review site that star-rated author’s work, I decided to create a site that included only descriptions of books I would personally recommend to others (or be personally recommended by others). This was also influenced by the intent to create a site with a positive vibe at a time of great uncertainty and gloom during the pandemic.
What’s your most successful post?
In terms of the number of views, my most successful post is my most recent recommendation In The Name Of by Ben Dunn. This book was written by an author who I connected with on Twitter who kindly sent me a review copy of his book. I would likely never have come across his work if I hadn’t been a book blogger.
I love the crime and thriller genre but am rather squeamish about violence (having said that I have watched every episode of Squid Game on Netflix!) so would probably not have chosen this book under other circumstances. As it was, there was something in the writing which really caught my attention, and so despite the brutality which is an integral part of the plot and characters, I would most definitely recommend it to others who enjoy this genre.
What’s been your biggest uphill battle with blogging?
Keeping a consistent posting schedule. Until recently, I have been on a daily posting streak. This helps me keep a I absolutely love reading good books so finding the time to read is no problem. Spending the time (aka discipline) to write regularly, takes a different type of effort – one which I don’t always achieve. Hence why I am happy to invite guest bloggers to my site.
What are you most proud of about your blog?
Putting myself in front of the camera! Early on when I first established my blog I was keen to ensure it was easy for people to access the recommendations. Not everyone has time to sit down and read a book blog in detail, so I decided to create shortened YouTube recommendations for people to watch. I also turn these into short podcasts, so people who are even more pressed for time can still listen to the recommendation.
What one tip would you give to people looking to start a blog?
When I started out I hadn’t realised, dauntingly, just how many book bloggers there were out there. Then I realised that there are millions of books, written by millions of authors, with millions of readers out there looking for their perfect read. If we can help just one reader find a good book recommendation that they wouldn’t otherwise of thought of, as book bloggers we’ve done our job. Go with what’s important to you, you’ll find your people.
Here are all the places you can find Christine’s SimpleGoodBooks: