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Bookish. Publisher at Louise Walters Books. Reader, writer, and editor.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

From the Other Side: Book Blogger Sarah Hardy

Welcome to the first of a new series of blog posts in which I chat to book bloggers. I thought it would be fun and informative to host bloggers on my (author) site, as it's usually the other way round. I think book blogging is sometimes misunderstood, so I hope these interviews will dispel a few myths that seem to have grown up around the book blogging scene. 

One of the great things about the social media revolution is, I think, the ability for book people to communicate on a daily level. Readers, bloggers, writers, authors, publishers and agents (and all the overlap that exists among us!) can chat to each other like never before. It's an exciting time to be a book lover. And I don't know about you, but I never tire of talking about books! So, I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with book blogger Sarah Hardy. Sarah also freelances as Submissions Advisor at Bloodhound Books.

Here's what she had to say...

All book bloggers are surely book lovers. How and when did your love of reading begin?
From ever since I can remember I have always loved reading. I would spend many an hour as a child with my head stuck in a book and it’s stayed with me ever since.


When did you start your blog?
My blog will be two in April. Can’t quite believe I have been doing it nearly two years and I enjoy it as much now, if not more than when I did when I started it.
Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading and reviewing?
My choice of genres has changed over the years and even though I still read a variety of genres my firm favourite without a doubt has to be crime/thrillers.
Do you have a “day job” (work, children, and/or caring responsibilities) - and if so, how do you fit in all your reading, reviewing and blogging? Yes, myself and my husband have a small carpet shop which I run on my own whilst my husband is out fitting. I have also started recently doing some hours for Bloodhound Books which I am absolutely loving. We also have two teenagers, I would say the hard part of parenting of running around after my children is over with but I am beginning to learn that it seems to be never ending!
I basically read wherever and whenever I can. If the shop is quiet I will spend some time reading there and I hardly watch television anymore so will read on an evening also.
If I don’t like a book, I usually don’t review it on Goodreads, Amazon, Netgalley or on my blog. For me, that’s the kindest thing to do. As a writer, I know how disheartening negative reviews can be. I also appreciate not every reader enjoys every book. Where do you stand on this issue?
If I don’t like a book I don’t review it on my blog. If it’s an ARC/review copy I won’t review anywhere other than Goodreads, as Goodreads is my bible of what I have read. If it is a book I have purchased then I do tend to still leave a review on Amazon but I always try and be constructive. I personally read a mixture of all the ratings before helping me decide whether to purchase a book or not, as what someone else doesn’t like about book could be something that I don’t like. Also what someone else may not like I may enjoy. It would be a boring world if we all liked the same thing.
Have you ever had a negative response from an author after reviewing their work, and if so, how did you handle it? (No names needed!)
I can’t say I really have, no. I know some authors are not overly happy with a three star review but for me it still means I liked it but there was just certain parts that either didn’t work or I didn’t like but overall it is still a decent read.
How do you feel about indie authors? Do you consider self-published books? Yes, certainly. When accepting review copies, for me it is all about the book. If I like the sound of it then I will read it regardless of if it is self published or through a publisher.
On the other hand, how do you feel about those over-hyped books from publishers?!
I have fallen a few times into buying or requesting books on Netgalley due to all the hype about certain novels. Some of them the hype has been very much deserved whereas others I really struggled to see what all the hype was about.
There has recently been some negative stuff on social media about book bloggers. I know how this feels, as I am self-publishing my second novel, and I know how indie authors get looked down upon in some quarters! So - how do you respond to that negativity?
I try not to take it personally. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If people don’t want to read my blog that’s fine, I have no issue with that, I don’t personally like that many readers think that book bloggers are paid for what we do as I can assure you we don’t. I started my blog to support lesser known authors that deserve to get their name out there and to share the books that I have enjoyed reading. Yes, I my get sent free books from time to time but I have to spend how ever many hours reading that book, writing up my review and sharing it on different platforms. That is a lot of hours, but we do it because we are passionate about books.
Sadly a lot of book groups on social media have very mixed views about what we do also, and I have been blocked from a few for sharing my blog reviews on there which is probably what riles me up the most. How me sharing a review via a link instead of doing a status telling people what I thought of a book is any different I will never know.
Have you made “real life” friends as a result of your book blog?
Yes, lots. I have been to a few events and meet ups and have made some good friends who include authors as well as bloggers. I have a BBFF (best blogging friend forever) Noelle Holten over at Crime Book Junkie book blog, who I hit it off with immediately. There are lots of others who I would love to give a shout out to but they who they are.
Tell us about the art of writing a review. How do you avoid spoilers but manage to convey the sense or feel of a book? I find it difficult, so any tips will be gratefully received! I’ve seen some fantastic reviews, which I suspect were pretty tricky to write…
I'm not sure if there is an art to it. Some reviews flow really easily in that the words just come straight out, whereas others it has taken me ages to write them. I never feel that they are good enough as I am not a writer, but I go with how it made me feel and what I liked.
Big question: Have you ever been tempted to write, or have you written, a novel (or any kind of book) yourself?

I would love to write a novel but to be honest I don’t have one in me and I think I make a much better reader than I do writer.
Quick fire: E-reader or print?
Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I have just started The Crying Boy by Jane E James

Sarah Tweets @sarahhardy681

Thanks so much to Sarah for joining me on my blog today. It's been interesting to hear what makes a book blogger tick! I'll be interviewing more bloggers soon, so do look out for my next post in this "From the Other Side" series.


  1. Kim aka The Buzzing Bookmark23 March 2017 at 05:22

    Great post. I'm a South African book blogger and I started my blog last year, so it's interesting for me to read about and meet other "bloggers". Ps, I share Sarah's feelings about social media book pages. I've also been removed from a few for sharing a review, which I simply don't understand. So it's fine for me to physically write a review on the page but not to share a review? How does that even vaguely make sense. Grrr, irritating!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kim. I must admit, I wasn't aware of this issue. Hope it rights itself! I think this kind of thing can be a problem on social media... which is, really, still in its infancy. Exciting times, but also a little confusing and overwhelming, at times!