Welcome to the first ever Blogletters interview!
Sometime last month, I came up with this blog post + interview series idea because I wanted to start discussions about the various parts of blogging such as the blogger identity, niches, etc. Once I had the rough idea down, I tweeted saying I’m looking to interview bloggers and was floored with responses.
I’ve been really excited while preparing all the content and I’m so glad to bring the first interview to y’all today.
Mel is a long-time book blogger who now focuses on writing about books through the lens of witchcraft. They love doing tarot readings for bookish OTPs, crafting spell jars for characters, and convincing you why their favorite characters are actually witches.
Hi Mel! What inspired you to start blogging? Did you have any expectations or ideas of how blogging would be?
I was inspired to start blogging back when book blogging was first becoming a thing. I was in high school at the time and had been asked to write a couple book reviews for someone my mom met through work who was really well known throughout the publishing industry and had huge book sales and ARC giveaways on her lawn every few months.
I’m not really sure what my expectations for blogging were when I started because it was so long ago, lol. I was only reading a couple book blogs so I didn’t really have any idea of what to expect. I’m kind of glad I went into it back when I first started and not now because I didn’t have preconceived notions of what my blog should be.
How did you come up with the “book witch” brand? Do you ever wish you had chosen something else?
I actually have had something else before! In fact, I have had many “something elses” before landing on Cotton Candy Book Witch since I’ve been blogging since 2012. I chose my “book witch” brand because when I got into witchcraft, I was on witch Tumblr a lot and my username was cottoncandywitch27. This inspired me to start thinking about books from a witchy lens, which then resulted in choosing Cotton Candy Book Witch. I’m so happy I switched from my last blog, A Word and a Whisper, to this one because I feel like it really captures my interests, both personal and bookish, personality, and aesthetic. It’s been really fun writing posts like why a favorite character is actually a witch and coming up with spells for characters or doing tarot readings for bookish OTPs*, so the change has also made me more creative.
*One True Pairs
Is your online/blogging persona the same as your personality in real life? If not, how are they different and why do you think the difference exists?
I think the biggest way in which my online/blogging personas are different is that online, I find it much easier to talk to people and be outgoing and outspoken about issues I care about. In real life, I’m much shyer and reserved and people see me as very guarded, which I am not at all online. I think this is because online, I have a big community of people who are like me and have similar interests, while IRL*, I have yet to find a place or people I feel like I truly belong with.
*In Real Life
How has your experience been as a book blogger? Do you like the label?
I like being a book blogger. A lot of bloggers nowadays are experimenting with other platforms and trying out other types of content, but I’m pretty content with just being known for my written content. I think written content is so different than other content and I like being associated with it much better because it doesn’t rely on my visual/artistic abilities or how I look, which I’m not so confident about.
I think people who aren’t bloggers see the blogging community as small and one dimensional in terms of the content produced, but I think bloggers are a huge community and I keep finding new blogs every week. Book bloggers are just as vibrant as other parts of the book community like bookstagram or booktube; we just express ourselves in a different way.
Do you think it’s important for book bloggers to have social media profiles?
I think when it comes to social media, it’s important to stick to what you’re good at and passionate about. I’ve struggled for years finding what is really my “calling” on social media and have finally realized that I simply prefer written formats for social media to anything that involves showing my face or visuals. I think having other social media accounts can definitely be beneficial to your blog, but it’s all about finding what best represents you and what type of content you’re actually able and willing to maintain.
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of blogging?
My favorite aspect of book blogging is interacting with the community. Until I started this blog, I had various others over the years but never truly made an effort to interact with people because I had a couple bad experiences with bigger book bloggers that made me worry everyone was like that. However, I have found the blogging community from the past few years to be INCREDIBLY welcoming and supportive.
My least favorite aspect of blogging is social media. Even though y’all know I love to tweet, sometimes being on other platforms can get overwhelming because there’s so much negativity there and comparison that makes me feel bad about myself. Obviously, I could just focus on blogging alone, but I think participating on other social media allows for a richer blogging experience and introduces me to new friends, so I still want to be involved on other platforms even if they sometimes make me stress about my place in book blogging.
How has your experience been as part of the book blogging community?
Overall, I have had an extremely positive experience with the book blogging community. I feel like book bloggers have the least amount of drama and we take care of our own trash when it comes to problematic people in the community. Any negativity I’ve faced has come from other platforms, like I mentioned. I have found the blogging community especially to be very welcoming of new voices and interested in supporting both other bloggers and voices from other platforms.
Hi, Sumedha chipping in here. The sentence “we take care of our own trash” made me burst out laughing!
If you didn’t blog about books, what would your niche be? Do you ever want to change?
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a blog about librarianship and library programming and other issues surrounding contemporary libraries, but even that is book related! I find it very hard to imagine myself writing as consistently about something other than books and definitely never want to change!
Do you have any advice for new book bloggers?
My biggest advice would be not to worry so much about having a “niche” when you first start blogging. It took me YEARS to find my niche and I still got a lot out of blogging and made friends. When I was first starting, having a “niche” was seen as being super important, and to some extent still is, but I think it’s totally okay not to have everything figured out about your blog before you write your first post. Sometimes it takes writing for a while to find out what you’re really interested in and about, and that’s okay! Just be you and the rest will follow.
Lastly, who are your inspirations in the blogging community?
I am a huge fan of Caro from Bookcheshire Cat. I love her writing style and find her posts so friendly and conversational and always leave her blog feeling like I’ve just had a conversation with a friend. We like a lot of similar books so I always go to her reviews of my upcoming anticipated releases because I’m interested in seeing what she writes.
I also love Fadwa from Word Wonders. They not only writes about diverse books, but also write about a variety of book genres, and I have added many new books I hadn’t heard of to my TBR before because of them. They are such a big advocate for authors of color and it’s so inspiring to see how passionately they promotes diverse books.
Another blogger I really enjoy is Destiny from Howling Libraries. I feel like I really relate to Destiny because we’re both witchy, even though we do not write about it in the same way. I always look forward to Destiny’s book hauls because there’s almost always a witchy book that I immediately buy. I’m also so impressed with her foray into booktube and like watching her channel as well.
CW from The Quiet Pond is a sweetheart and also promotes books so creatively. I love the theme of her blog and all her artwork is so beautiful and comforting at the same time. She is truly a book blogging champion and a champion of promoting diverse books as well. Her posts are always so unique and different and she’s truly a breath of fresh air in the blogging community and is such a delight.
Thank you so much for doing this interview, Mel!
I’ve been following Mel’s blog for quite a while now and always enjoy their posts so y’all should definitely check out their blog too.
There will be many more interviews with amazing bloggers coming up so watch this space for them. You can also look at this page where I will be updating links of all the Blogletters interviews as they go up.
Talk to us!
Are you part of the book community? How has your experience been? Do you think it’s important to have a brand associated with your blog? Share your thoughts in the comments!