Welcome back to another Blogletters interview. Today we have Raji from World Unlike Our Own with us so let’s get to it!
Hello! My name is Raji, and I’m a 24 year old reader based in Toronto, Canada. I started blogging in late 2018 so that I could have a place to share my bookish thoughts with the world. I have been reading for as long as I can remember, and no day is complete without at least a few chapters from my current book (though preferably the entire book instead). I also love travelling, and hope to complete my ever-growing bucket list someday (most of which are places I learn about through my books).
What inspired you to start blogging? Did you have any expectations or ideas of how blogging would be?
I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, and as the books I read grew more complex, I started to think about and analyze them more, which in turn resulted in me noting down thoughts in odd places. I’ve been informally reviewing books since around late 2016 when I was on my internship year during university. At that time, I didn’t want to get into something major because I knew I would be back to a hectic schedule pretty soon, so I stuck to posting on Goodreads, but the idea of creating a blog was always there way before that as a way to collect these thoughts and go back to revisit them sometime.
I did my research before finally starting my blog, so there were very few surprises. However, building up the base of readers and getting into the rhythm of blogging regularly did take longer than I initially expected.
In 2 years of blogging, what are your biggest takeaways?
Blog because you genuinely enjoy it, and don’t stress out over things like view counts and likes. Those take time to build up, and if you really enjoy blogging, it will show in your writing and the rest will follow automatically. Do take the time to find and read new blogs and interact with the community – it’s not only a great way to get to know some fellow readers and bloggers, it will in turn help and motivate you, along with being a treasure trove of inspiration, whether it is for a new type of post, or a new look for your blog.
If you could change an aspect of blogging (for everyone), what would you change?
Ok this is a hard one. While I’ve never experienced it directed towards me, there is still some negativity online regarding a variety of topics from book shaming to negative reviews. Most of the bookish community are wonderful and supportive of other bloggers, but that small portion who are not is something that makes me over cautious about what I say in a review while still keeping my opinions honest because I dislike confrontations, especially in a forum like this which is supposed to be fun and relaxing. I’ve only ever rated one book below three stars on my blog and I sat on that review for ages and rewrote it several times before giving up and just posting it.
Do you think having social media profiles is important for bloggers?
Absolutely. For the first few months of blogging, I was still figuring out the little things like structuring my posts, blog layout and getting used to reading on a schedule, and so didn’t give much thought to promoting my posts. When I finally did get around to creating a Twitter account, the difference was visible in a matter of weeks, not to mention that through the amazing community that is book Twitter, I found some amazing bloggers to follow with similar reading tastes to mine and endless book recommendations. I’ve never been particularly interactive on social media and my personal accounts see very little activity – in fact, I don’t even maintain a personal Twitter account. But with the book community, I find so many more opportunities to interact, and it encourages me to be more outgoing. I find social media to be a huge part of blogging, not just in terms of promoting one’s own posts, or finding new friends, but also in that it’s such a welcoming and motivating community.
What are your favourite & least favourite aspects of blogging?
My favourite part is of course, reviewing the many amazing books I read, and I still get excited over every ARC I receive even after all these years. A close second though, is interacting with the book community and catching up on my favourite blogs, which is a daily routine I look forward to.
I don’t know about least favourite, but I do get annoyed if there’s a book I really want to read right now, but I need to finish something else first due to ARC posting schedules or blog tours. Reading slumps are also the worst because I’m rarely more than two posts ahead of what I’m currently reading and if it’s a really bad one, it could easily throw off my blogging plans for the next couple of weeks.
What is your “blogger identity”? Is it different from who you are offline?
My identity as a book blogger is basically the part of me that wants to do nothing but read books and fangirl about them day and night. I aim to keep the tone of my posts more conversational and informal since those are also the types of reviews I enjoy reading the most. Deciding a niche for my blog was easy since I’ve always naturally gravitated more towards the genres of fantasy and historical fiction, possibly because they were among the first I was introduced to.
I guess what would be different to who I am offline is just the more personal details, since I’ve always been very careful about what information I share online. I am also way more outgoing online than I am in person.
If you didn’t blog about books, what would you blog about?
Definitely a travel blog. While I don’t travel as often as I would like, especially given the current climate, I do an enormous amount of research for future trips in my free time, which would, now that I think about it, be worth months of blogging material if I ever decided to go that route. My tastes when it comes to travel tend more towards historical monuments, ancient ruins and cultural experiences and it’s pretty rare that I’d plan a city vacation if there isn’t something like that nearby. However, I don’t think I would ever consider switching my niche from book reviews, as books have always been a constant in my life and that’s unlikely to change. If I do get the opportunity to travel more continuously though, I might consider starting a second blog.
Do you ever get “blogger’s guilt”?
All the time. It mostly happens when I’m lagging behind on my reading and can’t finish a book in time to get the review up. I try to tailor the order of the books I read specifically to avoid something like this, or worse, a reading slump, but sometimes it can’t be helped. It’s a domino effect most of the time – if I’m upset about not being able to post on a particular day, I have no motivation to interact either since that makes me feel worse.
I just remind myself that I blog as a hobby and it’s something that I find to be fun, so stressing about it really doesn’t make sense. It took a while, but I finally convinced myself to temporarily shelve a book if I’m not able to get through it in a reasonable time, or even stop reading it altogether. I also have a specific set of ‘comfort books’ I turn to if I’m having a really bad blogging week which includes some easy to read favourites like Percy Jackson.
If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing about blogging, what would it be?
I would definitely tell myself not to stress, and stop checking my views, likes and follows. I do have targets I try to reach every month in terms of view counts, but I no longer fuss over reaching them – which, strangely enough, has actually helped me reach my goals easier. And the biggest thing I would remind myself is that blogging is a hobby that I’m supposed to enjoy, and to take my time and focus on quality over quantity.
Name some bloggers who inspire you!
Since I started blogging, I’ve come across so many amazing blogs, and I have a ton bookmarked that I check almost daily for updates. Too many to list here, but here are some blogs that I really enjoy:
Susan @ Novel Lives –The reviews on this blog are always so insightful and if I’m considering whether to pick up a book or not, I usually check here. Not to mention, I love the way they’re written – it’s so much fun to read! Plus, she’s a fellow Six of Crows fan, which is one of my favourite books of all time!
Alison @ Bossy Librarian – I really enjoy the range of books I get to know about from this blog as it covers not only a wide variety across genres but also age ranges. Her reviews are also always easy to read and to the point.
Jenn @ Jenniely – This was one of the first blogs I started following and her posts and layout of her blog provided a lot of inspiration for me when I was setting up mine.
I’m All Booked Up YA – As a blog specifically focused on YA titles, this is one I read regularly, and their recommendations are always great! There’s also quite the variety in their posts apart from book reviews, which are always fun to read.
Sahi @ My World of Books – Her reviews are really fun to read, particularly the fantasy and YA titles many of which are usually on my TBR as well. I also really appreciate how structured and well thought out the reviews are.
Thanks for talking to us, Raji!
You should check out her blog for fantasy and historical fiction bookish talk and more.
There are more interviews with amazing bloggers coming up so watch this space for them. Check out this page to read the interviews that have been published so far!
Talk to us!
Did you have any expectations when you first started blogging? Do you think social media is important for book bloggers? Tell us in the comments!