I’m featuring one of my very dear friends today and I’m EXCITED.
Nikhat and I first met as part of the Bangalore Bookstagram club on one of the monthly meet-ups and this lockdown has actually brought us closer. Nikhat is the one who named Blogletters when I asked for help because I’m garbage at naming, haha.
So get a drink or a snack and let’s talk!
Hi, I’m Nikhat from Words Are All You Need. I’m a book hoarder with a passion for writing and binge-watching. On my blog, you’ll find me posting reviews on books, tv-series and random non-bookish content born from my fancy.
Hi Nikhat! What inspired you to start a blog?
My blogging journey started with my bookstagram account. I was a part of the reader’s community without even realising that there was a dedicated space for readers out there. Once I learnt of it, I decided to turn my Instagram into a fully fledged visual book blog. After a few months of posting content on Instagram, I wanted a platform which was a more expansive space. I want to write more and in detail, and that led me to research on various blogging platforms and set up my WordPress account. Since then, I have experimented with various themes and my content has also seen a different type of change.
What do you think being a book blogger means? Is your answer the same as what the public image of book bloggers is?
Most of my circle comprises bloggers who don’t have a large following or even receive ARCs frequently. While I do associate ‘book blogger’ with popular bloggers who get ARCs and invest their time in creating various forms of content, it’s also these accounts or blogs which focus on the entire reading experience of books they love. And by that I don’t mean that these bloggers do anything less. The recognition might not be as wide, but they cater to the dedicated audience who follows them and I think that’s pretty cool.
Do you think having social media profiles comes with book blogging?
Definitely! We are in such a time that without social media presence you might as well be non-existent. If one is looking for a wider reach, having accounts on these platforms helps immensely. It not only provides exposure to a wider audience, but also introduces you to people with similar interests as you. Honestly, for me that has been the best part of this deal. I wouldn’t have met half the people I am now acquainted with had it not be for my social media profiles!
If there is one change you could make in any book community platform, what would you change?
Since I spend a lot of my time on Instagram, I wish that the algorithm favoured more than just big accounts. There was a time when the algorithm didn’t fluctuate so much that accounts got the needed reach and your growth depended on the content purely. Unfortunately, because of the influencer culture that has now seeped in on the platform, it’s gotten a little harder for your posts to reach a wider audience. Sometimes that can make you feel discouraged.
Has being an international blogger affected your blogging experience in any way?
I’ve been reading for a very long time, most of my earliest memories are of me receiving books as gifts. My reading experience has been shaped by the books available on the shelves of bookstores. And they have mostly been mainstream ones. Despite being an Indian, I’m sorry to admit that I hardly ever read books by Indian authors, or even explored books by BIPOC authors because the easiest books available to me were by White authors. However, once I started blogging, I was forced to unlearn some of the prejudices that I had unintentionally harboured. Blogging gave me the exposure to books I wouldn’t have even considered or even found space in local bookstores. Had it not been for blogging, I would still be reading the same books I did years ago. I would have missed out on a lot! I shudder to think of never coming across all the diverse books I’ve ended up loving in the process. Right now, my current favourites are translated books, and this year I’ve dedicated so much of my reading time to time and I can only see it increasing.
How would you describe your “blogger identity”? Is it the same as your offline personality?
I think there isn’t much difference between who I’m on social media and my offline personality. Of course, being an introvert that I’m, not everyone gets to see my personality but it’s a whole different thing online. I can be myself without any awkwardness, so things that might have felt uncomfortable to express in real work out better on SM. Blogging, presence on my bookstagram has helped me become more vocal in my thoughts and views. It has also aided me with confidence which I might not have had earlier. Talking to readers from all parts of the world, discovering voices through books, connecting with people of similar mindsets has done wonders to shape my online identity and in a way reflect with my offline one.
Do people who know you offline know that you have a blog?
Yes! Most of my offline friends are aware of my blog. They have been my first readers and I’m so grateful for the encouragement and push I received from them. Showing your writing to people you know is a personal thing for me and I was very hesitant in the beginning to put my thoughts out there. Had it not been for the support I got from my offline friends, I would probably have continued to let this be an idea in my head. As to my family, they don’t really understand what I do but they have been supportive in whatever capacity that they can. With them it’s a bit of confusion along with acceptance.
What are your favourite & least favourite aspects of blogging?
Favourite aspect of blogging? Writing! That has got to be my favourite. It’s my form of escape and outlet of creativity. When I pen down my thoughts about things I loved the most and having fellow readers connect with similar thoughts which leads to further discussions makes it all the more fun.
Least favourite aspect? This is probably a personal deal, but trying to come up with content regularly and struggling to write because I’m such a mood-writer sucks. When I’m not ready, it feels like a draining experience and I tend to get dejected. That passion for a subject needs to exist before I write, otherwise it just doesn’t feel right to me.
What are your biggest takeaways from blogging so far?
Be yourself, explore the community and blogs which connect with you, experiment with the content if you feel inspired by others and eventually you will get to the safe comfortable space which defines your blog and you as a blogger. When I first started, I had such a limited view of what I wanted to do. But after months of practice, with a long hiatus included, I have found new content I want to include in my blog and that’s helped me remain consistent. I also want to tell myself that going at my pace is okay. I blog because it makes me happy. Right now (at least) it’s not something I do to sustain me monetarily, and that provides me the space to not get burned out. You won’t always feel inspired to write, and that’s okay. Not all of your posts will feel perfect and that’s okay too.
Lastly, name some bloggers who inspire you!
All right, in no particular order these are some of the bloggers that I’ve been consistently looking up to these past few months.
Fadwa from https://wordwoonders.wordpress.com/ – I’ve been following them since sometime this year and I’m so inspired by their dedication to blogging despite being so busy offline. Also, their excitement and push for diverse reads has introduced me to new BIPOC authors.
Razia from https://raziakuvale.wordpress.com/ is another favourite. I find that we have similar reading interests and her reviews leave me with lots to think about.
Noura from https://theperksofbeingnourablog.wordpress.com/contact/ for being such a powerhouse. Every time I visit her blog I feel inspired to do better and she has such innovative content!
Shruti from https://thisislitblog.com/ for being such a hilarious and witty human whose writing reflects all of it. I also adore her choice of books and I’ve added so many to my TBR because of her.
Nandini from https://www.novelsandnebulas.com/ is another powerhouse with seemingly endless fantasy recommendations and various book-tag posts which have introduced me to another set of reads I’m presently eyeing while ignoring the unread books on my shelf.
Shehnaz from https://shehnazfathima.wordpress.com/ for her beautiful writing. This isn’t a bookish blog but every time I read her posts, they leave me feeling so content.
Tahoora from https://tahoorahashmi.wordpress.com/ has only just begun but I can see her doing so much in the future. Her instagram is something I relate to on a personal and spiritual level and I’m sure that this blog would be a great hit too!
You, Sumedha, from https://thewordyhabitat.in/ I’m in awe of your blogging skills and the constant excitement that you display. I love how dedicated you are at maintaining a regularity while posting and I always look forward to your chit chat (if we were having tea) posts because they make me feel like I’m conversing with you in person.
(Sumedha: imagine me with tears because I literally have tears after reading this)
Thank you so much for doing this interview, Nikhat! And for all the times you help me.
Nikhat is someone who’s opinions and recommendations I take seriously so I highly recommend following her blog and bookstagram. Do it!
If you’re interested in reading more interviews, click here to see all the ones that are up so far. There will be more interviews coming so keep an eye out on this blog for them!
Talk to us!
Are you an international blogger? If so, how is your experience with it? What do you think being a “book blogger” means? Has the definition changed with ARCs in the mix? Tell us in the comments!