Today, I’m interviewing a blogger who has interesting and thoughtful answers to my questions and I think you will enjoy this interview. Let’s get to it!
Belle is a bisexual, teen blogger from NW Indiana. When she’s not raving about books on Belle’s Archive, she’s running tours for Turn the Page Tours, skating in an ice rink nearly an hour away from her, or playing with her diva dachshund Alfie.
Hi Belle! What inspired you to start a blog?
When I first started out in the book community, it was through bookstagram. I actually found blogging through other bookstagrammers, which then made me want to start a blog as well. The idea of it was all really surreal for me at the time because I was a preteen and didn’t understand how to get started. But the idea for my blog eventually came through a gif of Disney’s Belle looking through the librarian’s shelves for a new book. And thus, Belle’s Archive was born!
What were you most excited for when you started?
I was really excited about posting my reviews on a different platform. At the time, I’d just started reviewing and promoting for publishers, so having a new platform to post those on was really encouraging for me. The bonus of it all was finding out what “blog posts” really were, and then that became a whole new and fun challenge.
What do you think being a book blogger means? Is your answer the same as what the public image of book bloggers is?
To me, being a book blogger is similar to being a bookstagrammer or booktuber. It’s someone who wants to share their love of books with others, just in a different way from videos or pictures. If anything, I’d probably say book blogging can take longer and require more of a thought process because of specific posts. For example, a blog tour post might take a few minutes, but a tag post might require hours or even sometimes days depending on the contents. Along with that, your blog’s design is really important, so it requires multiple skills and attention on upkeep and adjusting when the time requires it.
My answer is definitely not the same as what the public image is of book bloggers. I’ll say this: book bloggers have to really fight to get noticed a majority of the time because bookstagrammers and booktubers are held up in a higher light than book bloggers. I have just over 750 followers on my blog, but the thing that’s really given me the opportunity of having relationships with publishers has been my bookstagram account. If I only mentioned my bookstagram account in an ARC request email, I’d more than likely get an approval. If I were to mention only my blog, I can bet on being declined.
To add on that, book bloggers are not just all about ARCs. For me, I’m more than happy to just get to share about books and jump in on fun challenges when presented the opportunity. Receiving an ARC can be exciting, but what really matters to myself and others is the reactions my followers/friends have to my content.
Do you think your experience as a blogger has been different compared to the majority because of your age?
This is a tough question. I rarely ever outrightly talk about my age unless specifically asked otherwise. I have roman numerals in my bio/name bar for that reason. But there was an instance in which I was trying to set up a blog tour a year ago for an upcoming debut, and the author that requested it pulled out because they saw I was only sixteen at the time. That really hurt and annoyed me. I was doing the same amount of work and providing the same quality of content as bloggers twice my age, and it confused me as to why me being sixteen was such a red flag to them. However, I’m seventeen now and I’ve not had an instance like that since. I’ve always had good relationships with the publicists I work with on tours and review requests, and I owe much of my success to my publicist contacts for requesting me on their tours.
Do you think having social media profiles comes with book blogging?
Yes, yes, yes to this. There was a period of time when I went without my bookstagram account for two to three months due to someone stalking me and threatening to dox me for not doing what they asked (unrelated to bookstagram, but it happened on that account). Blogging was my comfort during that.
But I will say, I rarely ever got the same opportunities I would for my bookstagram. It’s sad to me because I’ll have people come onto one of my blog posts every now and then and comment that they’re going to check out a book because I recommended it or because they liked my review. That’s always given me this light, happy feeling and has pushed me to continue. Seeing the contempt for blogs in comparison to channels like bookstagram or booktube really hurts sometimes.
What are your favourite and least favourite aspects of blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is just seeing the reactions people have to my posts. Though I have a bit of a bigger following on my blog, I still don’t see that many comments. When I get those comments from people expressing their love for a post or connecting with me on a book I talked about in a post, it really brightens my day.
My least favorite thing would be the time it takes. Especially with WordPress’s new update that forces me to use their block editor (it’s the absolute WORST, I tell you), it’s taken me longer to write out posts. Before, it took me anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes for shorter posts. Now, it’s taken me hours to days. I wish I could just wave a wand, say bibbity-bobbity-boo and the post writes itself based on my thoughts and vision, but that’s just not how it works.
If you didn’t blog about books, what would your niche be and why? Do you ever want to change?
If I didn’t blog about books, I think I’d honestly be really lost. I’m nearly eighteen years old, and I’m just starting to get into interests and hobbies I didn’t realize were for me before that most start when they’re really young. I’m currently learning how to figure skate, and while I love it, it’s not a passion to me like books are.
There are times that I’ve gotten really stressed out and wanted to find something different to do, but I’ve always found myself going back to books. They always manage to cheer me up or brighten my day, even when I’m bored of them or mad at them.
How would you describe your online personality? Is it any different compared to who you are in real life?
Online, I definitely feel like I’m more open and outgoing than I am in person. It takes a lot for me to open up to someone in person, and when I do, I become a jabbermouth of sorts. Very awkward too. Online, I feel like I have the room to be free of judgement and accepted for who I am, whereas in person, I feel like people are constantly scrutinizing me.
I’m also pretty professional, both in person and online. We can blame the one semester of journalism I took for that. 😅 It’s just a habit I’ve taken on that really does appear through both my writing in my blog posts and the way I speak.
You’ve been blogging for FIVE years now! What are your biggest takeaways?
This is a tough question. I feel like, for the majority of these years, I’ve been completely winging it. There’s been times where I’ll get inspiration from other people’s blogs (shoutout to Destiny @ MyHoneyReads), but other times, I’m figuring things out on my own. A big example of this is creating my “aesthetic”.
To me, having your own aesthetic is really important. It’s essentially the way you show a bit of your style and personality through your blog design and posts. I have a specific way I set up all of my posts (see the biggest example: my blog tour posts), and if I don’t set them all up the same way, I get really stressed out and have to step away.
Another part of it is that I’m always putting forth effort to improve upon my website design. I ended up purchasing a pretty pricey WordPress theme that I adjusted before their newest update. Y’all don’t have to do this and you shouldn’t feel the need to, but for me, this was an option I took and wanted to go through with. I really like how it’s ended up too, especially since I hadn’t realized before just how many other bloggers were using the same theme as me. That can sometimes be really overwhelming, especially since I want to stick out.
Who are your blogging inspirations?
Ohh, let’s see.
There’s Destiny from MyHoneyReads. I’ve known them for quite a while now. They’re amazing, and I absolutely adore their website and posts, as well as their Bookstagram! If I’m having a bad day, I go straight to Destiny’s blog and reread their posts.
Then there’s Nikole from A Court of Coffee and Books. Nikole is one of my fellow co-owners for our book tour company, and she’s one of the sweetest people I know. Her website is gorgeous, and it actually has the theme I was originally considering. She makes some of the prettiest banners too, and I always love seeing her posts.
Thanks for doing this interview, Belle!
Belle’s blog looks SO GOOD. I love what she’s done with the design and her blog posts are really nice to read. Do visit her blog!
If you’re interested in reading more interviews, click here to see all the ones that are up so far. I’ve interviewed many bloggers about all the aspects of blogging.
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Do you think age matters in blogging and the blogging community? How do you think it changes blogging experiences? Tell us in the comments!