One of our goals at BookSirens is to help book bloggers get free books from publishers and authors. In order to serve book bloggers the best we can, we started Book Blogger Spotlights in October 2018. Every few days, we have a conversation with a book blogger to learn their story, what inspires them to read and review books, and what advice they have for aspiring book reviewers and authors.
In this episode, we chat with Tasya of The Literary Huntress, one of the leading book review websites in Indonesia. Tasya has reviewed over 400 books over the last 5+ years. Below, she shares tips on starting a book blog, how to write a book review for a blog, and how to get your book reviewed if you are an author. Lets get started!
Many people love to read, but it takes something extra to consistently and honestly review books. What do you think that something is and where do you get that from?
For me it's a combination of passion and discipline. I love reading and sharing my thoughts, making people read the books I love, which is initially why I started my blog. But blogging ended up taking so much time, if I didn't have the discipline to plan the post, write a draft and schedule them, I don't think I would still be doing it right now. I am always someone who loves to organize and plan things, so it really helps with blogging.
How did The Literary Huntress get started?
I have been a reader since as long as I could remember. However, since none of my peers are readers like me, it's hard to find new books or discuss what I thought of the ones I've read. As I get older, I found one or two people and joined Tumblr. I guess Tumblr is the gateway for me? I discovered fandom Tumblr, and from there, Goodreads. After a while, Goodreads just didn't feel enough for me, and I figured there's nothing to lose by making a blog anyway, so I went for it :)
Were you blog-savvy when you started? If not, where did you learn about how to start a book blog?
How did you come up with your book blog's name? Were there other good book review blog name ideas you considered?
I have always loved mythology. In Greek mythology, the goddess Artemis has a group of maiden huntress as her followers. I love that story so much, but I also love supernatural and we barely see any huntresses in the series. The name huntress reminds me of those two so I used it as my blog name. I actually used another name on Tumblr beforehand, called Fandominded, but when I decided to seriously create a blog, The Literary Huntress is the first name that popped up and I never considered anything else.
On your blog, you say "you travel to different lives when you read". That's a great statement. If you could pick a character whose life you could teleport to at will, who would that be?
This is a hard one, as most books I read are fantasy and the characters tend to have some pretty hard lives (I mean, The Hunger Games, anyone???). As the classic answers go, I would love to go to Hogwarts, but I don't want to switch lives with Harry. If I have to choose who I want to switch with, I think it would be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. I don't think I could survive the society and constraint of that era, but she has a close-knit family, with a very progressive father for that time, and of course, Mr. Darcy! Despite being aloof, Darcy is actually pretty decent and does not constraint Elizabeth much.
Where do you hope to see yourself and your book blog in 10 years?
Blogging, despite the amount of time it took for me, has always been and I think, will always be, a hobby for me, so this is a hard one to answer. I would love to be part of a blog tour, an international one, since there aren't many blogging opportunities available for international bloggers. I would also love for my blog to make it big in my country, as in opening a whole world of reading for local readers and introducing my country's literature to the world - something I've done a few times but I don't think I've done enough. But most importantly, I wish I will still be here and not fall out of love with blogging.
What, in your opinion, are the elements of a good book review?
It's easy to read and makes the reader check out the book! If the review is easy to read, readers will be more engaged and read it through to the end. They also tend to be more convinced to check out the book.
Do you have an all time favorite book review?
My favorite kind of review will always be gif reviews. Sometimes, words are just not enough and is there any other perfect method to convey ~all your feels~ other than some perfect gifs? You can check out mine, which is for Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.
Do you have an example of an author who impressed you with their pitch when they submitted a book for review? If so, what specifically impressed you? What did they do differently from the others?
What really impresses me is the tone of their emails. Some authors write the email politely, but they felt too business-like to me. I love receiving polite requests email as much as the other person does, but I love it when authors are more friendly and cheerful. A friendly tone email makes it feel more genuine; the author tries to build a connection with us as readers, not as some reviewers whose help they seek.
What advice do you have for bibliophiles who are thinking about starting a book blog?
Just go for it! The community is so open and friendly, you'll meet a lot of amazing people along the way. If you're scared about the technical aspects, you can learn that as you go. No one is perfect on their first try/theme/review, there are plenty of room for improvement. And while it can be pretty time consuming, the most important thing is that you have fun and join the community :)
If you could add one feature to BookSirens, what would it be?
A "how to use" feature? Because not everyone is well-versed in the world of Internet and even though it's only a small percentage, I think it will be a huge help :)
If you could pick one author, dead or alive, whom you would like to grab coffee with, who would it be?
This is super hard. I think it will be between Leigh Bardugo, JKR, and of course, Rick Riordan but if I could only pick one, I would say Rick Riordan.
Go to snack while reading?
I usually don't eat while reading as it always presents a damage hazard to my books.
If you highlight, what was the last passage you highlighted?
I usually use tabs while I was reading, but I haven't done that in a while now since I left my tabs at home and I haven't bought a new one for my dorm... I think the latest one I marked was from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda:
Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn't be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I'm just saying.
Most pages you have read in a single sitting?
Probably 300 pages? I tend to not pay attention when I am so engrossed in my readings
Favorite place to read?
My bed, it's just the most comfortable place in my whole house!
Thank you, Tasya, for sharing your story and advice!
If you are an aspiring book reviewer, we hope you picked up some precious nuggets of information about how to become a book blogger. If you haven't already, we also recommend you join Tasya and become a book reviewer on BookSirens. BookSirens is a great, free, way to get a never-ending supply of books, directly from publishers and authors, in the genres you love. You can read as many or as few of these books as you want, for free. All we ask is that you try your best to leave an honest review after you are done.
If you are an author looking for the best book review sites, you can read Tasya's review policy here. Also checkout BookSirens's book reviewers list and quickly find potential book review blogs that are currently accepting books in your genre(s). Remember to personalize your request to the book blogger, as Tasya suggested.