Saturday, 3 August 2019

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Bloggers Get Real: Louise of Foxes Fairy Tales

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Bloggers Get Real: Louise of Foxes Fairy Tales


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Welcome to Bloggers Get Real! Inspired by CW of The Quiet Pond's The Pond Gets Loud series, Bloggers Get Real is a YA book bloggers spotlight interview series with the aim of celebrating and supporting YA book bloggers and the work we do, while also discussing the realities of book blogging, the YA community, and the various controversies that have sprung up. I feel it's important to keep these conversations going - our voices matter, what we do matters, and we should be heard.

I'm really excited to have be spotlighting Louise of Foxes Fairy Tales today!

Foxes Fairy Tales blog graphicCan you tell us a little about you and Foxes Fairy Tales?

I’ve just had my third blogging anniversary in July. I was pretty hit-and-miss and all over the place for a good while though. The two genres I tend to reach for the most often are mysteries and all sorts of fantasies. Fantasy usually makes up way over half my reading, but within that I’ll try urban fantasy, magical realism, high fantasy, paranormal... most anything. In terms of topics and themes, I love witches, fairy tale retellings, complicated female characters and anything with feminist themes.

What's unique to Foxes Fairy Tales?

I definitely spend a lot of my posts and reviews and discussing different retellings (fairy tale, classics, whatever) – I’m actually planning to start a month retellings feature on my blog in the coming months.

I also do a lot of readathon TBRs because I’m addicted to readathons. If I can, I try and post recommendations and ideas for anyone else looking to participate too. Because I’m such a fan of readathons, I’ve ran two of my own! #Hamilthon was inspired by the musical and ran in April while #mythothon was inspired by Greek mythology and ran in November. I’m planning a second round of #mythothon in September this year.


We often ask authors in our interviews what they’re writing process is. But what is your blogging process?

I really like to have my posts scheduled a week or two in advance where possible. Obviously some things will always be last minute – WWW Wednesdays, ARCs getting close to publication – but I like having my safety net. With bookstagram, I like to change up my colour scheme often so I use different selections of fresh flowers and spend an afternoon taking about a fortnights worth of photos. I edit, decide what to post and come up with captions on the day.

What other ways are you involved in the YA community?

I have a bookstagram account and it’s interesting to see how you get different people striking up conversations on different platforms. I enjoy taking the photos and playing around to get everything looking the way I want it. I sometimes struggle at coming up with engaging captions though.

Personally, I generally prefer Twitter and like making threads of recs or my readathon progress. Sometimes I have to step away a little but though because it can be an echo chamber for bad news and stress.


What does book blogging mean to you?

I love the community. I love having people who understand the things I’m excited about and who can introduce me to new stories and ideas. I enjoy blogging itself, because it’s nice to look back and see how your own tastes have changed and to be reminded of things I’ve forgotten about. I love being able to promote great books or authors to new readers.

Which of your blog posts are you most proud of?

I put together a ‘50+ LGBT+ Retellings’ post for Pride month in June featuring queer retellings of fairy tales, mythology and classics. I put a lot of time into looking up books I hadn’t already read myself, as well as going back through my own reviews, and I was really proud of how many I was able to showcase.

What are your greatest book blogging achievements?

Probably the readathons I’ve hosted. It’s wonderful to see other people get excited to take part and to see how they interpreted the prompts I’ve come up with. At the moment I’m hosting a yearlong readalong of the October Daye series by Seanan MacGuire (#ADayeAMonth). We have a DM groupchat on Twitter and it’s been amazing to see everyone discussing what they’re reading and getting to know each other when we veer off-topic.

What do you love most about blogging/being part of the YA community?

The enthusiasm and the support everyone shares: both around books, reading and writing, and for each other in general.

What aspects of book blogging or being a blogger do you wish were different/better?

Sadly we seem a lot less ‘visible’ than beauty, lifestyle etc. bloggers which I think is a shame.

Are there any aspects or elements to blogging that are more difficult for you, specifically?

I think motivation can be hard. Sometimes I’m really just not in the mood to write anything. More practically, reader events are harder to come by in the UK in general I think, and up in Scotland specifically. I’m lucky I’ve been able to make it down to YALC a few times, but with work it’s impossible to go down to London last minute for all the author nights I’d like to.

What do you wish people knew about running a book blog?

How much work goes into it. And how much time. I think people don’t realised that even just one simple review post can take hours to write, edit, format and cross-post. Then there’s more time if you make graphics and then just the hours or days it takes just to actually read the book! Add to that the pressures of school, work, family or whatever and it can take up an awful lot of your free time. And we do it all for free!

Do you feel bloggers are supported/appreciated for the time and effort we put into blogging?

I definitely think some publishers (and authors to an extent) are better than others. I don’t mind authors being less involved – I completely understand wanting to avoid the possibility of coming across negative reviews – I avoiding tagging them, just in case. But I think publishers should be promoting posts and reviews which are promoting their books. It just seems pretty obviously in everyone’s interest. It’s pretty subconscious, but I think I’m more likely to request/work with a publisher who’s been appreciative (even just a RT) in the past than one who hasn’t.

How do you feel about authors who react, and then act, badly regarding negative reviews?

They go straight on my mental list of author’s not to buy. Reviews – negative and positive – are part of the process when you put creative content out into the world be it books, films or music. Authors know that going in and to assume that your opinion is more valid than a reader – especially someone commenting about their own experiences or a teen reader where there’s a massive power imbalance – is unacceptable.

How can the following groups of people help support bloggers more:

Publishers?

Retweeting ARC reviews and promotions (and recent releases too maybe) feels like the bare minimum. And good business sense, to make the ARC cost go further. Making the contact details for requesting ARC less difficult to find would be nice too. ARCs are so much harder to find outside the U.S. and every little would help.

Authors?

The most basic one would be not to insult your readers. There have been a couple of incidences: stalking reviewers, arguing with a bad review, the whole thing with signing snarky comments into ARCs to avoid resales. Especially when reviewers put so much work in for no compensation but out of love. Those authors all go on the no-buy list too.

[Jo here. I believe Louise is talking about the incidences of Kathleen Hale, who has written a book about stalking a reviewer, and author E. K. Johnston writing "This is an ARC, I hope you didn't buy it," when bloggers request signed ARCs to be unpersonalised.]

Readers?

Comments or likes on posts you’ve enjoyed! It’s so much easier to motivate yourself if you know someone’s reading what you’re putting out there.

When appreciation of and support for bloggers is sometimes lacking, what keeps you coming back?

I’ve met so many great people I never would have otherwise, and I love having so many great people to squeal over new releases and old favourites with.

What are your thoughts regarding #OwnVoices?

I think the term itself is great but I think it can be misused by (white) people trying to play the system. I think someone tried to claim a book with a vegan character was #ownvoices during one of the pitch contests and… yeah… that’s really obnoxious. I also know that, for myself, I think #ownvoices sometimes get more prioritised than other books by marginalised authors, which really shouldn’t be the case. I wouldn’t want author to feel hemmed into certain boxes.

What are your thoughts regarding the materialistic aspect to some elements of being a part of the YA community?

I think we need to get better at accepting library books, second-hand books and other less than pristine-looking copies as just as valid, especially on Instagram. I’d also like if there was less pressure around things like author signing events and special edition books. These are probably out of a lot of teens' price ranges (and are largely inaccessible to non-US readers). It seems like there’s a lot of pressure to have perfect, brand-new and the ‘best’ versions.

What advice/reassurances/advance FYIs would you give to anyone thinking about starting a book blog?

Weekly meme link-ups are great way to meet new bloggers, especially those who might read out of your usual genre. Don’t ever be nervous to leave a comment or strike up a conversation when you’re interested in a comment or post. It can be intimidating but most of us absolutely love to interact with other bloggers about the books and topics we love (or hate!).

If you are a marginalised blogger, what YA books would you recommend as having great rep?

Some of my favourite examples of bisexual girl rep in YA are:


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde and Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig (both contemporary), Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee (superhero future), and Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst (fantasy).


And finally, can you tell us about three of your favourite book bloggers, and why you love each of them?

Destiny @ Howling Libraries: Destiny always has great reviews, tags and reading challenges.

Lili @ Utopia State of Mind: Lili always has great reviews and I really trust her recommendations.

Jorie @ Jorie Loves a Story: Jorie’s really passionate about the books and authors she promotes. It’s really inspiring to see how much she pours into her site.


Thank you, Louise for your fantastic answers! Louise is a girl after my own heart, with her love of retellings! I love the sound of #mythothon, and Louise's 50+ LGBT Retellings post! So many new books to add to my list! I completely agree with Louise on how some people - usually white - taking #OwnVoices and completely twisting it for their own gain. It's ridiculous. I also found it really interesting what Louise discusses about reader events. It's true most are in London, and it's a shame there aren't a huge amount happening in the rest of the UK. That sucks.

Be sure to visit Louise's blog, Foxes Fairy Tales, and follow her on TwitterInstagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Check out the other interviews for Bloggers Get Real, and if you are a YA book blogger who would like to take part, do email me!

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