Please welcome Dru Ann Love, Anthony-award nominated blogger and owner of Dru’s Book Musings.
How did your site come to be? What prompted you to put reviews online?
I had a personal blog where I would list the books I read, but in most cases I could not remember what the book was about and that’s when I decided to keep an online book journal for my use only. This also helped me when I was not sure if I’ve read a book or not. It somehow caught the attention of an author who directed people to my blog and that was how my site gained readers.
What typically draws you to review a particular book?
That’s a hard question to answer as I read what I want and/or like. What will draw me to a book are the cover (I’m very visual), the synopsis, and the authors. For a new-to-me author, the synopsis and then the cover have more weight. For any singular month, my goal is to review at least one book from the four publishing companies where I have contacts.
Have you always been a mystery reader? What other genres do you or have you enjoyed?
Yes, I was always a mystery reader starting with the Encyclopedia Brown series. I did read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys in my earlier readings. I also read suspense, thriller and romantic suspense. I will read books that have light, light paranormal elements.
How long did it take you to build up a following, and how did you do it?
When I started my blog I had less than 800 viewers during 2007 and 2009 combined. Each year after that, my viewership doubled. However, when I started my “A Day in the Life” feature in August 2011, my viewership increased by 195% from August-December 2011 compared to full year 2010. Just be consistent in what you are delivering and readers will continue to visit your blog.
How much time do you spend, per week, on the blog work?
I spend at least 12 hours per week performing functions related to the blog. That includes formatting the content, resizing the images, putting in and testing the links, sending out reminders to the author that their blog goes live the next day; selecting a winner for the giveaway; notifying author of giveaway winner; sending out invites, sending out reminders that their guest post is due, keeping track of schedules, posting tweets on Hootsuite and other blog related items. I’m also perusing Amazon, B&N, Facebook, “Stop You’re Killing Me” and “The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books” for upcoming mystery titles to add to my reading list for future invites.
How has your site changed over the years, and what prompted the changes?
My site started out as an online journal of books I read and now my main focus is on my feature “A Day In The Life” where I like getting an inside view of an author’s protagonist. The main reason for creating this feature was to consistently have new content on my blog and one of the lessons I learned earlier in the blogging field was to always have new content to keep readers coming back and thus my feature was born.
What sort of responses have you had from people offline (non-bloggers or non-writers), or do they know about your success?
I told my co-workers and they were very proud of what I’ve accomplished. They even offered to come down to Raleigh to root for me. My family and friends are very supportive and anything to get me out of the house is a good thing in their eyes.
Who was the first author you met after reviewing their book, and what was that like?
I don’t recall but I’ve met a lot of authors whose books I’ve reviewed and when they meet me, they give their thanks and I get a hug. I’m friends with a lot of authors that I’ve met via my blog and at reader/fan conventions. It’s an honor when a friend tells me that they’ve bought a book because of my blog.
What are some of the best experiences you’ve had so far because of your blog?
My best experience was having Sue Grafton go through my “black book” filled with author’s book list and their autographs. Another experience is being nominated for an Anthony Award. Another one is feeling comfortable among the authors and other readers at reader/fan conventions.
What advice do you have for new book bloggers or authors who wish to connect with book bloggers?
For new bloggers: find a niche that is not being answered and go for it. Try to make your blog as unique as possible. All bloggers work as a team, so if my blog doesn’t answer for a reader, maybe another blog will.
For authors: reach out to us bloggers. We are here to help spread the word about your book.
Dru Ann Love is owner/writer at dru’s book musings blog and at her daytime situation is a consumer market research analyst. A New Yorker born and bred, Dru Ann is an avid reader, writes poetry, quilts and love attending reader/fan conventions. Dru Ann may not be a writer, but her name has appeared in several cozy titles and she even blurbed a book. Dru Ann is nominated for a 2015 Anthony Award for Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work.