Posted in Discussion

Blogger Interview-Reader Voracious

I got the chance to interview my fellow blogger Kal from Reader Voracious. A wonderful book blog that has great tips for SEO and just generally good and helpful content for other bloggers, plus Kal’s spreadsheets every year keep my brain from exploding. So without further ado our interview:

Q1: First, if you would please tell my followers a little bit about yourself? I’ve already told them that I’m getting an interview with the wonderful Kal from Reader Voracious, but if you’d give them a bit more. 

Hi there, I’m Kal — a 30-something gal from Southern California who absolutely loves reading, travel, hiking, tea, video games, and outer space. I’m pretty nerdy and love to dig into the deep themes of the media that I consume… and wrote my senior honors thesis on philosophy and Battlestar Galactica! When not engrossed in a book can be found communing with nature. 

Q2: Where do all your guide ideas come from? I’m still working through all of them and I especially love your one about representation and the one about getting books to people who are represented in the books pre-covid. 

Thank you so much! Honestly, sometimes I don’t even know where some of my ideas come from. I’ve always been an analytical person who thrives on processes and I think that lends itself to writing tutorials and guides. It started with the first iteration of my spreadsheet template in 2018 and kind of snowballed from there! 

Usually when I dig into a topic like SEO or going self-hosted, I wind up writing a guide post to help others with what I learned. So in a way, the ideas come from my own intellectual curiosity. The posts you mentioned about representation and Flapping Pages ARCs were directly inspired by discussions within the book community on Twitter. I have a lot of opinions and am overly verbose, which don’t lend well to the 240 character format.

Q3 : You seem to be focused on helping other bloggers? A one of your Paetron’s I appreciate all the work you put in, where does the desire to help others come from? 

I’ve always liked helping others, especially with breaking down topics. I used to tutor when I was younger, and I’ve developed and written standard procedures and training guides in a number of jobs. I think I get the most fulfillment passing on my knowledge to others. 

Q4: You’ve been a blogger for a few years, what advice would you give yourself as a beginning blogger? 

I can’t believe it’s already been over three years for Reader Voracious! Truthfully, growing up in the 90s I’ve always kind of been into content creation, blogging, and website design. I am soooo glad that my Xanga and LiveJournal accounts are gone so I don’t have to live in fear! Fun fact: I joined Neopets in 2000 and ran one of the most popular petite guides on Premium in like 2005/2006! I lost access to my account ages ago, but LeenaLu is still there… probably with a lot of broken background images.

My biggest piece of advice would be to write what you want to write and the rest will come. Your “writing voice” and style will develop over time and it’s important to just let that process happen instead of forcing it. If you’re passionate about what you’re writing, it will shine through and people will gravitate towards you and your work. Don’t stretch yourself too thin by doing too much too soon, or trying to be on all social media platforms. 

There are so many bloggers that burned themselves out and disappear within 3 months, and it’s a bummer. On that note: do not over request ARCs on Netgalley! We’ve all done it, and we all regret it. This post have a list of 6 lessons learned in my first 6 months of blogging… and they all are still relevant to me now!

Q5: Favorite Book? And if You can’t answer this hardest of questions top 5. 

HahahahahahahahahaaHA… top 5 will even be tough! *takes deep breath*

  1. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (review)
  2. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (review)
  3. A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna (review)
  4. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (review)
  5. Dustborn by Erin Bowman (review)

Q6: You were one of the first book bloggers to do a Paetron. What have you learned from the platform? 

It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be! One challenge that I didn’t expect was my desire for feedback and feeling like an imposter not providing anything of value. It took a long time for me to realize that for the most part the people who join my patreon do it to support my work and don’t necessarily mind too much what the benefits are. Patreon has been a way for me to have some meaning and responsibilities as I haven’t been able to work, and I am so thankful to all of my patrons’ support

My Patreon benefits have changed a lot in the past two years. This January I made a lot of tweaks and made the decision to bifurcate my content and provide a home for posts I wanted to do on the blog but didn’t have the space for and didn’t really fit too well. I’m pretty happy with the change and have an excitement for diving into some of my other interests and long-form essays with a much smaller audience.

Q7: Would you recommend Paetron to other book bloggers?

Maybe. It depends on what the blogger hopes to get out of Patreon. For me it has been a creatively fulfilling way to build a small community and help offset the costs of running Reader Voracious, but I would be remiss not to mention that it can be pretty stressful – especially if you’re someone who puts a lot of pressure on yourself. 

Before anyone decides to begin a Patreon, I’d recommend looking at the kinds of things you want to offer and provide. You want to be sure that whatever you’re doing is fun for you. A lot of people offer early access to all blog posts — I used to — but think about whether or not you’re able to schedule posts ahead without stress. For me it wasn’t sustainable in the long term, so I had to limit it to my guide posts. Having a Patreon can be really fulfilling though, so if it sounds like fun I totally recommend it! Just start slow… you can always add more benefits later on. It’s best to not overwhelm yourself, because inevitably it will take more time than you think it will.

Q8: Can you tell us more about self-hosting your WordPress?

Sure thing! I was so scared to self-host my blog… so much so that I went with a paid WordPress plan to avoid it. But what I quickly learned was that I was paying more money for less freedom. Everything I wanted to do (Google Analytics, changing permalink structure, Javascript embeds) was a freaking plugin! I was so annoyed that I even wrote a post about what the guides don’t tell you in the paid wordpress vs self-hosted debate.

So I did a bunch of research on just how much work is it to self-host. It turns out: not that much. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is but I promise it’s not that bad. And with backups you can revert any boo-boos! I documented my process of moving from paid to self-hosted wordpress in this guide.

Q9: I want to thank you I’ve used your spreadsheets two years in a row to keep up with things. I know that’s not a question but it does lead into my next question. 

😭😭😭😭😭 Thank you so much, I love hearing that my spreadsheets are useful!

Q10. Kal, shamelessly self-promote all your things, Paetron, website, twitter etc. 

You can find me at readervoracious.com, on Twitter @kalventure, and on Instagram @thereadervoracious! I love chatting about books and making new friends! If you’d like to support the work I do and get some cool things like reading vlogs and make me read books like Twilight, you can join my Patreon for as little as $2 a month

Thanks so much for having me!

I really enjoyed talking to Kal from Reader Vorarious, everyone follow them and check out their spreadsheets to help you keep track of the your book count for the year. Without mine I’d have no idea how many books I’d read.