Today I’m excited to have Renee Conoulty on this month Book Bloggers Talk. Renee is the owner of the blog ‘Hey Said Renee’. This blog is filled with reviews, author interviews and much more bookish stuff. If you haven’t visited Renee’s blog yet, you definitely should visit now! Let’s get to know more about Renee Conoulty.
I live in Australia, in the Northern Territory where it is either hot and humid, or just hot all year round. I’m married and have two kids. I love reading (in case you hadn’t guessed!) My other passion is swing dancing. I work part time as a teacher’s assistant in a primary school. As well as book blogging, I’m involved a lot in Goodreads and I’m one of the moderators of Novel Books & Reading Challenges.
When did you learn about your passion for books?
My Mum used to read to me a lot when I was young. She told me that when I was two, I used to sit up on the couch and read my friends a book of nursery rhymes. I would point to each of the words as I was “reading”. She had to convince the other mum’s that I wasn’t a child wonder and I couldn’t actually read. I had just memorized the nursery rhymes and recognized the pictures.
My earliest memory of actually reading independently is from when I was about 8. Mum had lent me her copy of The Story of Pookie, which had been hers when she was little. I read the whole book in one go, lying in bed when I was supposed to be asleep.
My all-time favourite would have to be The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. I have just read them to my kids and they loved them too. I also enjoyed the Trixie Belden mystery series and the Sweet dreams YA romance books.
Which book (or books) is your favorite right now?
My favourite book, would have to be 'Big Little Lies' by Liane Moriarty. I devoured all her books last year, and this one is my favourite so far. As for this year, I have read so many great books it’s hard to narrow down. I loved the Slammed series by Colleen Hoover, Love at First Flight by Tess Woods, and The Martian by Andy Weir.
What’s your favorite book genre?
Chick lit would be my current go to genre but I will read a bit of everything. I seem to go through phases with books. I was right into fantasy a few years back, but have lost interest lately.
Do you prefer paperbacks or eBooks? And why?
I had always been a paperback girl, until I had kids. When my first child began to walk, he would constantly pull the bookmark out of my book. It drove me insane because I would only have a few minutes here and there to read and I would end up wasting most of that time finding my page. I bought an ereader and love it! The kids are older now, so that is no longer an issue, so I still read a few paperbacks. The majority of my reading at the moment is audiobooks. I do some free for review via audiobookblast.com I often convert eBooks to audio via a text-to-speech app. I love listening to a book while driving to work or doing house work at home. I can’t bear the thought of hanging out the washing without listening to a book.
How many books do you read in a week?
This year I have been averaging about 6 books a week. I usually have at least 3 on the go at once – an eBook, an audiobook and one I’m reading aloud to the kids.
If you could live inside one book world, which world would it be?
The one where the mum didn’t have to do housework, had plenty of time to read, had lots of money to travel around the world and went swing dancing every night. Someone go and write me this book!
I signed up to NetGalley in September 2014. Over the next month I thought about maybe starting a book blog to increase my chances of being approved for books. In October 2014 my hubby was away forwork for a couple of weeks. I had a quiet evening and decide why not, a couple of hours later my first blog post was live.
What do you love most about book blogging?
I love the personal connections I have made with authors. I danced around the house when I discovered that I had been mentioned in the Acknowledgments of Pretty Famous by Carla Caruso!
How do you plan your time for your blog? And how much time do you spend on your blog?
I try to fit in my blogging is little snippets here and there, probably averaging out at an hour or two a day. I try to write my reviews within a day of finishing the book. I post them on Goodreads first, then copy past into my blog. I used to just fly by the seat of my pants and post things as soon as I had written them. I’m a bit more organized now and have posts scheduled a week or two in advance.
Social Media has become a huge part of our world. Do you use Social Media for your blog? And what are for you the pros and cons for using Social Media?
In my first six months, I didn’t use as much social media. I shared each post to Google+, Pinterest and my personal Facebook page. During this time, I thought it was really cool if I had 20 page views in one day. Over the last couple of months, I signed up to Twitter and created a fan page on Facebook. The fan page was mostly to take the bulk of the book raving off my personal page before I drove my friends nuts! This extra social media has made a huge impact on my page views. Now anything less than 100 page views is a quiet day, and I had an exciting day with over 500. If you want to promote your blog, social media can really make a difference.
Social media can be a real time sucker though, I probably spend more time on social media than writing blog posts.
You’re a mom. Are your children also readers and do you inspire them to read?
My kids are 4 and 6, so not reading independently yet. I hope to inspire them to love reading as much as I do. They have a bookshelf full of books and we make regular trips to the library. Reading is a regular part of the bedtime routine. Dad reads a picture book or two before bed, then I read a chapter or two once they are tucked in. Both kids are sharing a room, so that makes story time a bit easier. I often get my kids to help review those books for my blog too.
With a little encouragement from friends and an inspiring blog post from Natasha Lester, I decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo in July, so maybe I will write a novel...
What would you advise be for beginning book bloggers?
It’s a hobby, so make sure you are having fun with it. Read lots of other book blogs for inspiration and networking. Don’t go into it expecting to make money, but it can be a way to read to your heart’s content without ever needing to pay for another book.
Curious about Hey Said Renee? Please visit the blog here.
I would like to thank Renee for being a part of the ‘Book Bloggers Talk’.
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