We’re kicking off a month-long celebration of the #UKYA and #UKMG blogging and vlogging and online book community ahead of the UKYA Blogger and Vlogger Awards at YALC on July 26th! Each day a different blogger/vlogger/bookstagrammer will be posting on a bookish theme so look out for all of those things – we’ll be boosting on Twitter via @UKYABA and @YAShotmediateam and on Instragram via @YA.Shot.
To launch the celebration, here is YAShot Deputy Director and 2018 Champion of Diversity Luna’s Little Library talking about blogging and books and the UKYA community! Thanks to our brilliant first-year interns for arranging this with second-year mentor Charlotte Wilson! And now over to Luna…
Do you have any stand-out moments or favourite memories from last year’s UKYA Blogger Awards?
Getting up on stage to make my speech. I was utterly terrified, but I felt that the words I had to say were more important than my anxiety about saying them. There is the idea of preparing something vs. the actual moment when you realise that you can say them is a big chasm to step over. I fumbled my way through but those words. I still have the speech saved on my phone and I wish I could have been calm and collected that night to say:
“Diverse stories make our reading so much richer. Diverse voices challenge us think about who we are. Who we want to be. It’s important for all of us to remember that we are unique. That we all bring our own experiences and background to the table. That my world may not necessarily be the same as your world. That we all deserve to be seen and heard and represented.
As a community we should encourage and support inclusiveness too. We should be receptive to constructive feedback. Instead of ranking ourselves, let’s boost each other and lift up each other’s voices. Let’s recognise each other and our individual journeys. Let’s champion each other to ensure that our stories, all our stories, get told.”
I am proud I got up on stage to speak but everything that day was just so much that honestly, I didn’t really appreciate what had happened until a lot later.
The calibre of the bloggers and vloggers longlisted for each category was absolutely outstanding. How did it feel to win and has it changed anything for you?
It was thrilling to win. And I do believe winning UKYABA has the possibility to support and create new opportunities for bloggers. Unfortunately, my health declined rapidly a little while after the awards and my blog suffered because of this.
UKYABA is about celebrating the UKYA Book Blogging community as a whole. Did the Awards help you to discover new blogs and/or form any new friendships in the book-blogging community?
When the nominees where announced I spend an evening following everyone on twitter. From there I had a whole new catalogue of book blogs to explore.
How do the Awards relate to bigger discussions in the blogging community?
The awards are about celebrating UKYA book bloggers. It’s about thanking us for all the work we put in to support book community (incl. authors, publishers, etc.) They have evolved from the UKYA Blogger Awards started by author Andy Robb in 2015, which were combined with the UKYA Book Blogger Awards, designed by Faye Rogers (Daydreamer’s Thoughts) in 2015, then hosted by me (Luna’s Little Library) in 2016. Each year these awards have listened to feedback from the book blogging community and grown. I believe that the awards are a good reminder of how much work we do. The industry appreciation is certainly a positive thing and it’s also good that we as bloggers can celebrate each other.
Finally, do you have any advice or tips for nominees attending the ceremony this year?
Do prepare something to say. If you end up winning, then getting up to speak in front of people is scary but it is also an opportunity to say something. (It’s not mandatory so you don’t have to do this.) If you don’t win those words can still be said, on your blog or social media. You will have thought about those words, what they mean to you and to those you want to communicate to. There is something empowering about that.
The awards are about celebrating the blogging community and what we as bloggers do. Regardless of being nominated or winning – you as a blogger matter.
How long have you been blogging about books and what prompted you to start your blog? Is there a specific genre or type of book that you focus on?
I am now in my seventh year. Which I just worked out to answer this question and oh wow – how did that happen?! No seriously how did that happen? Luna’s Little Library is a blog that has picture books, comics, MG, YA and adult. I do focus on promoting diversity in books and my Goodreads WNDB/OwnVoices Bookshelf has 500+ books and counting. If you want to have a look just click on this link HERE.
Do you have a favourite type of blog post to write? Could you share with us what goes into these posts and why they’re your favourite?
Due to health reasons this has changed over the last year. With support and a lot of clever apps the blog has evolved to auto- & cross-post across multiple social media platforms to enable Luna’s Little Library to continue to promote books and authors. As such I think “favourite” is still something to be decided on.
What is one of the hardest things about running a book blog that most people who read them might not be aware of?
The emotional attachment as well as the work (time!) they take. Having to overhaul and rethink how Luna’s Little Library could exist given my current circumstances was super hard. It meant letting go of a lot of things and stepping back.
Could you share a favourite memory of something you got to do or participate in because of your blog?
I am the Deputy Director of YAShot because of my blog. That is rewarding in ways I can’t express in words, from the mentoring and working with Interns to helping with YAShot Day 2018.
Is there one important tip you would give someone who is thinking about starting their own book blog?
Don’t assume you need to have it all sorted from the start. Your blog will evolve and change and that’s ok. Search out advice but remember that there is no right or wrong way – there is only your way. But it is polite to not tag authors on bad reviews – ‘cause that’s just mean.
Thank you so much for participating and helping us celebrate bloggers and vloggers as we work towards the UKYABA2019!