Today in the blogger spotlight, I’m so pleased to have Ivey Byrd from The Hopeless Reader.  I met Ivey online a while ago when she did a spectacular review of Declan.  (And I’m thrilled to know she’s a Keeper fan too!) Since then, she’s been a wonderful support to me – and it’s great to see we share a love of bad ass heroines!

If you had to write a bio for yourself, what would it say?

The hardest part of creating a blog or creating a social media account is the bio. I can never make myself sound interesting, but here is my best try: I am an avid reader with a passion for editing. I have read over 2,000 books in six years, and ever since I picked up that first book, I was hooked. I am currently working on getting a Masters degree in creative writing, and then I plan to head off to New York after I graduate to get a job at one of my favorite publishing companies, which shall remain a mystery for now. Fun fact: I have an obsession with dragons, anime (especially the boys), fictional characters, and bad ass heroines, and anyone else who shares those obsessions with me is instantly my best friend.

Describe yourself in five words.

Fiery, thoughtful, kind, protective, and open-minded.

What made you decide to start The Hopeless Reader?

Like I mentioned above, I have read a LOT of books, and after about the 1,000th book, I was bursting at the seams to share my love for them with the world. I started up my Twitter account (in the beginning, it was dedicated to The Fault in Our Stars because that book made me feel all the things, but is now where I fan girl about everything book related), and then my blog quickly followed. I started posting reviews almost every week, and then I realized how much I loved analyzing books and giving my thoughts on them. That was when I realized that I could get a job as an editor doing everything that I loved.

What are the blogging highlights?

The biggest blogging highlight is when an author sees my review and tells me how much they appreciate it. I not only write reviews for readers, but also for the authors to let them know how much their books impacted me. That is probably the biggest highlight along with the fact that authors that I love acknowledge my existence, which causes a LOT of fan-girling and screaming. The other highlight of blogging is when readers like myself read my reviews and tell me that they are adding that book to their ‘to be read’ list because of it. That was my goal when I started my blog, to share the books I love with the world, and when a reader tells me that they read a book because of my review, it makes my day.

What is the most challenging thing about being a blogger?

For me, the most challenging thing about being a book blogger is keeping the reviews coming. I have no problem reading a book in one sitting, but college and work have gotten in the way of that so I rarely have time to read anymore, which sucks. My blog suffers because of it because I don’t have the material to bring in views. The stress of not having the time to review books and post them is another challenging part of blogging. However, when I start stressing, I have to take a step back and relax because when reading begins to feel like a chore that is when I have a problem.

You receive a lot of author requests to read their books. How do you decide what to read and when?

When I first started my blog and authors would ask me to review their books, I would readily say yes. At that point, I didn’t know what books I liked or how I liked them written. Now, I know what I like and what I don’t. I don’t want to read a book that I know I won’t enjoy. That isn’t fair to me or the author so I usually pass on books that don’t instantly grab my interest from the start. The synopsis HAS to get my attention or else I pass on reviewing it. As for when I read review books, I usually read them immediately because I am too excited to wait. However, sometimes school or work gets in the way and I have to wait, but I usually read them within two weeks.

Do you have any advice to authors about how best to approach bloggers and develop relationships with them?

I love it when authors chat with me, and I think I speak for most bloggers when I say that when an author recognizes our reviews it makes our day. I am always hesitant when initiating a conversation with an author because I don’t want to bother them, and I think that some bloggers feel that way too. That said, I think that authors should just go for it and start up a conversation with bloggers. That conversation can start any number of ways, ask what kind of books they like, thank them for reviewing your book, ask them why they like blogging or what authors they like, etc. Trust me, once you start a conversation, the blogger will be overjoyed, and at that point, you won’t have an issue starting up a relationship. I have had many authors start up a conversation with me out of the blue and a few months later I am joining their street team or having chats with them every day. Don’t be afraid of us bloggers, we want to talk to you as much as you want to talk to us. We don’t bite….hard.

What would you like to see more of in the type of books you’re reading?

Honestly, I would love to see more plus-sized heroines in books. I am a fantasy book junkie, and I cannot think of more than ten books in that genre that feature a plus-sized heroine. To make matters worse, only about two of those books are YA books. YA literature is the genre that could really use plus-sized heroines to make a huge impact on young girls who are insecure about their bodies. There is a serious lack of curvy girls in YA lit., and it is really discouraging. I would just really like to see curvy girls like me appreciated a little more in books.

Quick word associations (Please answer all these questions with the first word that comes to mind)

Heroes – Hot
Heroines – Badass
Exercise – Gross
Holidays – Halloween
Wine – Moscato
Laundry – Boring
Bliss – Reading
Villains – Voldemort
Gym – Ew.
Fridays – Relaxation

Thanks for sharing, Ivey!  For more book news, discussion posts, and author interviews, check out Ivey’s awesome blog here.

Thanks for reading,
Rae Rivers