Ever wonder about the story behind some of your favorite book bloggers’ websites? Well, wonder no more because each month we’re featuring an interview with a well-known blogger. Our September guest is Danna from cozy-mystery.com
Ellen Byron here! Before I even committed to the idea of my Cajun Country Mystery series, the first thing I did was visit cozy-mystery.com to make sure no one was already doing something similar. It’s a go-to site for anyone who loves cozy mysteries, which is why I’m so thrilled we’re hosting Danna today.
Please tell us about your blog. Why did you decide to write it? What are some of the challenges and/or successes you’ve experienced along the way? Before starting the Cozy-Mystery.com site, I had a word document that had all of my personal book list information on it so I could tell which books I wanted to read. An online friend at a now long-gone mystery forum asked for a copy of my list, but since I updated it so often with additions to authors’ pages, my husband suggested I should put the whole thing online instead of just sending a copy to my friend. I didn’t think anyone else would be interested in my personal reading list, but at least it would have a better organizational structure than what I had before (when I found myself re-buying books I had already read!), so I decided to give it a shot. This was back in 2006.
That list seemed to take on a life of its own! Back in 2006 there weren’t any sites online that devoted themselves to solely Cozy Mysteries. (If there were any Cozy Mystery sites, I didn’t know about them – and believe me, I searched for them!) I was quite surprised when I started receiving emails from people all over the world. I answered emails from people asking all sorts of Cozy Mystery questions. I helped find identities of authors, themes, similar authors, all sorts of things related to the Cozy Mystery genre.
My husband (again) suggested that perhaps I should start a blog rather than spend a whole lot of time just answering one letter at a time.
Do you also post your reviews elsewhere (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)? Why or why not? I don’t post reviews on other sites, for a simple reason. I try to put up a post every other day on my blog as well as work on updating the lists on my actual site, and that takes a lot of time. I also try to answer every comment I get on the blog – except when people are “talking” to each other or on the monthly recommendation entries. If I have something to say about a book, I’d rather use it to post on my blog. I still want time left over to actually read Cozy Mysteries!
What are some of the best or most surprising experiences you’ve had related to your blog? I suppose one of the biggest ongoing surprises I have related to the blog is how popular non-mystery related posts tend to be >> talking about our problems at the grocery store, or about people putting on their makeup while driving in heavy traffic, etc. It feels like we get more responses from those sorts of posts. (I say “we” because I think of the blog as a place to which a lot of us contribute, not just me!)
One of my very favorite blog entries is our monthly recommendation posts. Lots of Cozy Mystery readers participate, and it’s a place where a lot of us find our next books to read!
What advice would you give to new bloggers and/or to authors who would like to connect with book bloggers? Hmmm, that actually feels like two different questions… Well for bloggers just starting up, I guess I’d suggest trying to find something unique that you can offer visitors besides a blog. My site has a series of lists of Cozy Mysteries sorted in many, many ways – by sleuth profession, location, animal themes, holidays, food themes, paranormal themes, etc. I think of this as the anchor of Cozy-Mystery.com – the blog is certainly important as it allowed the site to build into a community, but I think that a large number of my visitors started coming because they knew that if they were in the mood for a winter-themed Cozy that took place in Massachusetts; they would probably find one on my site.
I’d also suggest that bloggers absolutely need patience and perseverance! It took years before I’d get more than one or two comments on any given blog post. So don’t expect anything to pick up overnight. Allot a lot of time to the blog – if people take the time to write a comment, they deserve to be heard!
As for authors looking to connect with bloggers… I’d suggest trying to make your blog part of a community and sticking with it. I always appreciate every blog visitor, but I also definitely recognize those who keep coming back to comment over longer stretches.
What question would you like to answer that no one ever asks? Well, actually, I have gotten letters asking me why I never post negative reviews of authors and/or books. I have a really strong belief that people should be given the chance to make up their own minds about what they like and don’t like. I don’t want the blog area to become a place where people vehemently disagree with each other about particular authors’ writing styles. I prefer to have a place where none of us feel like the minute we post that we like a particular book/author, other people will jump in and tell us how mistaken we are. I’ve been to forums where people become very antagonistic toward each other by trampling on each other’s points of views. I prefer a place where we can post something positive and even though other readers disagree, they don’t go into attack mode.
Thanks so much for visiting us, Danna!
Please read more about Danna below and say hello in the comments.
Bio: My father was in the Air Force, which meant we moved around a lot. My books kept me company during all of those moves – between leaving old friends and making new ones. I have my master’s degree in education and have taught school in both Iowa and Colorado. I was very fortunate in that I was able to be a stay-at-home mom while my children were in school. I created the Cozy-Mystery.com site in 2006 with a whole lot of technical help from my husband and son.
Check out Danna’s blog at cozy-mystery.com.