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 October guest is the amazing Lori Caswell from EscapewithDollycas.com.
Hi Reading Fans, Lisa Q. Mathews here. I’m thrilled to introduce blogger/reviewer Lori Caswell today, and of course all of us Chicks are honored she agreed to take time out of her crazy-busy schedule at EscapewithDollycas to answer our burning questions. So, heeeeere we go! (*spotlight falls on Lori*)
Hi Lori, please tell us a little 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?
In March of 2001 I was in a motor vehicle accident that left the right side of my body paralyzed, which basically left me homebound. I am a hemiplegic. A couple of years later I discovered some online support groups and found that several people were avid readers like me. In 2005 we found PaperbackSwap, an online business that let us swap old books for new. Through their site I made an amazing friend. I had been working at my church a few hours a week and when my position was eliminated she encouraged me to start a blog. She helped me with a few publisher connections and on December 31, 2009 Dollycas’s Thoughts was born. When I moved from Blogger to WordPress in 2011 the name was changed to Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book. Then in September 2013 I added Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.
This blog has saved my life. It gives me a reason to get up and keep going through each day. When my son took his own life in March of 2015 the outpouring of support I received from followers, bloggers, authors, and publicists was overwhelming. It was because of that support I was able to return to my blog when I was truly just ready to give up.
Do you also post your reviews elsewhere (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)? Why or why not?
I post my reviews everywhere I can. Amazon, GoodReads, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books, Go Read, BookBub, LinkedIn, NetGalley or Edelweiss if applicable. Getting the word out about books is my passion.
I am concerned about Amazon removing reviews and reviewers using the claim that “we personally know the authors” or that we have broken their Terms of Service in another way. I personally haven’t been called into question, yet, the key word being yet. So many bloggers have and it both scares me and breaks my heart. I wish Amazon would just add a “Book Blogger” Category, like they have for their Vine program. That way we could all review and just have a tag designating that we have been confirmed as a “book blogger.” I keep hoping the powers that be at Amazon realize that we are a valuable group and that our blogs boost their sales.
What are some of the best or most surprising experiences you’ve had related to your blog?
The people I have “met” via my blog always surprise me. Growing up in the age before the internet, my chances of communicating directly with an author were virtually non-existent. I did go to some book signings, but that is nothing like the access we have now. Authors have websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. You can message and email them and really get to know them. Even after all these years blogging, I still get excited when an author agrees to guest post on my blog or asks me to organize a tour for them. Be careful, though: Being friends on Facebook could get you cut off from reviewing on Amazon.
The other group of people, my readers/followers, also astounds me. We get to know them from their comments and we follow each other on Facebook and Twitter. It sure makes being stuck in this house easier to take.
What advice would you give to new bloggers and/or to authors who would like to connect with book bloggers?
For new bloggers: I always say your content is important, so take time writing and proofreading. We all make typos, but it is better to catch them ourselves than have one of our readers point it out.
It is also important to post every day. You want readers to come back every day and find new material.
Be active on Social Media and share your posts and reviews wherever you can.
For authors: Reach out, email or message us. We want to help you promote your books and we have several ways to do that: reviews, guest posts, interviews, spotlights, giveaways, virtual book tours, and some bloggers will host Facebook or Twitter parties. We are usually open to all ideas.
Why are cozy mysteries your favorites?
Prior to my accident, I worked as a waitress and at various accounting jobs, was an office manager, worked in home construction, did concrete driveways, floors and landscape edges, and was a bookkeeper. I enjoyed sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, macramé, reading, baking, cooking, biking, walking, hiking, auctions, garage sales, and every Do-It-Yourself project under the sun. I was involved in my kid’s school, going on field trips and helping in the classrooms.
Since my accident I have tried to figure out ways to do many of those things, but usually end up getting frustrated and giving up.
But there is one thing on that list that I can still do on my own and not get frustrated. I can read! And I do! Over 200 books a year. It would be more, but I have since added a couple new talents to my resume: blogging and book tours.
The books I love to read have themes of just about everything I can no longer do:
Knitting – Maggie Sefton or Sally Goldenbaum and more
Crocheting – Betty Hechtman
Home/Fixer Upper – Kate Carlisle
Cooking and Baking – There are too many to list!
I could go on and on, but have gotten too wordy already…
Reading cozies takes me places with people doing things I loved to do or wish I could do. I really would have loved to be a librarian and there are scads of cozy mysteries set in libraries.
The tagline of my blog is “Escape with Dollycas Into A Good Book.” I bill myself as “Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent.” I am so lucky because I get to do that every day and then share my thoughts with other book lovers.
Thank you so much for having me today.
Really enjoyed our conversation, Lori–and thanks so much again for visiting us at Chicks! Readers, please say hello to Lori in the comments and travel with her to the fabulous destinations below:
Twitter – @dollycas