Welcome to my BOOKSTAGRAMMER SPOTLIGHT, where I show some love to our fellow Bloggers, Bookstagrammers and common Romance Readers. I started this because while there might be a lot of us out there, each of us is different and unique in not just reading, photography, books…everything! A fun way to show some love & learn a little more about the romance community members!! Today’s feature is not only an amazing account but blog, pictures, giveaway, review’s you name it!! I was super excited to be able to feature ANA from ANASATTICBLOG! If you don’t know her, here is your chance, her BLOG is GOALS!! ENJOY!
Photo 1 – Ana with EL James Photo 2 – Ana with Kristen Ashley Photo 3 – Ana with Raegan (who helps run Facebook)
Name: Ana Ivies (I don’t use my last name in the book world)
About yourself: I’m 51 but I think I act like I’m in my 30s and I have 2 older sisters. I met my husband when I was 19 and he was 27. I graduated with an advertising degree and that was my career most of my life. We have two boys, ne is 21 and he is a singer/guitar player/songwriter. He has been playing in bands since he was 12 and at 18 even toured with an Allman Brother (his band is Ben Sparaco and The New Effect). The other will be 14 and is an amazing bass player and also plays in a band. So my “other” life is all about music, and we spend most weekends at shows. We live in Parkland/Coral Springs and yes, my son is going to Stoneman Douglas next year like his brother did. ☹
-In addition to Ana’s Attic Book Blog, I have another blog called Starting on Monday (startingonmonday.com) that I started as a place where I, as well as authors and other bloggers could post about things that weren’t books, but I haven’t posted there consistently. I am currently looking for someone to help me redesign it so I can start posting again.
Logo name? @Anasatticblog
How/Why did you come up with it? Ana is from Fifty Shades, and I started the concept in 2011 when I was searching for books like Fifty. I started with “What to read after Fifty Shades of Grey” and a lot of people found me on google. It grew from there.
When did you start Bookstagramming? What was the first thing you did? I started my IG account back in March 2014 during Wicked Book Weekend, a signing I started in 2013 before there were Indie book signings. We had 6 of them, and 2018 was the last. I started IG to share photos of the weekend.
Why did you start what you started? Influence? My husband actually surprised me with the idea for the blog. He wanted me to sell sexy stuff as an affiliate marketer and have sexy books be part of it. I turned it into a book blog a few months later. I joined IG a couple of years later,
Did you have any help at the beginning or winged it? My husband set it all up for me and did the graphics for the blog. I have always winged IG. I am not a planner (unless it’s events). But now I am finally starting to post in a pattern a bit.
What is your favorite part you would say and why? I love sharing my love for books and recommending a book to someone and having them come back and thank me, or tell me that I made a difference in their reading. That’s died down a bit because there are so many blogs, but the friends I’ve made through the blog and Wicked Book Weekend mean everything to me. If it’s Bookstagram you’re asking about, it’s fun making pretty pictures of books you loved. I used to scrapbook, so this has taken its place for me.
What platforms do you use (for things like posts on any of the social media’s? Or at least your favorite ones? I post direct to Ana’s Attic ( anasattic.com ), then Facebook (which shared to my Twitter automatically until this month), then to IG and Goodreads. I don’t use any third party apps.
What social media’s are you on? And do you have a favorite? See above. Facebook is my favorite because you can have meaningful discussion. (Which is also why I hate it sometimes!)
Do you have any tips and tricks about blogging? Blogging has changed SO MUCH in the time I have been doing it. I used to make money, a decent amount from it. That doesn’t happen anymore, so make sure you do it because you love it. CHOOSE your books and don’t be obligated to take every book offered. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and lose your love for reading. I only read about ¼ of what I read before I blogged because I spend at least 4 hours a day blogging instead of reading. And I still always overcommit and stress about it. Also, there are nice ways to write negative reviews. Don’t be a dick.
Have you had any bad/negative experiences on Bookstagram? I only had one, a girl used one of my photos of a book I loved and did a not-so-nice review with it, with my photo credit! She refused to remove it until I reported it to IG. In 7 years blogging, I luckily haven’t really had anything worse than that. I kind of stick to myself and avoid drama.
What have you learned from blogging on a public platform like? What you put out there stays out there, even if you delete!
Do you have any goals that you haven’t yet been able to get to, concerning your account? I bought an IG course that I haven’t taken yet. I really want to hit that 10,000!
What are some highlights or special moments that have happened, concerning your book blogging career? Oh I have had so many! Planning Wicked Book Weekend has allowed me to meet all my favorite authors and I met all my best friends that way. Having some of my favorite authors come back multiple times, like Tara Sivec, RK Lilley, Kristen Ashley, Raine Miller, Harper Sloan and so many more, and last year EL James came! I also had 3 authors tell me that my criticism in my review made them change something which got them a publishing deal, so that’s really cool. The coolest was the #OfficialFifty events. My husband and I went to L.A. for the premiere (our first time), then I met Raegan in NY for the video release and they had manservants for us!
Do you think Bookstagram is an effective platform to express your opinion on books? Honestly? No. Are you going to waste time setting up a beautiful photo of a book you didn’t like? I think it’s a nice way to promote a book you love, or share your love for reading, but it isn’t the place for real negative opinions. I also think that people posting the same photo sent from promo companies is ruining the whole point of it, and we aren’t seeing the really good ones now.
What do you use camera vise when taking book photography? iPhone Xs Max
Do you use your own props? Is there a fun or MAGICAL way you set it all up? (loc, props…) I use my own props and I’m running out of storage! I just remodeled my bathroom and it has great lighting and a cool grey wood tile floor, so that’s my new spot. I have weird lighting in my house so it was a challenge before.
Do you have advice for new bookstagrammers on how to start, be, and do? (anything goes here) I’m still new to the actual Bookstagram photos. I’ve always been a book account but have only been doing photos with props for about 1.5 years. I alternate a photo and a graphic, and 90% of the photos are books I have read and reviewed so I know what props might fit the book. I use the photos in my review, so I would say start with taking photos of a book you loved and want to tell everyone about.
Do you have any favorite Instagram accounts that you follow for books, inspiration, ideas…? @James_trevino is OMG amazing, and I love @nsiabblog bookstagram photos – her collection is MASSIVE.
Now, I have gone through your entire blog, looked around, played around and entered a few things. That said, what made you and your co-partner get this started and when?! I am the only one that touches the actual blog at anasattic.com. Raegan started helping me on Facebook about 3 years ago and co-runs the Facebook page and group, and she also helped a lot with Wicked Book Weekend (as much as she could from Canada). I met her at WBW 15 I think. I started in February 2012 as a website, and changed to a book blog in June 2012.
How often is new content posted and updated? I try to update my new release and sale list daily and post a new list every Tuesday. I also try to post 2-3 reviews per week.
What is the main content people seem to gravitate towards most? My New Release/Sale/Freebie/Preorder list gets a lot of traffic.
How much time is spend on the blog? And do you both alternate what gets posted and when? It’s just me on the blog and I spend WAY too much time on it. I would say about 30-40 hours per week now that I have backed off a bit. It used to be about 80 or more if you included Wicked Book Weekend. But Raegan and I both spend some time setting up graphics and posts for Facebook, We post 10-15 times a day.
How would you rate your blog compared to the social media’s? (meaning, when posting, the traffic it gets…) My blog is pretty established and I get a lot of repeat visitors. I also have 7 years of content on Google. Even though I have 32,000 likes on Facebook, less people see my posts than when I had 5,000. I also get much less interaction. People are burned out from all the book posts. I haven’t found any rhyme or reason to the traffic. I honestly check my traffic every 2 months at the most, because I don’t want to stress about having to change things for more traffic.
What would you say to a new blogger? Any advice, ideas…? It may not be necessary to start an actual blog nowadays. It’s costly, difficult, and unless you do something viral, you won’t get many visitors. I have had over 3.5 million pages viewed on my site, but I know another blog who started when I did that has had only a few thousand and she has been paying the same fees as me. It seems social media “blogs” are the new way to go. Also, don’t compare yourself. The less you look at other blogs the better and more unique yours will be.
Also, can you tell us more about your blog (what’s featured and so forth, just briefly ON the important PARTS!) I started the blog based on lists of my favorites in each genre and haven’t done that in a while, but I have some new lists I’m working on this month. I have a long list of lists planned but I never seem to catch up on reviews! I post all the romance new release books and audiobooks every Tuesday as well as a huge list of 99¢ and free books over 4 stars. I update the list daily which takes up the time. Back when I started doing the lists, books were rarely 99¢ and were only on sale for a few days, so when a great book went on sale I would sell hundreds that day. But I am always looking for a good deal and I like to find them in one place, so I keep doing my list for people like me. My Book and Audiobook reviews are spoiler free but still go in-depth with quotes and a list of my likes and dislikes, but I don’t spoil. If you don’t like in depth reviews, all my reviews feature a down & dirty mini review at the end.
LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOKS!
Tell us, do you know the exact amount of paperback you own? How about ebooks? (I suggest not to count because I did & I regretted it) I haven’t a clue. 2 walls of bookshelves, all signed books. Ebooks about 4,000.
Do you prefer paper or kindle? I HATE reading on paper! I highlight and take notes. I make my print huge for old-lady eyes. And I have a connective tissue disease so holding a book open can cause hand pain.
Do you know your first paperback/ebook? Hmmmm…my first paperback was probably a Judy Blume book in grade school. My first e-books were either the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris or Kim Harrison’s Hollows Series
Do you remember your very first read? No, I was a voracious reader even as a young child.
What is it that draws you to a book? (picture, blurb, author..or all?) For authors I’ve read and loved it’s the author, or it’s an author I’ve heard a lot of buzz about that I want to try, word of mouth, and sometimes the marketing pitch works too.
Do you have a favorite genre you read? And which one? Romantic Comedy. I read to be happy. I like romance with a little action as well. I try to alternate comedy with more serious books, but I avoid real tearjerkers. I also like books with older couples that aren’t virgins.
What is your ideal bookboyfriend like? (looks, actions…) I never really have a visual, just a vague outline in my head. But my favorite book boyfriend is alpha, protective, manly, but respects the heroine’s career, and a guy who can talk dirty, be funny and give great banter.
Do you have a real life bookboyfriend? And if so, care to share a pic of two of him? I have been married for 28 years to my real-life book boyfriend. Whenever I get to the part of a book that reminds me of him, it makes me love him even more. He’s a lot like a Kristen Ashley guy. Very alpha, protective, takes care of me and the boys and kind of grunty—doesn’t talk much unless he’s drinking lol. He’s very private and unphotogenic so he wouldn’t love if I shared a photo. He has NO social media! Eek!
What is your favorite part about a story? (the beginning get to know each other, the sexy scenes, the middle right before the peak…) The build-up!
Do you review more Books (e-books and paperbacks) or audio-books? I would say I am about 60-70% audiobooks now.
What difference does an audio-book as opposed to ebook/paperback make to you? I prefer the lighter, fluffier reads on audio. Books with a lot of detail or an intricate plot don’t work for me on audio. The performance of an audiobook can really make a book fun or it can totally ruin a book. I think there is a huge learning curve to audiobooks. https://anasattic.com/audiobook-tips-tricks/ I love re-reading books I love via audio.
How long does it take you to review an audio-book on an average? I usually listen in 2-3 days, but my audio reviews take longer than book reviews because I use quotes in my reviews and I have to find them from my bookmarks and transcribe them or locate them in the e-book. I take way less notes with audio, so my reviews are harder to write. A review takes about 3-4 hours.
What do you like most about audio-books? I love how a performance can make the book better. But mostly I love that I can get other things done while listening.
What book are you currently reading? I am just starting The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and I’m listening to Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
Do you have a favorite book quotes from any recent or previously read books you’d like to share? My first 5+++ Star book of the year was Tara Sivec’s Just my Type. I laughed ridiculously hard throughout the book: “It’s called a piss boner, it makes you pee in two streams instead of one, it looks like a goddamn spitting cobra, and you can look it up.”
“What’s a piss boner?” Lincoln asks. “I want one. Can I have one?”
My second 5+++ Star read was The Slow Burn by Kristen Ashley, and I just love this quote from a poor family who was rich with love: “I wonder what the poor people are doing?”
How long does it take you to read an average book? Lately it takes forever! About 4 days. I just don’t have as much time to sit and read where you can’t do anything else. I’m remodeling my house though and it’s great to listen while I shop online.
How many reads per week do you think you read on an average? 3-4 including audio.
Have you ever considered writing a book? If so, why, how, when and who?! A million times, my whole life. I have stories in my head, but they haven’t wanted to come out on paper.
Who is your favorite author and why? (you’re welcome for this one *smirk*) Kristen Ashley, hands down. There is something magical about the way her books make me feel. Tara Sivec is my favorite romantic comedy author because her humor is just what I love (12-year-old-boy humor), and Lauren Blakely is my favorite audiobook author because not only are her books smart, sexy and funny, the narration is always amazing.
Now, the real important question -> What is your favorite book & why! I can’t answer that! I would say see above, because it would be any one of their books.
Do you have any magical words for everyone out there?! Be your own person, don’t follow the crowds, and most importantly, Don’t Be a Dick!
STALK THE BOOKSTAGRAMMER
That concludes yet another wonderful INTERVIEW! I hope you enjoyed it because I sure did, not only is this a bookstagrammer but a long time blogger that knows what she is talking about. Slightly my idol because we share a lot of the same author’s! NOW go and show her some love, she deserves it. Let’s help her hit that 10K!