Today, we have the lovely and wonderful Joanna/Tumperkin visiting with us! She’s extra special, as you’ll see. The third Saturday of each month is reserved for my reader guests. Well, when I asked her, she hadn’t signed yet! But now she’s an author too! Congratulations! But today, she’s wearing her reader hat, so say hello! She’s been blogging for a few years now, and is going to talk about that. So please give Joanna a very warm welcome. And I’m not just saying that because she gave me an (unsolicited!) shout out. 😉
What has blogging ever done for me?
When I started blogging in 2007, my blogger profile was Tumperkin and I described myself as “Mum, lawyer and aspiring author”. I recently changed that profile. Now I am Joanna Chambers (Tumperkin) and I describe myself as “book lover, writer, reader, blogger”. Only one thing in my life has actually changed since then – I will publish my first novel later this year. I’m still a mum, still a lawyer, both circumstances I refer to at times when blogging but really, for me, blogging is about books.
I first discovered the online romance community in 2006. I was amazed to discover there was this online world where readers shared their enjoyment of romance novels. I knew incredibly little about romance publishing back then (only 5 years ago!) I’d not even heard of paranormal romance! In 2006, I bought probably 90% of my reading matter in UK bookshops (which are largely hostile – or at least indifferent – to romance). I’d read a lot of romance, thanks to the public library, between the ages of 12 and 18 but very little after that. By 2006, my romance reading was limited to picking up the occasional Mills & Boon (Harlequin) romance. Looking back, I realise I was craving romance and didn’t even know it at the time.
And then I stumbled, quite accidentally, into Romancelandia. A world which, despite its occasional flame wars, was surprisingly welcoming. And over the next few years, by virtue of my membership of this community, I learned lots about the romance genre and market and picked up hundreds of recommendations that have led me to read many, many books, some of which have brought me immense enjoyment. And right there –that’s everything I could have wished for and more besides.
But wait – there’s more.
Blogging didn’t just make me into a whole new reader. It helped me become a writer too. Would I have written my own novel if I hadn’t stumbled upon this community? You know what? I really don’t think so. First, I needed the community to show me that there were other readers like me and to teach me that romance novels were a valid reading choice. Secondly, I needed to learn that
I was never going to get anywhere with writing until I threw away my safety net and got sincere in my writing. Third, I needed help and guidance from other writers which I’ve been lucky enough to get in spades from my CPs (who I met online) but also from the many people online who’ve given words of wisdom and encouragement. Fourthly, blogging about books (and reading others’ blogs)
has forced me to articulate (and absorb) thoughts about reading and writing that might otherwise have remained half-formed and not quite realised.
So that’s what blogging did for me. It introduced me to whole pile of interesting, generous people, (like Lime!) who like talking about the same stuff as me, it enabled me to find hundreds of books I’ve loved and many authors I’ve glommed, and it kept me writing when I think I’d otherwise have given up. Not bad, eh?
What about you? What has blogging (or reading blogs) done for you?
Bio: Joanna Chambers has been blogging as Tumperkin since 2007 and is due to publish her first novel, The Lady’s Secret, with Carina Press on 7th November. You can find her at her “reader” blog, or her author site.