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.
Great post! I feel just like Tumperkin about Romanceland. and while it hasn’t quite inspired me to write a novel, I have been inspired in other ways.
Love this post! I’m definitely the same. I’ve met a ton of incredible people online, and then in person! I’ve also discovered so many books I wouldn’t have otherwise. While like Jessica, I’m not planning on writing a novel, I agree – I’ve been challenged and grown in other ways. (At least, I think and hope so!) 😉
RRRJ – *waves*
Lime – you certainly have, as your efforts to raise money for the humantarian crisis in the Horn of Africa shows! That’s some good inspiration.
Blogging led me to you. 🙂
blogging introduced me to romance genre and actually opened my mind (and in many ways also my heart lol). before I started perusing book blogs, my only concept of romance novels was what I’d been told (mostly by family) and seen on tv: that it wasn’t *real* books and instead was something to be ashamed to read, and because I grew up with that and it wasn’t an issue as important as other stuff I never really thought about it. I didn’t even realize the library carried them but when I started working for one I saw them check out constantly and yet fellow coworkers/librarians seemed to take every chance they could to sneer at this genre. and being the kind of person I am, I wondered why. I wondered what could be so threatening about these books that they got dissed so much. logically I could not judge something I hadn’t read so I read one…and loved it! like u Joanna, I didn’t realize I had a craving for romance all this time. but I love a good romance novel and take every chance I get to recommend one to people I think will like a particular one; matchmaking via readers advisory if you will 🙂
Beguilethysorrow (best moniker ever!) – I love the idea of reader-matchmaking!
I’m not an aspiring romance author, but I have really enjoyed this process:
“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.”
Blogging has also made me a more active “fan;” I’m more likely to reach out to an author or attend a signing or other industry event.
I’ve also been a little bit startled to find myself re-thinking aspects of romance, love, and marriage outside of romance.
Oh yes, and I’ve also learned more about CSS than I would have expected by tweaking the format of my blog. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your developmental arc Joanna 🙂 Like all good romance heroines yours is a story of change and empowerment. Romancelandia blogs have made me, happy, made me mad and made me think. In a funny-sad way I am able to own the value I put on relationship and have beenenabled to stand up and speak out for what I read and the why of it.
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