Hello, friends! Beth and Carrie here! Since our identities have frequently been mistaken for one another, and we practically live on the same brainwave to the extent that we might actually be sharing a brain, we’ve decided to join forces today and y’all can just use your imagination to figure out who says what.
|We mustache you... who is who? (see hint)|
Stories have our hearts (well, Jesus AND stories but since He told stories it’s another reason to love them)! A life with books is far richer than one without them. Perhaps storytellers feel the same way about penning their tales. We’ve even read that avid fiction readers possess more empathy than the poor souls who don’t read (we truly feel awful for them, bless their hearts).
Perhaps we're feeling a bit sentimental since celebrating our blog birthdays last month on Faithfully Bookish
and Reading Is My SuperPower
(4 and 5 years, respectively) but now, more than ever, we realize life is always changing. We’re learning, we’re growing (older, stronger, wiser, softer, you name it), and we’re constantly, even subconsciously, adapting to the dynamics of the world around us.
We want to encourage y’all despite or perhaps because of the uncertainty surrounding us, to embrace the story. Good times, bad times, different times, make time to read (or write), and may the Holy Spirit minister to your story-loving heart no matter what season you find yourself in.
That said, we’re sharing some ways our reading/reviewing/blogging/publicity-ing worlds have changed over the last few weeks, some helpful workarounds if you’re in the same floating-aimlessly boat, and a bit of insight for authors who are wondering why certain formerly dependable readers seem to have fallen off the book planet. :)
The world has shut down, we are staying home, we have endless reading time, right?! Unfortunately, no. Introverts have been social distancing since before it was celebrated as a life-saving act and those of us who work from home are literally professionals. Not only do we need to continue doing our work (more about that later) but we now have the added distraction of additional people or inevitable cabin fever to contend with. If you are reading more right now, we are delighted for you and if your reading time has taken a hit, know that you are not alone.
We recommend injecting stories into your day with audiobooks (these are also great for those “distracting other people” as well) or set aside time for a mental health break (yeah, that looks like reading for us). Need a family activity? Gather everyone around (on the couch or via video chat) and read aloud to each other!
There’s a binding of hearts and something healing about sharing stories during stressful times. Too tired for something new? Revisit a book on your “favorites shelf.” Give yourself permission to avoid certain titles due to emotional fatigue (or author pictures with poultry) or stinky binding adhesive.
Let’s be honest, writing reviews can be challenging under any circumstances. How do we find words to express the beauty of a reading experience? The swoofness is elusive, y’all! (btw, we’re talking about “Squeezing Words Out Of Feelings” if this is the first time y’all have heard of swoof) If a reader who shall not be named happened to be devouring books as a coping mechanism to diffuse stress caused by an inability to swoof, well… it’s a vicious cycle, friends. Heaven sakes, I’m stressing myself out just thinking about it! Talk me off the ledge, Carrie!(Repeat after me, Beth. The swoof will return. Trust the swoof.)
Let’s all take a moment and just breathe deeply. We need to give ourselves permission to read a book and occasionally only leave a couple-sentence review on retail sites. Something like, “This book is so beautiful I can’t even put my feelings into words. Except to say, ‘Read it. You’ll thank me.’” Not every review has to be a full swoof, friends. If you’re reviewing on your blog and need to fill in more space than 2 sentences, talk about a couple of favorite quotes to flesh out a longer review. In other words, employ the Dory method - Just keep swoofing!
We love to introduce our fellow readers to books and authors but it’s not as easy as Carrie makes it look! (Note from Carrie - ha! Not easy at all!)
There’s so much to learn and consider with search engine optimization and social media promotion and giveaways and updating old posts and site navigation and newsletters and sometimes this introvert gets stuck in overload. Have you ever heard of stress paralysis? (Where are my Moms’ Night Out fans?!)
It’s a thing.
One of the first things my big sister blogger taught me was the “my blog, my rules” principle, and years later, it’s still a good reminder. If you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone and give yourself grace and permission to have fun or step back as needed. Throw together some spotlights or quick lists if you’re all out of creativity or time but still want to show love to some authors & books.
You may find, like our book sisters Rachel (@bookwormmama14
) or Annie (@justcommonly
), that bookstagramming will get your creative juices flowing. A little less writing, a little more space for artistic expression, and a whole lot of cover love, Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular platforms for spreading the book love! Whether you bookstagram as part of your book blogging or instead of (even for a season), we think you’ll continue to benefit and bless the bookish community with your enthusiasm.
Even the world of online book promotion is not immune to Covid19. At JustRead
(and I’m sure other tour groups would say the same thing), we’ve had to cope with various shipping issues & delays in getting books to our instagram hosts. There have also been several delayed release dates which means long-ago-planned tour dates have to be shifted around and squeezed in on new weeks in an already-full calendar.
Communication snafus are inevitable in a world where everybody else is now adjusting to working from home too. All of these are necessary adjustments in this ‘new-for-now normal’ on top of all the ‘still normal’ to-do tasks involved with running a publicity company. And of course, we are willing to do whatever is needed right now to support the authors & books & publishers we love so much. But if we seem more frazzled than usual (because let’s face it, we’re always a bit frazzled), that’s why!
Here are a few tips which apply now more than ever! Schedule early and keep the lines of communication open. Please meet deadlines; publicity companies must juggle several tours in various stages of planning at once in a neverending cycle so the domino effect of not having what we need when we need it impacts your tour and other tours and our sanity in unattractive ways.
Play This or That with us!
Let’s check your reader life pulse! Share your answers in the comments.
Right now I want to read…
Nearly All the Time or At Least Regularly
Lighthearted with Laughing/Swooning or Deep Pondering/Suspense
Shorter Stories or Big Books
New Release or Old Favorite
Familiar Genre or Out of the Ordinary
Pandemic Reads or Anything But
What changes or challenges have y'all faced over the last several weeks? How have you made the best of these trying circumstances?
Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers' Retreat and JustRead Publicity Tours, Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric.She can be found lurking at various blogs and websites (because she can't stop talking about books) but her main home is the blog she started in 2015 - ReadingIsMySuperPower.org.Beth Erin is a Christian fiction enthusiast, book reviewer, blogger, and JustRead Publicity Tours co-owner. She strives to edify and connect with readers and authors at Faithfully Bookish and on social media.Beth also contributes to the Seekerville, Hoarding Books, and Diversity Between the Pages blogs. She is passionate about promoting authors and their entertaining, encouraging, and redemptive stories.
|Carrie and Beth|