Friday 29 January 2016

Anne Cater on #BookConnectors

I joined the Book Connectors Facebook Group last year, when I spotted the hashtag #BookConnectors on Twitter, and investigated further. I discovered a Facebook Group, founded by Anne Cater, where authors and book bloggers exchange information about new releases, book reviews, latest blog posts; and they discuss issues relating to books and reviews, such as star ratings and where bloggers post their reviews. This Facebook Group has a warm, friendly feel to it, and members also use the #BookConnectors hashtag on Twitter, a great place to stay up-to-date with the latest reviews and posts from book bloggers. 

I invited Anne to be a guest on this blog because I'm interested to know how this special group came about, and I think it deserves to get lots of attention. Anne kindly agreed to be interviewed, and I sent her questions relating to Book Connectors and more general ones so that she could take her pick. She answered them all, and since Anne's answers are so interesting, I couldn't leave any of them out. So, here you go, over to Anne!

Anne Cater on #BookConnectors:

When did you set up the Book Connectors Facebook Group, and who is it for?  

I set up Book Connectors in the summer of 2015.  It is for book bloggers and authors, and is a place where they can connect, and promote their work

How many members are there?  

As of today, 10 January, there are 700 members.

Is it a Closed Group, and who is eligible to join? 

Yes, it is Closed Group and membership is only open to book bloggers and authors.

Are you the only administrator for the group, or do you have help?  

We have a fabulous team of four administrators on Book Connectors; myself and three other bloggers.

Are there any rules on what to post, is book promo allowed?  

I’m a bit of a non-conformist, I figure that there are enough rules in our everyday life without creating more in places that should be fun, so I’ve always said that there are ‘no rules, just be nice to each other’, so far, that has worked really well.  There has been the occasional post that’s probably not in keeping with the ethos of Book Connectors, but a quiet, polite word with the person who posted them has proved to be the best way to deal with this.  Yes, book promotion is allowed and encouraged – that is the whole point of the group.

Has this group helped authors and book bloggers get to know each other better? 

I’d say yes, there have been some great connections made so far. Authors have arranged blog tours through the group and bloggers have hosted Guest Posts, Interviews and Reviews on their blogs.  These authors and bloggers would probably never have been able to make that connection so easily without the group.

It’s clear that the Book Connectors Facebook Group is a supportive and happy place to be, and everyone is nice to each other-is this something you encourage?  

Yes, yes, yes.  Supporting each other and being happy is exactly what I wanted to see.  I also like to see healthy debate in Book Connectors, it’s not a place where everyone is expected to ‘toe the line’, or have the same views.  I love to hear lots of opinions on lots of things and I think that we do that very well in the group.  I feel that people feel comfortable enough to express their honest opinion without the fear of getting shouted down by more vocal members of the group.

More about Anne and her love of books:

How long have you been reviewing books for, and when did you launch your fabulous Random Things Through My Letterbox blog?     

I’ve been reviewing books for around eight years now.  I started as a reviewer for the Waterstone’s Reader’s Review Panel and then became a reviewer for New Books Magazine.  I’ve always posted my reviews to Amazon and GoodReads too.  Random ThingsThrough My Letterbox was born on 2 March 2011.

Is there a genre that you like to read and review the most?  

This is a difficult question. When I look through my Top Books of the Year lists from the past few years, I see that they contain lots of different genres.  I enjoy contemporary fiction,  and have a soft spot for a great psychological thriller too.

Do you have a favourite author?  

No. I have so many favourite authors, I’d hate to have to pick out just one.

Do you have a favourite book?  

Again, a very difficult question and it really depends on my mood.  I have shelves of special books that mean something to me, but I really hate even trying to choose just one.

Which book are you currently reading? 

At the moment (10 January 2016), I’m almost three quarters of the way through Night Blind by Ragnar Jonasson, published by Orenda Books.

What was your favourite book of 2015?   

I always do a Top Books of the Year post, but I never rate them in order. 2015 had fifteen books on the list. I have a very special place in my heart for A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale though.

Is there a book due out in 2016 which you can’t wait to read?  

I’m lucky in that I do get to read books well before they are published and I’ve already read the one that I was most excited about; The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, it is published 28 January by Borough Press and it is going to be huge.  There are three other books, by favourite authors that are out in 2016 that I am hugely excited about, and can’t wait to get my hands on;  This Must Be The Place by Maggie O Farrell, published by Tinder Press on 17 May; At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier, published by Borough Press on 8 March and The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, published by Picador in September.

Thank you so much Anne for being a guest on my blog, and see you in the Book Connectors Facebook Group! Find out more about Anne in her bio below:

Anne Cater's Bio

I am forty-nine years old and live in Gainsborough, a small market town in Lincolnshire with my husband Martin and our two cats; Costa and Nero.  I grew up in a small North Nottinghamshire village, just across the River Trent, my parents still live there. I can’t remember not being able to read. My Mum encouraged my love of reading when I was small. We didn’t have spare money, so new books were a huge treat, but the mobile library came to our village every fortnight.   It came during school hours and my Mum would go along and fill a shopping bag full of books for me to read.

I always have a book on the go, and read every single day without fail.  The only period of time during my life when I have not read was when I was very ill in intensive care. The first thing I asked for when I was transferred to the main ward was my book!

I only read print books. I have absolutely nothing against e-books, and appreciate how useful an e-reader is to many people, but for as long as I can physically hold a book and see the print, I will keep to my paper books.

When I’m not reading, I work full time for a charity as a Community Development Officer. I’m also the Clerk to our local Parish Council and helped to set up and still have voluntary input into a young people’s art project in the town.  I love eating out, live music, theatre and the cinema.

Added 7 November 2016 by Anita: Now you can follow Book Connectors on Twitter too at @Book_Connectors