Monday, July 22, 2013

Turn Your Hobby into a Blog

Photo courtesy of Lisa Thomas
Today I'm pleased to bring you an interview with Liz Parker, who runs the blogs Books I Think You Should Read and Yes/No Films. An avid reader and movie watcher, Parker works full-time in addition to running both of these blogs, a juggling act that I find very impressive! If you love freebies, you definitely need to check her blogs out, as she always has some great giveaways in the works. She took time out of her schedule recently to discuss ways to increase traffic to your blog, what types of books she likes to read and her obsession with movies. You can find Liz on Facebook and Twitter @yesnofilms.

Is blogging your full-time occupation?
No. I'm an Online Support Coordinator at a local company that produces trade magazines, which is full-time job. We have a variety of trade magazines, and I'm assigned to nine of these - my job is to put what's in the print editions online, as well as to create custom pages for the sites. Basically, I'm the "webmaster" for the sites for content, and I work with everything except its advertising.

You run two blogs, Books I Think You Should Read and Yes/No Films. How did you get interested in blogging?
I started a Xanga site for myself back in 2003, when I was in high school, and used to blog about my daily life - I think I had maybe five readers, and they were all my friends! The summer after I graduated from the University of Michigan (2009), I was unemployed, and I started writing down my thoughts about books I had read, since I love to read, and that became Books I Think You Should Read.
Yes/No Films was started with a friend - the name of the blog was his idea, actually - in January 2009, since I see so many free movies through local area movie screenings.

How regularly do you post? Where do you get the content to keep both blogs consistently up-to-date?
You'll mostly see posts on my film blog on Fridays, because that's when movies are released; occasionally, a children's movie or other movies will be released on Wednesdays due to holidays, though. I post on my book blog whenever I finish a book or have other content (giveaways, etc.) to post, so I'd say maybe once or twice a week.

I already know that you read a lot! Do you have any specific authors or genres that your favor more than others?
I'm a huge fan of the YA (Young Adult) genre - most of the authors are actually 30+, and it's really not just for teens. I also like a good mystery or legal thriller - Mary Higgins Clark and John Grisham come to mind.

How often are you at the movies? Do you prefer the theatre experience or do you get the same pleasure from renting and watching movies at home?
I see a LOT of movies. Usually at least two screenings a week, but sometimes three, and on one crazy week I saw four, back-to-back (Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs) which was a bit much! I love the theater experience, and a lot of the same people go to the screenings, so it's nice to be able to socialize with them weekly. At the same time, I do enjoy catching up on movies I missed in the theater at home, or watching some of my favorites that I own. I'd say overall I prefer the theater experience, though.

What is your best advice when handling giveaways on a blog as you do?
Say yes to everything, but at the same time, don't overbook yourself! I've made a lot of contacts by agreeing to host or post a giveaway, but if its a giveaway that's in no way applicable to my site, then I usually don't accept.

What are some tips you can give bloggers who are just starting out or are looking to increase traffic to their blog(s)?

  • Some of the same advice as above - if you can do a giveaway or an opportunity, then go for it.
  • Publish at least once a week, and make sure it's quality content - not just contests.
  • Also, try looking around on Twitter (for users with similar interests) or on Facebook (for groups with similar interests, like a blogging group or a niche group). I've joined a few of these in the past year and it's fun to connect with people; it also provides a good venue to talk about your most recent posts.
What are five of your favorite movies released in the last five years? (I tried to narrow it down for you!)
That's a really hard question!
I'm going to narrow it to just the last three years, actually (2010-2013), so that I can use my blog for reference. I would say:
The Help (2011) - I'm a huge fan of the book and the adaptation was fantastic.
The Way, Way Back (2013) - This just came out, actually. I saw it twice and really enjoyed it.
The Social Network (2010) - I'm a Facebook addict, and I thought this was so interesting, and it had fantastic performances too.
Despicable Me (2010) - Such a cute movie! I saw the sequel recently too, and although I liked it, the original is better, in my opinion.
Django Unchained (2012) - I really didn't expect to like this one so much but I ended up seeing it twice in the theater. Compelling story and great acting.


Liz Parker said...

Thanks again for interviewing me, Renee! Love your site.

Renee Roberson said...

It was a pleasure, Liz! I enjoyed reading about how you juggle everything:)