London Calling: A Chat With Author Maria Savva
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from London, UK. I’m an author. I write short stories and novels in various genres. I worked as a solicitor for about 15 years, and now work in admin. at a university.
How long have you been blogging?
I currently maintain 3 blogs. I’ve been using my Goodreads blog as my main blog for a few years now. I mainly use that to chat about my books and interview authors, although I have also interviewed musicians on that blog. Last year, Darcia Helle and I decided to start up a blog to help promote indie authors. That’s the Bestsellerbound Recommends blog. We offer various options for indie authors who want to be featured on the blog, including New Release Spotlights, guest posts, excerpts, book trailers. At the moment I am the only active staff member on the blog, although Darcia and Michael Radcliffe also contribute from time to time. I’ve recently started blogging about music for the UK Arts Directory. They approached me when they were looking for another member for their team of bloggers. Author Terry Tyler (who blogs about books on the site) recommended me as a music blogger. I love music as much as I love reading and writing, so it is fun being part of that team.
Is there a specific genre that appeals to you?
I read and write most genres. I’m not keen on erotica or gory horror, and I don’t like gratuitous violence in books, but will read and write and blog about everything else. At the moment, I’m more drawn to short fiction, mainly due to time constraints. I’ve always loved the short story form and am finding lots of great short stories out there. I also like fantasy fiction, as in magic and dragons, that sort of thing (I have Julie Elizabeth Powell, J. Michael Radcliffe, and Dionne Lister to thank for that). I like books that can make me laugh because comedy is a great love of mine. I’m also attracted to books that have a music theme, like rock fiction, because I am a music freak.
Blogging is a full time job. How do you balance blogging and keeping up with authors with everything else going on in your life?
I burn the midnight oil. Inevitably, there are times when I have to concentrate on one thing and everything else gets left behind. For example, up to about a year ago I was a much more active book reviewer, but that has now been shelved for the moment while I concentrate on blogging and writing. I have a full-time job, and other commitments. It’s a constant struggle, but I have good organisational skills from when I worked as a solicitor, always having to keep to deadlines, so I’m quite disciplined. I also don’t sleep much…
What’s the number #1 rule you have about keeping your blog up to date?
I don’t have rules. I just try to check my inbox for e-mails every day and post stuff that has to be posted. I’m always doing last minute stuff.
What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t have a routine. I write when I can find time. Usually this is at night because I work during the day.
How have you handled negative feedback about the topics you write about or the authors you have interviewed/featured?
My philosophy is that everyone is entitled to their opinion, as long as they’re not rude about it I don’t have a problem with people voicing what they think of things.
Most memorable guest post?
I don’t remember many of the guest posts, so perhaps they weren’t that memorable LOL… But seriously, I mainly host interviews rather than guest posts. My most memorable one would have to be my interview with musician Chris Wyse from The Cult and Owl. The Cult has always been one of my favourite rock bands, and I love Chris’s side project Owl, so that interview was a real treat for me.
Least favorite genre?
Erotica. I just wouldn’t go out of my way to read an erotica novel. I’ve read and enjoyed books that have some erotic content, but it’s just not my cup of tea as a genre.
Some writers have a tendency to be drama queens- how do you deal?
I’m not very good at dealing with them, actually, and have had a couple of bad experiences with those types. I try to avoid them. Luckily, I have found a nice group of writers at Bestsellerbound.com who are not drama queens, and they are the people I most associate with online.
You do a lot of promoting on your blog – What do you think is the best source of online promotion? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
If I knew that, I would be a millionaire. Unfortunately, I am clueless. The only thing I do know is that there are certain blogs and websites that have thousands of hits per day and if you can get promoted on one of those you will see your sales soar.
Whats the number one piece of advice you would give to a blogger or author promoting their work?
Be yourself, everyone else is taken. I know someone else said that, so me quoting it is quite ironic and contradictory LOL… sorry, but I actually think that’s the best advice. Let your followers get to know the real you, not a fake version. People respect honesty a lot more than you would think.
How do you separate your personal reading interests from the work that is submitted for your blog? Or is your blog strictly based on your reading taste?
On my Goodreads blog and my music blog, I usually only post stuff that I would read/listen to. An example of what I said in response to your previous question… I prefer my readers to know what my tastes are. Having said that, I occasionally post guest posts or promotional posts like blog tours for authors I’ve met who approach me for help with promotion even if I haven’t read their books. But it would be obvious from my blog that I haven’t read them.
On the BestsellerBound Recommends blog there is an open submissions policy, so I haven’t read a lot of the books that are posted there. Also, on Bestsellerbound Recommends we take part in blog tours to help with promotion of books that perhaps I would never read. The most important thing with that blog is that we’re providing a place where authors can get a bit of extra exposure because we know how easy it is for voices to be drowned out in the great sea of new books that are published daily. Hopefully, we are helping a bit.