I am thrilled to bits to have my reporter hat on today, interviewing one of my favorite book people in the whole world—is there anyone out there who doesn’t know Raven Award recipient Dru Ann Love? You there in the back, come have a seat, because you’re in for a treat. Any crime fiction author will tell you that Dru is one of the most supportive and unfailingly kind people they know. Her blog, Dru’s Book Musings, has a subscriber following of more than 5,500, and authors are clamoring for spaces in her popular, “A Day in the Life” feature. So, how did our Brooklyn bookworm friend grow her little blog into a crime fiction powerhouse? Let’s ask her.
Dru, thanks so much for being here today! Let’s start at the beginning: What made you decide to start a reading blog?
The real reason I started a reading blog on July 1, 2008, was because I found myself buying the same books multiple times and the only way to combat this was to write up a small snippet on the books that I read so this one mistake wouldn’t happen again.
Readers and authors alike adore your “A Day in the Life” feature—was it there from the very beginning? How did it come about?
No, not from the beginning. I was posting short reviews Monday through Friday. I was told that in order to keep readers coming to your blog, you need to have fresh content. So, I had to come up with a feature that would bring me new content to my blog. I had just finished reading a book and after I closed it, I thought “what does the heroine do on the day she is not solving a crime” and that’s when I came up with my feature, a “day in the life.” I sought out two authors and sent them an email and within a few seconds, they happily signed on to do this new feature for my blog. The anniversary of that first guest post for my “day in the life” feature is August 8, 2011.
How did you build your online following so effectively? Did you study industry trends, or is it just that you’re so darned genuine and lovable?
When I first started the feature, I did pay attention to the trends, but most were capitalizing on monetary gains. Since my blog is not monetary, my goal was to give my readers consistent dialogue with the author that is being featured. My thought is that my readers knew what to expect on my blog on a daily basis and that is what I gave them – an introduction to authors and their work.
What’s the biggest, oh-my-gosh-how-is-this-my-life moment that the blog has been responsible for?
First being nominated for an Anthony Award in 2015 but the best was being the recipient of the 2017 MWA Raven Award, especially to be introduced by Alafair Burke. And it was just a fantastic event having my co-workers and my friends there to share in this honor.
Do you remember the first time an author was excited to meet you, instead of the other way around (or maybe in addition to)? How did you feel?
Yes. I was a frequent commenter on Heather Webber’s blog and we got to know each other as friends. She was the one who convinced me to attend my first Malice Domestic Convention. I think we were both excited to see each other after years of communicating via social media. I do know felt giddy because I was standing next to an author whose work I’ve read. It was just a magical moment for me. Even to this day, the excitement works both ways when I meet an author who I’ve been online friends with, in person.
Do you know how many blog posts you’ve written? What makes you keep going even on the days when it’s not fun?
The authors write the blog post, but I’ve had nearly 2,000 guest posts highlighting an author’s work (“day in the life,” “author showcase,” “publisher’s showcase,” and “cover reveal”). What keeps me going is the desire to help be an advocate and get the word out on books and authors that I discover. With so few avenues for authors to reach an audience, I’m happy to help them along the way. When this becomes a chore, then it will be time for me to hang up my shoes. But so far, I’m loving every minute of it.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a book blog?
Make sure you are doing a book blog for the right reason. Get a niche. . .bring something different, unique to readers that they can’t find anywhere else. Be consistent in what you are delivering and have fun. Also, have respect for the authors and your readers.
Which other book blogs do you read?
Because I post book reviews on my blog, I stay away from review blogs as I don’t want them to influence my thought, however, I do enjoy reading BOLO Books by Kristopher Zgorski.
Ed. Note: Read our interview with Kristopher Zgorski HERE.
I have been the happy recipient of Dru’s steadfast friendship and tireless cheerleading for several years, and I’m so glad she decided to start a book blog because it’s one of my favorite things about the mystery community. Dru, what’s your favorite thing about the mystery community?
Being part of something big. The camaraderie that exists between the members of this community who are supportive no matter your role. The mystery community embraced me when I needed it most and that I’ll never forget.
LynDee Walker is the author of six national bestselling mysteries featuring crime reporter Nichelle Clarke, beginning with the Agatha Award-nominated FRONT PAGE FATALITY (2013). The newest book in the series, LETHAL LIFESTYLES, was published on September 27, 2016. Before she started writing mysteries, LynDee was an award-winning journalist. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S.
To learn more about LETHAL LIFESTYLES, click on the cover below: