A Quick Note from Toot
So here we are at Toot's on our 1 year anniversary or blogiversary. Am I doing a huge giveaway (well actually yes), party, promo.....nope....I'm writing a silly little blog post telling you how we got started and thanking you for even checkin' out our blog. I'm still amazed people even visit this blog but I am so very thankful for each and every one of you and I don't say that just to throw it into the universe. I mean you, who are reading this right now, THANK YOU!!!
I decided rather then ramble on about this and that, that I'd change a few words around and interview myself, just like we do with authors and characters. It's silly but hopefully it will be a fun read and give you some insight into how our blog got started and why I still kinda consider us the reluctant bloggers.
Toot on Toot's
If you don't mind, may I ask you a few questions for your current and soon-to-be blog followers?
Sure! This is so bizarre, interviewing myself, LOL. Now I know what the authors go through!
First, for people who may not know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Carey Sabala. I'm the originator of Toot's Book Reviews.
In your own words, tell us a bit about your blog?
Toot's Book Reviews is a traditional book blog and review website. Our focus is books and our posts mainly consist of reviews, book spotlights, cover reveals, guest posts, promos, interviews with characters and authors as well as giveaways and much more. We sort of follow our tentative slogan "Fans helping to spread the word about the books we love!"
How did you become a blogger?
Oh gosh, why did I ask this question of myself? Well I started the blog because I'm a bookworm. I read a lot and I used to post my thoughts on the books I read on my personal Facebook page because my friends and family always asked my opinion on books but I started to worry that some of my books were not age appropriate for my younger family members, so I asked them. One of my family members (sorry don't remember who), suggested starting a blog. That way I could post my thoughts there and not worry about catering to my younger family members whom are on Facebook. So I guess the short answer is, I started it for my friends and family, LOL.
What is your favorite part of being a blogger?
OMG, it's the best thing I've ever done but also the most time consuming. I love books and I love authors, so this is the best avenue for me to share that. I've also met so many great people and made some amazing friends.
What's your least favorite part?
It's very time consuming. If we hadn't branched out and just stuck with reviewing it would probably be fine but the fact that Toot's is into all the other aspects of book blogging like interviewing, blog tours, promoting and a number of other things can be daunting but it's still a blast and I wouldn't change a thing!
How long have you been blogging?
Toot's has been live for 1 year.
Can you tell us about one of your most memorable moments of being a blogger?
Oh gosh, I think my most memorable moment and it was a turning point for the blog as well, was at an author event this summer in Pomona, CA called Summer Lovin' Indie Party. You see, I'm still a fan and go to these events as such, not as a blogger. While at the event, I happened to be talking to an author and mentioned that I had done a cover reveal for her book on my blog and she was like "What's your blog?" and I said "Toot's Book Reviews" and she was like "OMG I love your blog!". I was so taken aback that someone knew my blog and knew it by name and was a fan, that I was speechless! She then asked for my business card and I said I didn't have any. You see, It never occurred to me that I should have business cards for my silly little blog. Like I stated previously, the blog was mainly a place for me to tell friends and family about the books I've read but I think that was the moment, with the author, that I realized, I need to either put up or shut up. So I went home, designed some cards and we've been promoting the blog ever since.
If I may, my second memorable moment would be at Naughty Mafia's book event in Las Vegas this summer. While I was waiting in line with my friend and fellow blogger Lisa, we struck up a conversation with another fan in line behind us. The fan was so excited to meet bloggers that she asked to take a picture with Lisa and I, like we were famous. It was very surreal.
Did you do research into blogging or did you jump right in?
Nope, just jumped right in! I'm a sink or swim kind of person. Our blog is with Blogger because they were the most user friendly for me. I know a lot of people have switched to Wordpress but I'm happy where we are. Don't get me wrong, Blogger definitely has it's glitches but I'm used to them and work with them. I have spent countless hours fine tuning the blog and researching it as I go but initially, I just jumped in.
Besides the blog, what other social media avenues does Toot's have?
Well when I started the blog, I just thought it would be the main blog and that was it but as it's grown, we've had to branch out. We now have a Facebook page dedicated to the blog, we have a twitter account and people can follow us via email, Google Friends, Google Circles, Networked Blogs and even Book Blogs.
Any suggestions for would-be bloggers?
1. Be prepared to invest hours into your site.
2. Have a clear idea as to what you want out of this adventure.
3. Ask for help because you will need it.
As you stated, Toot's started with just you but now you have co-reviewers. How and why did you decide on co-reviewers for your blog?
When the blog started getting more and more traffic, I needed help with reviews. I was literally swimming in review requests. I reached out and asked for help. The more the merrier!
You recently added a few people to the blog. Tell us about your co-reviewers?
I love my co-reviewers!!!
The saving grace, whom is my sister-in-law, Stacy Sabala, accepted the first challenge. She's a college professor and avid reader. She saved me and probably the blog! I wouldn't be where I am without her. She stepped in, accepted a ton of reviews and saved my bacon.
A few months later, Stacy needed help as well, so I asked on Toot's Facebook page if anyone wanted to help. I immediately had a college student by the name of Stephanie Silva, step up and accept the challenge. She has been an integral part behind the scenes with reviews and through Toot's, She has been picked up by an author as his main reader.
Last but definitely not least is Melissa Toppen. Melissa and I met on a tour of San Diego hosted by author Kallypso Masters. The author wrote a book which featured a lot of locations in the city, so she put together a tour to visit the locations mentioned in the book. That's where we met and became friends. Melissa invited me to that same Pomona event I mentioned earlier and we got to talking. She mentioned my Facebook post and said she'd love to help. Melissa has been a great addition to the site because she's not only a huge reader and book fan but she's very big into the promoting aspect of books. She really wants to take Toot's to the next level and I am so honored to call her friend and to have her on our team.
Anything you'd like to say about or to them?
Honestly, Toot's would not be the blog it is right now without them! Each one is an integral part of the blog as a whole and I'd be lost without them. If they were in front of me, I'd kiss the ground at their feet and would pray at their alters, if I could and I'm totally serious.
If your blog was Ice Cream, what flavor would it be?
Where do you see your blog in 3 years?
Ugggg! If we've come this far in 1 year, I shudder to think. I just hope we are still around, still having fun, still reading and reviewing.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read, LOL.
A few random questions....
Favorite Movie - Princess Bride
Favorite Song - Shine by Take That - YouTube Link
Favorite Quote - "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" -Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Favorite Food - Pizza, good restaurant quality pizza, not Pizza Hut.
Favorite Color - Black or Red
First Blog Post - StarQuest Book 1 - Lionheart by Kate Douglas (PNR/Exotica)
Lastly, what are 5 things fans don't know about you or the blog?
1. Toot's in named after a nickname my mother gave me when I was a child. I used to walk round with a plastic horn and toot, toot, toot into it all day long. So they called me Toot. My mom still calls me that.
2. I called the blog Toot's in homage to my mother and her encouraging me to read.
3. I only review probably 10 - 20% of what I actually read.
4. I probably read on average of 8-10 books a week. I even sleep read as hubby calls it. I will nap, wake up, read, then fall back asleep.
5. I am an avid audio book junky. I listen to them while I work, eat and even sleep as well. I have fallen asleep with my iPod on numerous times.
Also I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone! Without you, we wouldn't be doing this. We hope that our hard work has fed your love of reading as well. We hope you win some nice prizes, learn more about your favorite authors and discover some wonderful new books. Thank you for stopping by Toot's Book Review!