My Book Blogging Journey – Guest Post by Vivienne Dacosta

I started blogging in 2009, but the path I took then is very different to the one I’m on now.  At the time, I was totally wrapped up in the American book blogging community. I would read whatever books they recommended, which were usually adult and literary books.  I joined different challenges and really got involved in the community but after a while I realised that it all felt so far away from little old England. I hardly knew any book bloggers in the UK.

Luckily in 2011, I discovered Twitter and it changed the way I blogged completely. I discovered the UKYA book bloggers before they had an official title. Straight away I was accepted into this wonderfully warm community and I realised this was where I belonged.  I was taken under the wing, by the Queen of UK Book Blogging, Liz De Jager,  long before her book deal, who introduced me to some fabulous publishers and authors. Suddenly I was getting review books and be invited to book launches and blogger brunches. I finally had a place to be and I was loving every minute of it.

I realised very quickly that I had to change the type of blog posts I wrote. I abandoned all the personal posts in favour of more reviews and very soon I was being asked to take part in blog tours. I also moved away from reading any adult books and concentrated solely on YA and children’s books. I knew I would lose touch with my American book blogging friends and it was a difficult choice to make. However, on looking back, I know it was the right one. They were a wonderful bunch of ladies and I really do miss them.

As time passed my blog progressed quite naturally. Reviews would be picked to go into the Bookseller, quotes would be placed on book covers. With every new excitement I was grateful for the opportunities I received.

Last year, I was completely gobsmacked when I won the UKYA blog award for Content on my blog. Out of all the awards that were given out it was the one I was really hoping to win. As an unpublished and unagented author, it had the biggest meaning to me. If I won it, I’d be accepted as a writer.  And I did win! And I was accepted. I’ve realised that people genuinely want to read what I have to say and I’m so grateful for that.  Through this fabulous award, I was given the opportunity to take part in a blogging panel at YALC. This was an amazing experience. I also got to chair various panels of authors at the Brighton Rocks book festival, where I actually managed to get a selfie with our Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell. I would never have been able to do any of these things without my blog.

What does the future hold for my blog? I’m not sure. I imagine I will always be blogging in some way or other as I’ve built Serendipity Reviews up from nothing and it won’t be long before it reaches a million hits. I’m realising that my readers want to see  a  little more of me in my posts, so that’s one route I’m now taking. I’m pretty sure though there will always be reviews of amazing books and interviews with wonderful authors on the blog for the foreseeable future. Maybe, one day, I might even get to talk about my own book on my blog. Who knows?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

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