Interview with Blogger Kate Scott (Parchment Girl)
Kate Scott, Lit Blogger
What inspired you to become a blogger and what do you wish to accomplish with your blog?
I love reading and I love talking about books. Before I started my blog, I didn’t have an outlet like a book club or bookish friends to discuss the books I was reading with. When I discovered the book blogging community I thought, “These are my people!” and I knew I had to be apart of it. Around that same time I discovered the world of professional blogging. Before then I had no idea that people actually made a living blogging about what they love and the idea excited me. I didn’t think I could actually make a full-time or even part-time income from blogging alone, but I did hope that someday I might be able to monetize my blog and make some extra cash from it.
Right now I have two main goals: create amazing content and build my audience and income. Creativity is extremely important to me and I want to constantly challenge myself to write better, come up with interesting ideas, and create an online space that is beautiful and welcoming to all who visit. To that end, I’ve really delved into graphic design this past year, and I’ve expanded my knowledge of CSS so that I can customize my blog design without the help of a professional. I’m actually working on rebranding, redesigning, and revamping my blog right now, and I’m planning to launch the new site in December or January. My second goal, to build my audience and income, is something I'm finally making major strides with this year. I’m getting smarter about using social media to push my content and I’m finding new ways to monetize my blog. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction.
What is your blog mainly about, and do you enjoy what you do?
I primarily blog about books, with the occasional foray into film, music, and art (usually book-related). I definitely love what I do! There is nothing better than sharing my passion for reading!
Have you written for any other websites or offline publications?
I’ve been a Book Riot contributor since March 2013. I’ve written a few other pieces–book reviews, author interviews, and misc. articles–for a handful of other blogs, webzines, and online publications over the years.
When did you start blogging?
I started Parchment Girl in August 2010. I’m practically a dinosaur in blogging years!
What have you learned through blogging?
Oh gosh, so much. I’ve learned a number of practical skills, including graphic design, HTML, CSS, SEO techniques, and social media marketing. I’ve become a better writer in general and a better blogger in particular; I’ve found that blogging is very different from other types of writing.
Is there anything you'll like to add about blogging?
I think now is such a great time to be a blogger. It used to be that you had two choices: you could either create a dinky little BlogSpot blog for free or you could shell out big bucks to build a custom self-hosted Wordpress blog with all the bells and whistles. There wasn’t a whole lot of in-between. Nowadays, the free options are looking a lot sleeker, and there are tons of amazing low-cost pre-made Wordpress themes that bloggers can easily customize on their own. There’s no choosing between budget and professional anymore. Overhead is low and the sky’s the limit!
What kind of obstacle or problems had you been through for your blog?
Do you have an afternoon free? Over the last six years, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong with my blog. I’ve had technical disaster after technical disaster–nightmare hosting transfers, server issues, inept tech support, wonky coding, formatting mistakes, technology meltdowns, my blog disappearing into interspace only to magically (and thankfully) reappear. It’s been a crash course in crisis management!
How do you communicate with your followers? How much time do you usually spend on your blog?
I communicate with my followers in the comments section of each post, and on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I also occasionally get emails from followers (usually fellow book bloggers) who have specific questions or comments.
I don’t track how much time I spend on my blog, but I’d guesstimate about twenty hours per week, sometimes more.
How would you describe your blogging style?
I’ve been described as analytical and I think that’s my default mode. I enjoy writing the sort of long-winded analyses that no one likes to read (for example, my really really long review of Parade’s End, my prosaic ode to a dead British literary critic that no one has ever heard of, and my feminist deconstruction of William Golding’s introduction to the Lord of the Flies audiobook). That said, I’ve been trying to move away from that and write content that appeals to a wider audience, like listicles and other easy-to-digest fare (for example, my list of websites boards for book lovers, my post on why I read books, or my cheeky expose on the kinky sex lives of famous authors. I’m trying to strike the balance between thoughtful and entertaining–always a work in progress.
What tips would you give to blogger wannabes and young/new bloggers?
First off, I would say keep at it. Blogging can be frustrating and discouraging at times, especially when you’re just starting out. It's both a joy and a job, but if you’re consistent and persistent, your efforts will eventually pay off. My second piece of advice is to educate yourself on how to be a successful blogger. Learn the etiquette and ethics of blogging, research the the FCC laws that govern the blogging community, learn about SEO and social media marketing, and all the other things that will give you an edge over the millions of other bloggers out there. There are tons of great resources to help you out. Earlier this year, I did a 20-week blog series called The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging, which covers topics ranging from basic blog setup to social media, FCC guidelines, monetization methods, and more. Another great resource I recommend is Amy Lynn Andrews’ website She is continually adding content to help new and growing bloggers build better blogs.