JH: Okay, so let's start by hearing a little about the #HEAGirls and how you got into blogging.
Lydia: Hello, hello!! My name is Lydia, but everyone calls me Ly (Lee) or Hea. I’m in my twenties and happily in love with my soul mate – let’s call him J. I’m a new mom to two amazing boys and I absolutely love our imperfectly perfect life.
I decided to create a book blog where readers with similar tastes to mine could discover these Indie Authors that I had come to love and admire….and probably stalk via Facebook & Twitter. And so, it all began.
HEA Bookshelf was born.
Bethany: Lydia and I met because she’s a stalker. Seriously. She is. I was just learning about Facebook pages for the authors I was reading, and finding blog pages that I started seeing through the authors I had liked and I started to see her on there. We liked the same pages, agreed on some books and discussions and generally had a great time interacting. We even started to talk in PM’s before she friend requested me in April 2013. We started tagging each other in book sales, book discussions and book funnies. But then….CRAZY Lydia came out. She asked me to guest review on her blog. Hahahaha! I laughed at her….she was high, I was fairly positive. No way. She harassed me for MONTHS. I finally agreed to do it in August and wrote my first review for her. She was all excited and made me feel like I threw a whole bunch of words together, and they actually made sense! So I eventually started to review books that I had bought, and then I started to sign up for tours that I wanted and saw around FB…..and the fun began. I have loved doing it ever since. It truly is a joy and I have her to thank for it!! She's the best #BlogSister ever. <3
JH: You two sound like a match made in heaven. And BTW, I'm feeling the hashtag love in your answer! Where did the name HEA Bookshelf come from?
Lydia: I have a few rules as far as my reading goes. One VERY important rule being that the book MUST have a happy ending. MUST. I can handle cliffhangers if books are parts of series, but that last and final book in the series/trilogy MUST end in a HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Bethany: This was Lydia's baby....so I'm just along for the ride!! (tee hee) Lydia's the one that stalked me....so the name was already picked. I suppose she could have named it 'Stalkers R Us', but the name probably wouldn't have went too far. Hahaha!!!
JH: Hey, stalkers need happy endings too. (Wait, that came out wrong...) Moving right along. Here's a question every author wants to know—how do you determine what your next read will be?
Lydia: I use a few things to figure out what I want to read but the major factors I take into consideration are the author's message and attitude, synopsis and genre.
Bethany: I am a synopsis, cover and review looker--in that order. If it's a new book and there aren't any reviews available, I look at the synopsis and if it's part of a series or if it's a standalone (time plays a factor sometimes), genre of the book and then finally the cover. I do love a good cover.
JH: It's good information to hear that an author's message/attitude are determining factors in whether or not you'll review their book. What are some of your other do's & dont's for self-published authors who approach you for reviews?
DO: be nice and down to earth... get to know the blogger behind the blog before even thinking about asking for favors.
DONT: if you've never even talked to the blogger, don't ask them to like your page or share your work.
DO: personalize your request, instead of saying a general 'hello lovely ladies', make sure you address the bloggers directly. It feels more personal that way and it lets us know that you actually know who we are. Check out our BIO on our blog page so you know what we are about and what we like to read.
DO: be excited to get your book out there. We want to share in your excitement too!!
DONT: send an email/synopsis/teaser riddled with errors. I only say this because if an email/synopsis/teaser has errors and I notice that, I won't want to read it. I don't want to be rude, but a lot of people pick on that and it gets very distracting (to me too). ALWAYS proofread....have a friend lend an eye, be a sounding board, look stuff over.
DONT: be upset when a blogger turns down a book. Time and schedules are crazy sometimes and we never mean any disrespect when we can't promise a review or any available time. I know that I have stopped taking books for a 'review whenever' because I feel guilty with books sitting there waiting for me and I have 6 tours coming up. Never give up. <3
JH: I think one thing at least is clear: you guys really care for the authors your promote. I know that firsthand since HEA Bookshelf has been such an amazing supporter of my series. So, if you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and why?
Lydia: Since I have so many, two that come to mind are Kristen Proby and Sylvain Reynard.
Bethany: I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a few authors (even having dinner and breakfast with them), but I don't know how to answer this....would I go back out with some favorites and pick their brain for their next book, their life and inspiration, or would I pick someone new to see what makes them tick? Such a common question; one that I have the hardest time answering!! It changes all the time...ha!
JH: Bethany and I actually met & got to spend some time together at the Indie Mashup book signing in Arkansas last year. That's what I love about those signings the most—connecting with bloggers, readers, and other authors. Do you have a favorite part of blogging so far?
Lydia: I think the best part, for me, is the TRUE friends I've made along the way.
Bethany: I *LOVE* the people I've met, the books I've fallen in love with and the authors that have become friends. I love this blogging world!!
JH: I love how passionate you both are about what you do. What makes HEA Bookshelf unique?
Bethany: I think the fact that we are best friends as well as #BlogSisters plays a big part in things. We never disagree on things....ever. Like, ever! And we always talk about books....every.single.day. We call/text/message and FB with each other every day.
JH: I love that. It's amazing how people come together with one common cause—to support indies in this community—and end up finding friends for life. Well, it's been a pleasure having you ladies on the blog—thank you so much for stopping by! To see more of HEA Bookshelf, head over to their blog, Facebook or Twitter.
Have a question for me to ask or want to suggest a blog for me to interview? Tweet me @jess_hawk and include #ScriptFlip. Interested bloggers can contact me here.