Saturday, 28 January 2017

Why You Might Need to Become Self Employed if You're a Book Blogger

*puts on adulting hat*

As I've discussed before, the majority of book bloggers are hobbyists, and most frown upon earning from your blog; I'm not sure why, because other niches are the opposite, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. Today I'm going to discuss how to make money from your book blog, should you be one of the few who want to, and what you need to do once you've earned your very first penny.

First up: how to make money. Dolla. Pounds. Squids. Notes, hopefully.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

Title: Unconventional
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st February 2017
Pages: 464
Genres: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Lexi Angelo is a Convention Kid - she's got a clipboard and a walkie talkie to prove it.

Aidan Green is a messy-haired, annoyingly arrogant author and he's disrupting her perfect planning.

In a flurry of awkward encounters, lost schedules and late-night conversations, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned... Things like falling in love.

Fans of Stephanie Perkins and Rainbow Rowell, say hello to your next favourite book!

Lexi Angelo's dad is one of the most successful organisers of conventions, and Lexi helps out with each and every event despite coursework, exams, and family problems. She knows all there is to know about conventions, and they even have a 'Convention Family' consisting of the regular staff members. But then a certain nineteen-year-old debut superstar author attends one of the conventions, and things get shaken up...

There are so many things I loved about this book. SO MANY. Firstly, the fact that I snagged an early copy from Usborne, because I read the sampler at YALC last year and honestly didn't know how I was supposed to wait seven months for the whole thing. Secondly: Harcourt's attention to detail was much appreciated, endlessly fascinating, and authentic - I love getting to see behind the scenes! And thirdly... THIS BOOK HAS CAMEOS FROM REAL YA AUTHORS. NO, I AM NOT JOKING. I was basically just fangirling over every page. Don't mind me.

In addition, Unconventional boasts a believable romance that I loved, and some truly beautiful scenes; I'm not sure if this is something I've ever noted in a book before, but there really were. If you're good at making fan art, you'll get some gorgeous creations out of this, trust me; the material is alllllll there.

If you're having YALC withdrawal symptoms, you need this book in your life. If you're not having YALC withdrawal symptoms and you've never even been to a convention (WHY?) you still need this book in your life. Unconventional is beautifully crafted, full of fandom greatness, and is sure to make you feel good. A definite must read.
Thursday, 19 January 2017

How I Became Confident Filming YouTube Videos

Credit: @laceypr on Instagram
I'm not a confident person. I have chronic anxiety, for a start. Then there's the matter that I've always got good grades, but I constantly worry that I don't actually deserve them and that it's some kind of marking error. I dislike the way I look sometimes, so much so that one year on holiday I turned away from the camera every time a photo was taken. When I meet new people, all that's going through my head is what if they think I'm weird what if they think I'm ugly what if they laugh about me later what if they think I'm stupid what if they're disappointed what if I come off as rude because I'm so busy worrying.

I don't think I'm completely alone in that.
Sunday, 15 January 2017

Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg

Title: Girl Online: Going Solo
Author: Zoe Sugg
Published by: Penguin Random House UK
Publication date: 17th November 2016
Pages: 352
Genres: YA Contemporary/Romance/Friendship
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

As Penny starts the school year she's ready to face the world - alone. Noah has gone off the radar after ending his world tour early and no one, including Penny, knows where he is. So when she accepts Megan's invitation to visit her performing arts school it seems like an opportunity to make some new friends.

Helping everyone else seems to be the right remedy - Elliot needs her friendship more than ever, and she meets Posey, who she can really help with her stage fright. But is charming Scottish boy Callum the right kind of distraction? And can Penny truly move on when Noah's shadow seems to haunt her round every corner?

One of my favourite trilogies has come to an end, and I am so sad that it's over. Girl Online has had a bumpy ride in 'the industry' (to be said in the voice of a hipster record-label manager with an open shirt and sunglasses) but I've really enjoyed the new instalments that have popped through my letterbox every November. What am I meant to do next November? This is like when The Missing ended and my Wednesday nights were suddenly a lot less exciting/creepy. Anyway, staying on topic...

In Girl Online: Going Solo, Noah has disappeared after ending his world tour early, and only his manager knows where he is. Megan is no longer in Brighton but in London at a prestigious drama school, where not everything is as it seems. Elliot is dealing with more family troubles, and Penny is juggling heartbreak and her mental health with trying to further her photography career, move on from Noah, help out with her mum's business and help her friends who need her now more than ever. The question is, can Girl Online cope with going solo?

Related: My Picks for Future Rounds of the #ZoellaBookClub

If you hadn't realised by now, I relate to these characters so much - especially Penny - that by the end of the book, I feel like they're actual friends, and then I'm like: Amber, they're fictional, it's over, chill, move on. For a while, Penoah is simply PenPo, in which I mean Penny is on her own as Noah has disappeared. And, even though I love Penny and Noah's relationship, I liked getting to see who Penny was on her own and what she got up to, and in this time she made loads of progress with her anxiety, which I was so happy to see. Sugg has really found her footing in terms of writing, and coupled with the fact that Penny has grown, achieved personal goals, and found what is 'uniquely Penny', this is my favourite book of the trilogy. So far. Because you never know and I live in hope.

Full of feel-good vibes, Girl Online: Going Solo is perfect for fans of Cathy Cassidy and Holly Bourne. (Also, if Girl Online has given you a book hangover too, you might enjoy Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell, the Jessie Jefferson books by Paige Toon, and Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout. I've got your back.)
Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Trying Something New, Overcoming Hurdles, and Hanging Out With YOU!

I try to avoid writing short posts like this, because I prefer to give you something a bit more... more. You know? Like, why would I give you a grain of rice when I could give you a whole bowl?

...Anyway, the point of this post: come and meet me! That's right, I'm actually leaving the house and socialising for once. 'Tis a rare occasion, so make the most of it. In fact, I'm not just socialising, I'm getting up in front of a room of people and trying to hold their attention for an hour.

That's... a thing that is happening.

I've been invited to chair panels and even do my own workshops before, but due to my anxiety, I always had to say no. Part of me wanted to do it, but a bigger part of me absolutely detested the idea, so it was fine. Years of drama fees weren't wasted at all, then...

But recently I arranged to film a video with Beautiful Broken Things author Sara Barnard, and her wonderful publicist gently asked if I wanted to chair a bookshop Q&A for her later that day. There was no pressure, and she thought I might like the opportunity... and this time, my mind was 50/50. That was enough. That was better than usual. So, seeing as this felt doable for the first time ever, I said yes.

Sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. That's how you grow. And I have to take all the growing opportunities I can get, because I stopped at 5"2' several years ago.

I might've taken that a little bit far, though, because a few days later exactly the same thing happened with Perdita and Honor Cargill, and I said yes to that, too. So, I've gone from absolutely no experience in chairing author events... to chairing two in a month, one week apart. THE NERVES ARE REAL. I know, though, that once I've done these - and done well, hopefully! - I'll be able to do it again, and I will have got past a hurdle that has been there for a while... a hurdle called Public Speaking. I mean, I was so anxious a couple of years ago that I couldn't even see most of my friends, so... let's give it a go, yes?

Sara Barnard
in conversation with Amber Kirk-Ford

WHEN: Sunday 22nd January 2017
WHERE: 8 High Street, Downham Market, PE38 9DB
WHAT: Join us for nibbles, drinks, a Q&A with #ZoellaBookClub author Sara Barnard, and the opportunity to get your books signed! You'll also have the chance to ask your own questions, so get your thinking caps on...
HOW MUCH? A donation to the West Norfolk Deaf Association is encouraged but optional. This is a non-ticketed event, so just turn up and we'll be happy to accommodate you!
RSVP: Click here to let us know you're going. Not required, but it'll help us to know numbers!

Perdita and Honor Cargill
in conversation with Amber Kirk-Ford

WHEN: Sunday 29th January 2017
WHERE: 8 High Street, Downham Market, PE38 9DB
WHAT: Join us for nibbles, drinks, a Q&A with mother/daughter author duo Perdita and Honor Cargill, and the opportunity to get your books signed! You'll also have the chance to ask your own questions, so get your thinking caps on...
HOW MUCH? A donation to the West Norfolk Deaf Association is encouraged but optional. This is a non-ticketed event, so just turn up and we'll be happy to accommodate you!
RSVP: Click here to let us know you're going. Not required, but it'll help us to know numbers!

I would absolutely LOVE to see some of you there. It would honestly make my day, so please come and join us!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

3 Books That Will Get You Into Poetry

In my recent post A Life Update: Books, Films, Blogging Struggles and Rambling, I mentioned my love of poetry. It's not something I've ever really talked about before, probably because this blog has always focused heavily on YA fiction, but yeah - I'm a sucker for a good book of poems.

I don't know about you, though, but I hardly ever see poetry recommendations unless a book hits the big time, like Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey. That's why I'm about to show you three books of selected poems that will blow your socks off. Or whatever else you're wearing. This just took a weird turn. Shall we talk about some nice poetry, instead?

A Choosing: Selected Poems by Liz Lochhead

This is one of the books I'm studying this year, and although we haven't started on it yet and probably won't until spring, I've already devoured it because I'm that annoying kid who actually buys and reads the summer reading list in, like, June. What drew me to A Choosing originally, aside from the obligatory reading list, is that it is modern and feminist. Um, yes please. At GCSE and AS we had to study much older poems that I never really connected with, so to study something that actually appeals to me straight off the bat is pretty cool.

Buy the book: Amazon | Waterstones | The Book Depository

Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson

Chasers of the Light shows the miracle in the mundane and the epic made simple, all whilst being an extremely photogenic little hardback. It magnifies the small moments and I'm in love with it; the book itself and how it came to be. (Gregson stumbled upon a typewriter, started writing and hasn't looked back since. Ten years ago I randomly started writing a blog post in a paddling pool and I'm still here. I think sometimes the things most valuable to us in life start as accidents.) The thing I loved most about Chasers of the Light is that it's appreciative of the little things in life and captures the most fleeting of thoughts.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Of course I had to mention this one - it's my favourite! I most connect with the first poem which you can see here on my Instagram, but a lot of them resonate with me. It's so, so, so gorgeous and, unsurprisingly, everyone has been talking about it. It's a phenomenal little book of raw and honest poetry, complete with simple but perfect line drawings. If you're going to get any book from this post, make it this one (although all of them would be preferable because, y'know, they're all great.)

What poetry shall I read next? And have you read any of these?