Each week I’ll be donating $50 to the charity of a blogger’s choice as part of the “Read, Write, Give” drive. You can also see previous charities and bloggers featured and check out the Pinterest board.
This week, Catherine Coffman from Cat’s Thoughts is supporting Worldbuilders. You can read more about them after her interview.
I’ve often said that book bloggers are the “Fairy Godmothers and Godfathers” of the literary world – and I really believe it. Therefore, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to interview some of these wonderful bloggers and shed a little light on why they undertake this epic labors of love!
This week’s interview is with Catherine Coffman, who runs the wonderful blog Cat’s Thoughts. Cat is a book addict, with a love of all things lime green! She lives in Arizona with her husband and their two dogs.
Interview with Catherine Coffman: Cat’s Thoughts
Could you please tell us about yourself?
I’m just an average person who works in the real world and spends her spare time in fictional universes! I’m overwhelmingly addicted to books, listmaking, and anything lime green, and when I put the book down I hang out with my husband, our two dogs, and an awesome group of friends.
Could you please tell us why you started the site and how you’ve built your following? What other projects are you working on?
I actually started Cat’s Thoughts ‘because all my cool friends were doing it’ – no really good reason. I fell off the posting wagon after a couple months because quite honestly, it was boring blogging when I knew hardly anyone was reading it. Then a year or so ago, I found the awesome book blogger community and realized that hey, people WILL read about books, and the rest is history! I’ve gotten more followers over time, which is really fun, but I blog primarily to have an outlet for all the awesome books I read and like to ramble about.
You review products and services on your blog as well as books. What’s the most memorable thing you’ve ever had to review?
I think for me, some of the most memorable experiences in reviewing have actually been books. I’m pretty selective about anything else I review, and I think the hardest or most memorable reviews are the ones for books I didn’t completely love.
As well as your love of books, you blog about your daily life in Arizona. Any funny stories you would like to share?
Aside from the number of books I’ve dropped in the pool trying to escape the heat? I hear all the time about how much I read, and all I can think every time is ‘you have no idea’ – I am literally never without access to a book in some form or fashion.
You run a Top Ten Tuesday feature, hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Could you tell us more about the event and do you find it hard to think of a new list each week?
Oh my gosh, this feature is so much fun! The Broke and the Bookish post topics every week, and all kinds of bloggers post their lists for that topic. It’s awesome to see what others think about different topics! Sometimes it is really hard to come up with the list though! Especially this year, because I’ve tried really hard to limit my repeats!
You must get hundreds, if not thousands, of review requests every month. How do you handle all the requests?
I love my blog, but I try to always keep in mind that I do it for fun. For a while I felt really bad if I wasn’t interested in a book that was offered to me, or if I didn’t get my e-mail dealt with really quickly. Now, I try to always be polite, but I also try not to accept books that I don’t think I’ll be interested in or enjoy, and I stress a lot less about insta-answering every e-mail.
What, for you, is the most important quality in a book?
That feeling of being ‘sucked in’ – my favorite books in the world are the ones that pulled me in within pages and I didn’t want to put it down until I got to the end. There’s no one recipe for success, but that kind of reaction to a book is my favorite.
Do you review self-published books? Why or why not?
I don’t actually pay attention to publishing when I’m looking at review offers – I get a ton of self published requests, some of which I accept, some I don’t, but I don’t discount self published just because they’re self published.
Do you feel there is a stigma against self-published writers? If so, do you feel it’s deserved? Why or why not?
I definitely see a stigma against self published books in the community, and sometimes I do think it’s deserved. But then again, non-fiction is often boring (to me), but that doesn’t mean that that sentiment applies to every non-fiction book or for every person. I’ve read some really awesome self pubs, and some that I didn’t really like or couldn’t finish, but that holds true for big publishing books as well.
For indie authors in particular, getting reviewed is one of the biggest challenges. Do you have any advice?
Be polite, thorough, and patient. There’s nothing worse than getting a review request from someone who obviously didn’t look at your review policy or read anything on your blog. That’s an instant turn off. The other big thing is patience – I don’t know about other bloggers, but I’ve got a bazillion books that I want or need to read. I personally try really hard to set expectations of when I think I’ll get to a review, but at the same time, I have to be kind to myself in there. I don’t like to feel like I have to read something, and I’m more likely to dislike something that I’m reading because I have to rather than because it sounded good when I picked it up. So yeah, patience, knowing that someone looked at my blog before they reached out, and just common politeness go a long way.
You’ve nominated Worldbuilders. Please could you tell us why?
My favorite personal charity is Worldbuilders – Patrick Rothfuss hosts an awesome fundraiser every year in honor of the charity, which is how I discovered it, and they do awesome work in helping to improve conditions for impoverished areas.
Catherine says: “I guess it goes without saying that I am more than an avid reader (assuming you have looked at any of my posts or challenges)! I swear, it’s genetic… When I’m not reading, I wear many different hats – doctoral student, wife, mother to three wonderful dogs and a gecko, employee, book reviewer, awesome friend, and probably a few more if I thought about it hard enough:
I live in Arizona and have for many years though I am originally from Nebraska. I have an undergraduate degree in business administration and two master’s degrees (MBA and Leadership). During my spare time (outside of work and school that is), I like to read of course, travel, blog, hang out with friends, and drink lots and lots of coffee! The coffee definitely helps me find the extra time in the day to accomplish all of the things that I have to do and get to some of the things I want to do.
Cat’s post is in support of Worldbuilders
During the Worldbuilders fundraiser, Pat blogs about the cool book donations we receive from authors and publishers (and all the other cool swag from artists, webcomics, etc.) Everyone who donates to Heifer International through Pat’s Heifer team page is eligible to receive one or more of those cool books and swag at the end of the fundraiser. Worldbuilders also matches donations made to Heifer during the period of the fundraiser.
All year round, we run The Tinker’s Packs where you can find cool merchandise inspired by Pat’s books, as well as foreign editions from various fantasy and sci-fi authors and more recently some of our cool projects like Lee Moyer’s Literary Pin-up Calendar. Profits made by the store go to Worldbuilders.