Book blogging in Iran

Several months ago, when I asked for people willing to be interviewed about their book blogs or bookstagram activities, identical twins from Iran got in touch with me. As it turns out, they don’t currently have a blog, however, they do belong to an English book club and are planning to create a blog. With what is going on in our world right now (!!), it’s encouraging to hear what these women have to say.

The sign advertises English Book Club

Why did you start blogging about or featuring books?

To be honest, we didn’t have enough information about blogging. We express our warm thanks to Mary for informing us and giving us this opportunity to start our own blog and read various books. That’s why we have decided to start our own blog. Thanks to her, we have this chance to connect with other readers.

What type of books appeal to you and why?

Honestly, English is our favourite language and we read a huge selection of books and articles in English. In other words, the books help us feel better and develop our minds. Certainly, the ones that have much more depth. Gaining different experience from various books is really enjoyable. We like reading the book even holding it altogether. We are highly fascinated to read and share the joy of reading with our  friends.

Do you concentrate on a specific genre? If so, can you tell us a bit about your passion?

We’re into historical fiction. In addition to it, romance and non-fiction book genres are our favourite. Above all, we’re willing to read all genres but hardly read horror.

Who are your readers and followers? How do you engage with them? [These comments refer to the English book club.]

Followers and visitors are a group of lovely readers who are passionate about reading, discussing and being informed. It’s noteworthy that some of the people join us since they are interested in English books and learning English. Likewise, some decide to follow us out of curiosity. Honestly, the book club aroused a lot of curiosity among Iranian people. Actually, it’s the first in Iran. We’re greatly interested in following other post links. We do hope they follow us.

What ways do you use to attract new readers and followers?

Via indirect story post and reading ecosystem. Above all, we have a growing interest in introducing  books through acting. We ourselves enjoy reading and sharing such posts more. Just share our happiness and joy of reading. Hope others enjoy.

How do you interact with authors and publicists?

On Instagram, social networks, post office and email. Likewise, we feel honoured and proud when we interact  with such lovely people. Our words fail to express our feelings when they contact us. Our top priority in the book club is writing an open letter to the authors of the select book. Then, we send the members’ letters to the authors by email. Actually, it planted the seed of interest for the members of book club. It’s noteworthy that childrens’ letters for the book “The Fire Eaters” were sent to Professor David Almond and his kind response was an amazing event.

Yalda is a celebration of the winter solstice

What trends or changes have you noticed in the book world?

We’ve noticed  that young children in addition to old readers are big fans of books and interested in book club. Therefore, it motivates young readers to start reading. To the best of our knowledge, smart phones keep children from reading. So that sharing the books through videos would be useful and motivate them to keep reading.

If you could wave your magic wand, what would you change about the book industry?

Nowadays, books are so expensive. In addition, the access is not easy, especially, in Iran. Finding a way to solve this problem would be highly appreciated. Another thing would be sharing the books from bookcases since even holding a book puts everybody in the mood for reading.

Dear twins – I’m so delighted you took the time to connect with me and with the audience of A Writer of History. I know my readers will be very intrigued! When you do start your blog, please send me a link so I can publicize it.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Bookstagrammer Alex – @bookandteapairings

As mentioned in last week’s blog post, I’m featuring book bloggers and bookstagrammers and the wonderful work they do to publicize and celebrate books. Today we have Alex whose Instagram id is @bookandteapairings.

Why did you start blogging about or featuring books? I was living in Singapore at the time I had this idea to pair books with tea.  I had access to so many wonderful Southeast Asian authors and regional teas, and I wanted a forum to highlight these diverse authors by immersion through local tea pairings.  I have always found that a sensory experience enhances my read!

What type of books appeal to you and why? I tend to gravitate towards historical novels because I love reading about worlds that are different from my own but which carry universal themes.  It is for that reason that I have become so enamored with authors from diverse walks of life who can bring forth fresh perspectives.  For example, I recently posted about a book called Sarong Party Girls by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, a Singaporean author.  The entire book is written in Singapore dialect, or Singlish. There is a slight learning curve, but it was my favorite read of the summer!

Do you concentrate on a specific genre? If so, can you tell us a bit about your passion for that genre. I organize my pairings by collection.  Right now, I am in the middle of my Japan Collection, in which I feature Japanese authors and books relating to Japan.  I recently came back from a trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and I emerged with an endless supply of books and tea and pairing pictures! Organizing my pairings by collection has opened a window for me to read books that I never would have otherwise chosen or even known about. Next up is my Haunted Tales Collection. I’m already sleeping with the lights on!

Who are your readers and followers? How do you engage with them? My followers are an amazing group of readers who want to fully immerse themselves in diverse books through tea – and sometimes tasty treats!  Since I read every book and try ever tea I post, I can give my followers ideas for pairings that I have tested myself.  I love to take my followers on a journey to a particular place through my pairings, which I have done on my travels in Bali, Australia, New Zealand, and the Maldives.  I love to hear feedback and book recommendations and am always so inspired by other bookstagrammers!

If you have a blog, what features does it offer? For example, ‘best of’ lists, author interviews, a book rating system. I am working on a blog currently and hope to have it up and running soon.  My ultimate goal is to start a book and tea pairing of the month club and ship pairings to you, so you don’t have to leave your book nooks for a pairing!

What ways do you use to attract new readers and followers? I try to vary the genres of books and tea I highlight, so that readers and tea drinkers with diverse interests are always stimulated.  I hope that doing so attracts followers with a full spectrum of interests.

How do you interact with authors and publicists? I have a few friends in the publishing industry, and I love to hear about upcoming novels and authors to watch out for! If there is a novel that speaks to me or that would fit in a collection, I reach out to the author to see if a pairing would be of interest. It is a pleasure to work with debut authors who deserve encouragement and love from the bookstagram world.

What trends or changes have you noticed in the book world? I love that female authors and authors of color are consistently featured on bookstagram pages. I see bookstagram as a microcosm for book engagement, so it is very encouraging!

If you could wave your magic wand, what would you change about the book industry? I would love to see more books in other languages get published and translated into English.  I dabble in French-to-English literary translation, and I see too many worthy diverse books that do not get selected for these opportunities.  I am heartened to see bigger publishing companies like Amazon Crossing making huge strides in the translation industry, and I can’t wait to see more of that!

Many thanks for being the first in this series, Alex. I’m sure many of my readers will check out your books and teas. And good luck with your blog – keep me posted.

Photo courtesy of Alex at @bookandteapairings.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.