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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chatting with Lelia Taylor about Her Bookstore and Blog

Once upon a time, a mother and daughter went out to dinner for the mother's birthday. Over the course of this dinner, the subject of, "If you could own any business in the world, what would you choose?" came up. Without hesitation, a bookstore was the answer from both mother and daughter, and a momentous decision to follow that dream was made. Creatures ‘n Crooks Bookshoppe was born in Richmond, VA.
Years later, the bookstore is closed and Lelia Taylor spends most of her time reading books, reviewing books and talking about books, along with lots of guest bloggers, on Buried Under Books. You can find it at .
Lelia avoids pictures of herself whenever possible but has some really good ones of Hamilton, erstwhile store cat and bookseller extraordinaire.

1.   When and why did you start your first blog?
I debuted Buried Under Books in November 2009. I had always sworn I’d never do a blog but, after we closed the storefront at the end of September, it seemed like a logical way for me to keep my connection to the book world. I wasn’t ready to walk away and I’m still not, although the blog will be my main focus after September when I’ll be closing my online store and the last remnant of my local sales.
2.      What do, or hope your blog arti­cles accom­plish?

As I said above, it’s my way to maintain my connection with the book world but it’s also a way for me to help promote an author’s books and career and to make book suggestions to readers. After all, those are the primary reasons for being a bookseller so the blog is the next best thing .It’s another way to handsell, something I love to do, and it’s becoming more and more important as brick & mortar stores continue to close in alarming numbers. Readers need resources to help them find the good stuff.  
3.      Have you ever tried com­mu­ni­cat­ing with any of your read­ers at places other than your blog (Twit­ter, their blog, etc)?

I’m not as good at that as I’d like to be. I read quite a few blogs, list serves and yahoo groups but leaving comments is not my strong suit. I’m trying to get better about that, meaning I’m trying to organize my time better so I’m not just flitting from one to another. I also check in at Twitter at least once a day but, again, I don’t say enough. I think I need a personal assistant to set me on the straight and narrow ; )
4.      When you don’t feel like blog­ging, what do you do?

I’m an unrepentant TV junkie so I’m usually watching something while I also read a book or fiddle around on the computer. Or sleep.
5.   Do you administer the blog your­self, or do oth­ers help you?

Both. My daughter, Annie, set it up for me initially and she takes care of some administrative issues but I do all the daily work.
6.   How do you react when an arti­cle doesn’t do as well as you’d likego back and try to fix it, or learn why it didn’t do well?

Nothing will ever appeal to everybody so I just move on but I have to admit I sometimes wonder why an article didn’t work, especially when I think it’s good or even just funny, like when I post a series of LOL pictures. It bothers me most when no one leaves a comment for a guest blogger because it means I haven’t helped promote his or her work well enough.
7.      How easy is it for read­ers to com­mu­ni­cate with you?

Very easy. They can leave comments on any post and I’ll see it there plus I get an email alert. I also provide an email address on the “About” page.
8.      How much effort to you put into com­mu­ni­cat­ing back?

I’m slow to answer some emails but I do eventually get to them, usually within two or three days. I’m making a concerted effort to get better at that.
  9.      What’s your biggest dis­trac­tion, and what do you do to get rid of it?

Nobody does distraction better than me and it’s not just one thing. I can be led astray by the TV, reading, fooling around on the computer, sleep, food, going to a movie, you name it. At this stage of my life, I doubt seriously that I’ll ever get rid of any of them.
 I should say, though, that I’m rarely distracted by housekeeping.
10.  How often do you write a guest post for another blog?
Not often since I’m not an author.
11.  How much time do you spend wisely on social net­work­ing sites?

Wisely? Very little. I’m not on Facebook or My Space and I have some trouble thinking of anything worthwhile to say on Twitter. I do at least put links on Twitter to the daily blog posts, primarily to help promote guest authors and book reviews and I’m thinking about joining Google+.

12.  How much time do you spend writ­ing head­lines, and open­ing an article?
Hmm, well, headlines, meaning post titles, don’t trouble me too much but I can go stark raving mad trying come up with the first sentence or two to the point of putting it off for days. What’s up with that?
13.  What is the best thing about your blog design?

Well, I hope others find it easy to read and to find what they’re looking for. It’s definitely pretty easy to use from my end. I also think it’s fairly gentle on the eyes, something some bloggers don’t seem to care about very much. It may be aesthetically appealing to have purple print on a black background but it’s awfully hard to see.
14.  How diverse are your blog­ging topics?

As diverse as anyone could want, I think. Each guest blogger (three per week, usually) chooses his or her own topic and my own pieces are about whatever strikes my fancy, not just about the book world. The book reviews are limited only by what I or my contributing reviewers want to read.

15.  What do you spend the most time doing on your blog?
That’s hard to say. I guess putting guest bloggers’ articles together with cover shots, head shots, bios and whatever else takes more time than anything else. Then again, it takes me forever to write a review and I have no idea why.
16.  Do you have an idol, or some­one to look up to?
I admire anyone who can achieve her heart’s desires without hurting anyone or anything else and who never forgets where and how she began.
17.  When things don’t go the way you had hoped, what do you do?

Throw a mini-tantrum or mutter vulgarities to myself, whichever feels best at the time. Then I find myself some comfort food and then I get over it.

18.  What would you like to do that you are not doing now?
I wish I still had a brick & mortar bookstore. That was the best 9+ years of my working life and, if I won the lottery---a biggish one---I’d open again in a heartbeat. First, though, I have to PLAY the lottery  ; )
Failing that, I’d like to be living in the islands or at least on a southern beach.
Hey, maybe I could open a bookstore at the beach!

From Sylvia:  My book blog link is:
Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts


Lelia said...

Sylvia, thank you for having me here today ;)

los mejores libros said...

Interesting blog with very cute cat. I really enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

I would love to hear from Lelia Taylor 804 9282019 Les Marcussen