Longtime friends and followers know I’m quite prone to making changes to this blog. Some have stuck, many have not. This new one? I hope to make it my blog’s new direction. It’s called The Curated Bookshelf and involves me featuring a new set of books every month based on a different monthly theme.
Why This Change?
Simply put, I hate writing reviews. For the longest time, they’ve been the backbone of The Lily Cafe. Without fail, I could count on this blog continuing because I always have book reviews scheduled. With my brain currently being taken up with caring for and teaching young children, anything else was like grasping at slippery fish. But I’ve always hated writing reviews. I had hoped that, after doing them for a few years, I’d start to enjoy writing them, but I hate writing them even more.
Has it been great to be mentioned on authors’ blogs, Amazon pages, and even in a book published by Berkley? Yes, absolutely. But I simply can’t make myself like something I so clearly don’t. I still find writing reviews cumbersome and constantly thinking of what to include in a review while reading the book has become distracting and annoying. While I’ve loved many books, I haven’t always loved the actual reading experience.
So, the Curated Bookshelf
I am, at heart, an indie book lover. Ever since coming to terms with the fact I absolutely loathe writing reviews a couple of months ago, I’ve been wracking my brain for a new way to promote books outside of the usual lists, book discussions, interviews, guest posts, spotlights, etc. Traditionally published books don’t need as much free marketing as book lovers like me have been providing (though I do hear non-bloggers get paid), but indie books sure could use whatever they can get! And I want my blog to give them that space. Getting ARCs from the big publishers has been great, but I’m growing weary of them and have, frankly, found more indie books to be more interesting and fascinating while the shine of those books published by the big ones have definitely been losing their shine.
I’m not quite sure how the idea manifested, but I started to see how so many books had connecting threads. I considered doing something like a weekly or monthly list of books to talk about the books that have similar elements. But that never quite manifested even though I did start a couple of lists. It just felt overly boring to me.
And then the idea of a curated bookshelf started whispering itself. There are so many indie books out there, but it can be hard to find them. They’re not afforded the same kind of marketing as books published by the big publishers. I wanted to offer a space to them, a place where readers can go and find links to buy indie books. And The Curated Bookshelf was born.
What is the Curated Bookshelf?
The goal is to focus more on indie books, though the shelf will have both indie and traditionally published books. Some themes, I’ve found, don’t seem as prominent in some of the indie books I’ve read so far, but the goal remains (much like last year’s Indie Books Challenge where I probably failed about as much as I succeeded), and even some traditionally published books don’t get a ton of attention, so it’ll be nice to point out some interesting books that are more underrated and less mentioned.
In a nutshell, the Shelf is a page where you can go and check out books that follow the theme of the month. I’ll be posting a Book Highlight for each book on the shelf to my blog while the page itself will have the book and links to the highlight as it posts and a page with several purchase link options. I won’t earn a cent if you decide to buy a book after clicking on a link, but the author/publisher will. The indie books will always be listed first, and, of course, I highly suggest checking those out.
What Kinds of Books Will You Find?
Since it’s just me running this thing, it’ll be limited to what I’ve read and what I enjoy reading. That means you’re unlikely to find non-fiction, YA, children’s, erotica, horror, and poetry books on The Curated Shelf. Though if there’s anyone out there who does enjoy those kinds of books and would be interested in collaborating with me each month to include them on the Shelf, I’m all ears.
Will You Check Out the Shelf?
I hope you do. I have more plans for how to expand this idea, but, since summer is coming up and the kids will no longer have school to entertain them, I’m rolling it all out slowly. I can’t wait to feature books, especially indie books, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Thank you so much for reading!