|Barbara Vey and Debbie Macomber holding RITA!|
Anyone who loves books will love Publishers Weekly's romance guru Barbara Vey and her fun and informative Beyond Her Book blog. Meet Barbara once and she’s a friend for life. Whether on her blog or in person, she exudes warmth and a real concern for others.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Barbara keeps finding new and innovative ways to promote romance. A friend to readers and writers alike, this woman with the big heart has taken time from her jet-setting, conference-attending lifestyle to spend the day in Seekerville. Please join me in welcoming our special guest, Barbara Vey!
Barbara, I had the pleasure of meeting you shortly after the launch of your BEYOND HER BOOK blog. Could you tell us how Publishers Weekly found you and how your blog started?
My beginning is truly a Cinderella story. I was on an Authors at Sea cruise when I met Karen Holt, deputy editor of Publishers Weekly. I thought she was from a publishing house and told her to sit down so I could tell her everything I thought was wrong with publishing from a reader’s point of view. She ended up putting it in an article in the magazine with my picture. A few months later Karen contacted me about writing a blog about Women’s Fiction. I said no, that I’m a reader, not a writer...send books.
After a few phone calls and my son explaining what a blog is to me. Well, I offered to try it for 3 months and here I am 4 years later.
|Barbara gives her first speech at the Emerald City Writers Conference.|
I’m so grateful to authors for all they’ve given to me over the years. How they got me through tough times. Now I feel like it’s my turn to give back. I look at my blog as a way to bridge the reader/writer gap. The closer I can bring these groups together, the better I’ll feel.
They actually energize me. I feel younger and it’s like I can accomplish anything. Nothing’s impossible.
Because you meet authors and readers from all over the country, can you share any insights you’ve picked up during your travels, perhaps concerning the future of publishing? eBook Readers? New genre trends? What readers want and can’t currently find enough of in bookstores?
This is a tough one. I get the feeling that there is a lot of fear in publishing right now. Publishers closing, authors not being paid or being picked up again. I hear talk of the fear of ebook in one ear and the joy of authors publishing their own ebooks in the other ear. While readers enjoy the eReaders, they tell me they still read paper books. Their feeling is that the two can coexist. As for new genres, I read my first steampunk, The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, and was blown away. Some readers complain that certain book stores have a bias against romance, but are more concerned that there are fewer bookstores to go to in their communities.
|Barbara rubs elbows with celeb Bruce Campbell of Burn Notice!|
I would love to write my own personal story someday. I think it would be very interesting and a lot of people could identify with it. I’m just too scared to do it. Maybe someday I’ll listen to what I tell my children, "You always fail if you never try."
What frustrates you when you’re reviewing books?
I have never written a full book review. I call them book blurbs because I just like to let the readers get a general idea of what the book is like and then share with them what I enjoyed about it. Since I’m not a negative person, if I don’t like a book, I just don't write about it.
Compare a typical Barbara Vey day in 2011 to your life prior to launching your blog.
I was an Underwriting Specialist for a life insurance company. How many ways can you say boring?
|Always a fan of Catherine Coulter, Barbara and Catherine meet for the first time.|
I’ve been seeing an increase in the demand for inspirationals. While I can never guarantee which books make it into the blog, all books are made available to the readers. The address: PO Box 438, South Milwaukee, WI 53172.
You just celebrated the fourth anniversary of BEYOND HER BOOK. How has your blog changed during the past four years? What have you learned about yourself? Has your taste in books changed?
When I first started, I went to the library to get the books I would write about. Now I get so many from publishers and authors it’s almost overwhelming. I wish I had more readers so I could get more books written about. Over the years I’ve discovered that I’m capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. I’m looking forward to trying new things in the future. I used to love mysteries, but now I find myself gravitating toward historicals although I still love my paranormals, hot chef, firemen and black ops guys. I guess if the books good, I’ll read it...not too fussy that way.
|Congrats on Beyond Her Books' 4th Anniversary!|
The more you support the Beyond Her Book blog, the more you all help yourself. Each time you click on the link (you don’t even have to comment, just click the link), you show PW and the publishing world the power of romance. After my anniversary blog chocked up over 22,400 comments, the owner of PW emailed me about the possibility of a new romance project for PW. It would mean even more exposure for all of you. There are a lot of readers who comment and read the blog and if you feel you have something to contribute, please feel free to let the readers know. To show you the power of the Anniversary Party, readers got so involved they formed a Facebook page to keep in touch and talk books and authors. They wanted me to tell you all to come over and join in the fun. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbara-Vey/151214544898315#!/home.php?sk=group_184095748300314¬if_t=group_activity.
The thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. Authors write what’s in their hearts and readers open their hearts to the story. Just another part of the circle of life.
In honor of Barbara’s visit to Seekerville, we’re giving away TWENTY-FOUR BOOKS. Leave a comment and your email to be entered in the drawing. Winners will be announced at random intervals so stop by often.
With Easter right around the corner, we’re serving the Food Network’s No-Fuss Easter Brunch: Almond-Orange-Apricot Crescent Rolls, Soft Scrambled Eggs with Avocado, Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Mini Frittatas, Orange and Tomato Juice, Coffee and Tea. Grab a plate and help yourself!
Now, let’s spend the day with Barbara...