Hi everyone! Today’s post is a bit different from my usual ones as you know-if you’re a regular reader of my posts- that I post book reviews mostly. If you ever wanted to chat with a bookstagrammer who’s also a self-published writer then, let me introduce you to Fathima Ashab(@fathima.ashab)!
I interviewed Fathima a while ago and am so thankful for her thoughtful answers to my questions! She posts informative and entertaining Instagram reels(and videos) about topics like reading, content creation, book recommendations, etc. Please give her follow her blog a follow and you can find her book Hold Me While I Fix Myself on Amazon.
Here’s what she had to say about a normal day in her life, why book content creators should be paid, three things she would like to change about the book community and lots more!!
- Can you describe your normal weekday for me?
On a typical day, I start by working on my novel or any other writing projects first thing in the morning so that I will not skip it due to any other unforeseen work later. Then, plan for the day according to the priorities and tackle them one by one. My evenings are only for reading and listening to podcasts. Sometimes, I do writing sprints when I am not in the mood to read.
- Would you introduce yourself as a Bookstagrammer or a Book blogger?
They are more or less the same but since I am more into micro-blogging, I would rather call myself a Bookstagrammer than a book blogger. Plus, Bookstagram is time efficient and easy to grow an audience compared to traditional blogging where so many other aspects are to be considered like SEO, e-mail sign-ups, keywords, and much more.
- When and why did you start reviewing books?
My friend and I used to talk about every book we read when we were in college. But, after I graduated, I had no way to vent out my book hangovers and ramblings. That’s when I stumbled upon the book community on Facebook four years ago. And then, I switched to Bookstagram three years back where I met some of the amazing people who made the process even more fun. Even though our community has pros and cons, I have grown attached to the like-mindedness of the people in it and I can’t imagine a life without it.
- Did you take any breaks from your bookstagram/blog? Why?
I have taken many breaks during the three years of my Bookstagram journey and it’s always when I am in a reading slump. It’s hard to make content and interact when my creative-self becomes drained and I need to stay away from the things that trigger me into thinking I am less productive if I am not doing anything worthy of progress.
- Do you have a day job? If yes, then what is it? And, how do you balance your job and Bookstagram/book blog?
No, I am actually helping my mum with her business and ever since the pandemic, I am not even going to the part-time teaching job. So, when everything gets back to normal, it will be a little difficult to post more consistently on Bookstagram. But, I am a planner through and through. So, I plan my content beforehand for at least a week and take all the pictures during the weekend so that it will be easy for me to manage the blog throughout the week without much fuss.
- There has been a lot of discussion about paying Book content creators. What are your thoughts on this?
I believe it’s important and necessary to pay Book content creators. First of all, there are lots of work that goes behind the scene and not to forget the amount of effort and consistency it takes to build our audience and keep the blog engaging. We are real people with real-life behind that aesthetic feed and thoughtful captions. When models and influencers are getting paid, why not book bloggers?
- What are three things you would like to change about the book community?
- Elite bookstagrammers shaming readers who read YA and fantasy. They also consider reading classics as the only way to acknowledge oneself as a perfect reader which is wrong in every way possible. Readers can read any book and call themselves a reader and it’s completely up to them.
- The expensive side of the Bookstagram makes the beginners think Bookstagram is only about the visual when it is more than that.
- Focusing on the followers count rather than the content. I mean, it is encouraging when the count increases, but it shouldn’t be the only focus.
- Book Tube, Book Blog, or Bookstagram? Which is the superior platform, do you think, as a book content creator and author?
Book Tube is definitely superior and the most influential of all but let’s be honest, it’s less diverse and the white bloggers take up more space. In that case, Bookstagram is a safe space for people from all walks of life and easy to access and engage with fellow bloggers.
- You published your debut poetry book “Hold Me While I Fix Myself’ in October 2020. Congratulations! can you tell me why you chose poems?
Thank you so much! I know it’s a cliché but I didn’t choose poems, they chose me. I started writing them as a way to heal and come to terms with my true self. I fell in love with the poetry form, the way it flows uninterrupted without stifling my creativity but also as a coping mechanism to articulate my thoughts better. I am more comfortable with prose now but poems were my refuge when I was staring out.
- Did you always dream of becoming an author? Any plans for future books?
Nope, I always imagined myself as a writer but never dreamt of authoring any book. I decided it only after I completed ‘Hold me while I fix myself’ and thought it would be awesome to have it out in the world. I am currently working on the second draft of my dream novel and side by side drafting a non-fiction book which will not come to see the light of the day anytime sooner but I wish to publish them both in a couple of years if possible.
Thank you so much for reading! Interviews are not my favourite thing to do as I have trouble coming up with questions. However, I like pushing myself creatively and am looking forward to bringing more interview posts on my blog! Do you like reading reading interviews?