Persnickety Snark – YA book blog

Bright Ideas met YA blogger Adele Walsh at the Inkys virtual longlist announcement. Adele has been selected as a judge for the Inkys and she explains more about her blog: 

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Can you tell our readers a little about how your blog came to be?

I am a teacher at a poorly resourced school, specifically in our book area, so I thought I might be able to blog in order to receive books for the students.  I have blogged here and there previously but in Persnickety Snark, I had a specific goal and I was determined.  During the summer break, I reviewed everything in my YA collection and then contacted Australian publishers and they happily helped me out by sending me review copies.  The school’s collection has grown and now I am reading a book a day.

 I am now nine months into the YA blogging biz and I have received so much more than books for my class.  I have been able to interview many YA authors, meet a range of fantastic readers from across the globe, attended Reading Matters, been invited to be part of the Inkys judging panel and written a blurb for a book.  More importantly, I have deepened my knowledge and appreciation for Australia YA and now I have the pleasure of highlighting it on Persnickety Snark.

 Do you market your site at all?

In terms of marketing, I am not all that active.  Word of mouth with the authors and Reading Matter seemed to have raised my profile somewhat. My reviews (or quotes from them) occasionally turn up on websites and blogs with a lovely hyperlink. Twitter has been amazing in that it allows people to follow the link to my newest review.   I have noticed that I have become more frequented of late as authors have mentioned me on their blogs.  I am also getting some great feedback about my reviews so I think more people are returning as they like my review style and they trust that I will be honest in my regard for a book.

Where do you work/go to school?

I am a Year 8 English, Studies of Society and the Environment and Information Communication Technology teacher at Burc College.  It’s a small independent school in the North-East suburbs of Adelaide.  It’s lovely as I can switch the class from reading Hunger Games, to editing podcasts to making World War 1 trench models. My class is relatively small and largely ESL as they are from a whole host of countries – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Iraq, etc  I am also the curriculum and behaviour management coordinator so my days can be rather hectic!   

How did you get involved in the Inkys?

Lili Wilkinson asked if I would like to be a judge a few months prior to the announcement.  My answer was a emphatic YES.  I have been reviewing and interviewing a whole host of Australian YA authors since January and am one of the few Australian YA review bloggers.  I guess my work on the blog and with publishers/authors brought me to her attention as a possible candidate.  Meanwhile, I was just flabbergasted that I was asked and continue to be honoured that they thought of me. 

 Any other information you’d like to add?

One of my favourite aspects of YA reviewing is that I have come across authors I might otherwise been unaware of.  Julie Gittus is one that has made a particular impact.  Her novel, Saltwater Moons, was released last year and because of the blog I was able to review her book and email with her.  I think it’s a fabulous book that should have been recognised more.   I love stumbling over Australian YA authors accidentally and getting caught up in their stories – Mo Johnson’s Boofheads was a novel I bought as the title tickled my fancy and it ended up really striking a chord with me.  It’s the debut authors like Julie and Mo that make reviewing really exciting.  

 A big thanks to Adele for taking the time to inform us about her wonderful blog. It is an excellent model for any students or even teachers wishing to begin their own blog.

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