Behind the Blog: Amanda at Off the Book

A big welcome to the lovely Amanda from Off the Book!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 25, and live in New York City. I’m a kid lit publicist and assistant for Penguin Young Readers Group, and run a book blog called Off The Book. I’m also an illustrator, and love to read (obviously), sketch, and paint. I love hedgehogs, turtles, iced mocha lattes, and fantasy novels.

How did you end up here in the world of book blogging?

I love being the go-to person for book recommendations for my friends, and I love writing about the books I’ve read. I was working in luxury PR, and started my blog as an outlet – I wasn’t working in a field I loved, and so I decided to start a new hobby. Little did I know that this hobby would turn into a career – if I hadn’t started, I wouldn’t have known that I wanted to work in book PR & publishing!

What types of books do you enjoy reading?

I love historical fiction most of all, but I’m also a big fan of literary and contemporary fiction, poetry, and YA. I’ll read almost anything though!

What do you bring to the world of book blogging? What’s unique about your perspective of books?

I think working in PR has given me a different point of view about book blogging. I see both sides! At work, I’m sending bloggers and journalists ARCs – and when I get home, I am working with publicists and receiving ARCs. I know what publicists want out of you when they send a book over, and I try to carry over my professionalism while still having a lot of fun.

Do you have any helpful hints about blogging?

Don’t start out trying to get popular, having as many page views as possible, and requesting ARCs right off the bat. Focus on reading the books you love, writing about them well, and always put quality over quantity. While I was getting started, I was just excited to write about books – and the page views came. I hope they still keep coming of course, but they’re not my focus.

When you go to the library (or bookstore), you bring a list of books to get or do you browse to find your next book?

I usually bring a long list that I look up in the library catalog in advance, but then I also give myself 1-2 slots for books that I randomly pick up or find while browsing. Adds to the excitement!

What type of things always grab your attention in books?

The Victorian era is a big hit for me – if it’s a period romance set in the early 1900s, I’m in. I also love stories about royalty, dystopian fiction with an original plot-line, and the female perspective. I’ve also really started getting into high fantasy.

What book trends do you hope to see more of?

I love the abundance of strong female characters and narration in books lately! Let’s hope it keeps coming.

What books do you constantly recommend to other people?

I am constantly recommending “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” by Betty Smith. I’m not just exaggerating when I say that this book absolutely changed my life – Francie’s struggle for an education and a way out of poverty through her love of reading and writing is inspiring, and the writing is simply beautiful. I reread it every year or so, and I’ve found that it grows with me.

A book series I’m smacking people over the head with is The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. High fantasy meets lyrical writing – simply wonderful..

Any exciting blog things happening in the future?

My friend Anna recently joined me as a YA contributor and feature writer, so great things are on their way! I’ve also revived my Fashion Meets Fiction posts, which are so much fun for me to design, and hopefully just as fun for people to check out!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’ll be at BEA this year for work, so please feel free to say hello!

Thanks Amanda!

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